Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teaser Tuesday + Review: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two "teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!

This week my teaser comes from Shades of Milk and Honey, a Regency romance with a magical twist. From page 92:

"It is not the knowledge of glamour which I guard; it is the art created by it. Illusions should be entrancing without someone looking behind the scenes to see how they are made. Would you enjoy a play where you saw the mechanicals exposed?"

From the Back Cover:

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.

My Thoughts:

This was a light, quick, enjoyable read, though from the description and the lovely hardcover format with deckled edges, I was expecting something a little more. Really it's a dressed-up Regency romance with a little magic thrown in to spice things up. In Jane's world, everyone grows up learning to manipulate glamour. Some people make a living using their glamour while others may use it to enhance their appearance or spruce up their homes, or entertain at dinner parties. Jane is particularly talented, though self-effacing and dwarfed by the shadow of her sister's beauty. I'm a sucker for romances with heroines who can't see their own self-worth until the right man comes along and draws them out of their shell. Those emotions seem to register with me, and so I was drawn to Jane right away.

Everyone else is drawn to her, too, though she cannot see it. As the nobility returns to their country estates for the summer, Jane prepares to endure a season of watching the social activity from the sidelines and helping her sister Melody snag a husband. Melody hopes to land their neighbor, Mr. Dunkirk, and secretly, so does Jane. But two new bachelors appear on the scene: Captain Livingston, the dashing naval officer, and Mr. Vincent, a celebrated glamourist and artist. And much to Melody's dismay and Jane's surprise, Jane ends up taking center stage as Mr. Vincent challenges her and Mr. Dunkirk unsettles her. Not to be outdone, Melody and Dunkirk's sister, Beth, both set out on their own romantic adventures with disastrous consequences.

This novel is short on plot and Jane's family is pretty stereotypical: a beautiful yet vapid sister, a scheming, matchmaking mother, and a harried and henpecked father. But I really liked Jane, and the story, though rather on the fluffy side, moves along sweetly and neatly as entanglements and attachments are formed, hidden, and uncovered, and I still wasn't sure who would end up with who until the surprisingly dangerous and exciting conclusion. An easy, breezy read, and a nice way to while away a few hours. If you're a fan of Regency romance, consider giving this one with a glamourous twist a try.

My Rating:  3.5 Stars out of 5

*Please note: Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. I heard something about Jane Austen and fantasy and was intrigued at once. I still am interested

  2. great teaser chick. thanks for stopping by my blog....im new follower..dont forget to come enter my giveaway


  3. Cool teaser and great review. I have been wondering about this book. My teasers are from The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon and The Emperor of Nihon-ja by John Flanagan. Happy reading!

  4. fantastic teaser!


  5. Interesring.. Here is mine

  6. Sounds like an interesting book. I enjoyed the teaser. If you get a chance, mine is here.

  7. I would not enjoy a play if I saw the mechanicals of it..it would take away from the mystery! Great TT!!

    I suppose when we read as much as we do we start to see the same old same old in books with their stereotypical characters..I know it takes quite a bit now for me to give a book 4-5 stars!

  8. Great teaser. Sounds like an intriguing read.
    My teaser

  9. Great teaser and review. I read this one last year and I loved it.

  10. Thanks for the review. I've got the book on my wish list - I love the Regency period and magic :-)

  11. Sounds good! Thanks for the honest review.
    Here's Mine:

  12. Great teaser and review. Thanks

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Ange @ the Moonlight Reader

  13. Great review -- I too saw the deckle edging and thought it was a meatier historical so I appreciate the heads up that it's a little fluffier. That surprises me as I've found Kowal's short fiction to be quite impactful!


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