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Historical Fantasy Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (Glamourist Histories #1)


bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
Shades of Milk and Honey is an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite the prevalence of magic in everyday life, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men.

Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right--and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

This debut novel from an award-winning talent scratches a literary itch you never knew you had. Like wandering onto a secret picnic attended by Pride and Prejudice and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Shades of Milk and Honey is precisely the sort of tale we would expect from Jane Austen…if only she had been a fantasy writer.
 

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

9/10

* * *
Shades of Milk and Honey is absolutely lovely.  I picked this book up sometime in 2013, and only started reading it this December, which I declared ARC-free.

This is a tranquil, delicate and very beautiful read which I named one of my best reads of 2014. It's quietly charming, unhurried, and if you are a fan of Jane Austin, you are guaranteed to love it.


Jane is a 28-year-old spinster, plain, good-natured, ever so patient, and her only distinction is that she is extremely gifted self-taught glamourist with an exceptional taste.  On the other hand, her younger sister, Melody, is a beautiful, vivacious, self-centered empty head, who keeps casting her designs on everyone who shows her even the slightest attention.

Enter Mr. Dunkirk (Mr.Darcy slash Mr. Bingley). He has a younger sister of shy, nervous disposition and with a scandalous past, whom Jane takes under her wing. Mr. Dunkirk secretly admires Jane who likes him in return but thinks that Melody is the subject of his attention because her sister fancies him very much.

If that is not confusing yet, enter Mr. Vincent (definitely Mr. Darcy material!). An exceptional glamourist, famous and well-sought, he is hired by a local socialite for a score of festivities.

Jane is absolutely enamoured with his art, but each encounter with sourly artist only rises their hackles, and both totally misunderstand each other until a whirlwind of dramatic events which leads to happily ever after for now.

This is an exquisite, gorgeous historical fantasy, and I can't wait to read anything else Miss Kowal has to offer! Highly recommended, utterly charming.

* * *
Роскошная, очаровательная книга исторического фэнтези, которая придётся по душе любому поклоннику "Гордости и Предубеждения".

Джейн - 28-летняя старая дева с непримечательной внешностью, милым характером, добротой и рассудительностью. Единственное, чем она может похвастаться - это её талант гламуриста вкупе с безупречным вкусом.

Её младшая сестра Мелоди напротив красива, эгоцентрична, не поднимет гламур, чтобы спасти себе жизнь, зато её всегда окружает толпа поклонников.

Знакомьтесь, Мистер Данкирк. Срисованный с Мистера Бингли, он сосед Джейн, землевладелец с младшей сестрой нервной диспозиции и тайным скандальным прошлым, которую Джейн берёт под своё крыло. Данкирк тайно влюблён в Джейн, которая к нему неровно дышит, но считает, что тот ухаживает за Мелоди, которой тот очень нравится.

Если вы ещё не запутались, знакомьтесь, Мистер Винсент. Вот тот уж точно срисован с Дарси! Знаменитый и чрезвычайно талантливый гламурист, он приглашён  помочь в приготовлении к балам местной светской матроны.

Джейн ошеломлена и очарована его талантом, однако каждая встреча с грубым, ворчливым артистом заканчивается тем, что оба огрызаются друг на друга и ошибочно трактуют мотивы обоюдных действий.Однако череда драматичных событий сведёт эту идеальную пару вместе в удовлетворительном хэппи-энде.

Экстраординарный мир, красивейшая неспешная книга. Очень советую и буду читать эту серию дальше.


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