It's been awhile since I've done a review of any sort, so I thought I'd make up for that by posting a mega-double review of two books by the lovely Mary Robinette Kowal. Mrs. Kowal is the third member of the Writing Excuses team I've had the pleasure of meeting in person.
Have you ever wanted to read a Jane Austen Regency romance with magic added in? Then Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour In Glass are for you. No, really, that is the best way to describe them. Well, to describes Shades at least. Allow me to explain.
Shades of Milk and Honey, if you drop the magic called "glamour", fits perfectly in Jane Austen's world. It can be favorably compared to Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I would place it above the other two because I find Mrs. Kowals writing style eminently readable.
I was never a huge fan of Jane Austen or Regency romances, and therefore resisted picking up these books for a very long time. That was my own misfortune. Both Shades and Glamour move along at a quick pace, the characters are well developed and believable, and there are many hidden gems for Austen fans and history geeks alike.
As stated earlier, Shades conforms tightly to the Jane Austen style of domestic drama, but Glamour busts out of that and sees the alpha couple formed in Shades traveling to France just before some major historical events take place. Without giving too much away I'll say that the major bit of history that does take place affects the characters without being the complete focus, which is a nice piece of storytelling on Mrs. Kowal's part. It's nice sometimes to see characters affected by history without it becoming the main focus of their lives.
I'd highly recommend picking up both Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour In Glass, especially if you're planning a trip somewhere warm and need a good beach read.