Without a Summer

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette KowalWithout a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal is the third book in the series and my favorite. After recovering from their adventure in Belgium, Jane and Vincent accept a commission in London and bring Jane’s sister Melody along in the hope of finding her an eligible husband.

They enter a London filled with unrest for as the spring months creep by, the snow continues to fall. The extensive winter weather is unfairly blamed on the coldmongers, glamourists who concentrate the practice with cooling things. Riots break out by the Luddites as well who have lost their weaving jobs to new, mechanized looms. Jane finds herself becoming increasingly suspicious of their employer’s son and worries ever the more when Melody seems to be making an attachment to her.

Throw in Vincent’s family whom he has not spoken to in years, and one has a very interesting book to read.

You are unique and wonderful and–and a thousand other hackneyed things. You are my Muse.

I loved this one much more than the other two. I think it was because I got to learn more about Vincent and how he came to be the way he is. His personality wasn’t nonexistent like in the first book or pretty deplorable like in the second. I thought the plot was a little more interesting. It definitely kept me reading.

I do enjoy Mary Robinette Kowal’s writing as well as at some times it was quite cheeky. The characters, Melody included, were much more rounded, and the plot was more intriguing. Wonderful!

Glamour in Glass

Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette KowalGlamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal is the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey so if you have not read that one yet, it might be wiser not to read this review as it might contain spoilers. This novel picks up not long after Jane and Vincent are wed and follows them as they travel for their honeymoon to BinchĂ©, Belgium where Vincent’s good friend and fellow glamourist, M. Chastain, lives.

Once there, their honeymoon is anything but. Jane finds herself in a situation where she is unable to perform glamour and fears that her husband’s persistent absences and shortness with her are signs that he does not love her without her glamour ability. When Jane discovers the real reason for his actions, she learns that they are not safe with Napoleon on the march.

This was a nice sequel. I enjoyed getting to delve a little deeper into Vincent’s character even if I didn’t particularly like him in the first half of the story. I didn’t think he treated Jane well at all, no matter what secrets he was keeping from her. I did enjoy Jane’s growth as a character. The author put her in an interesting situation, and I liked watching Jane figure out how she would handle it.

I do enjoy the author’s writing. She able to seamlessly weave in just the right amount of humor to alleviate some of the more serious situations so that things do not become too heavy.

This is an extremely quick and easy read for those who want something a little lighter when just the right amount of magic mixed in!

Shades of Milk and Honey

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette KowalShades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal is Jane Austen-esque book with a little magic twisted throughout. Jane Ellsworth is practically a spinster at eight-and-twenty and lives in the shadow of her younger sister’s beauty. The only thing Jane believes she has going for her is her music and knowledge of glamour, the art of twisting the ether into tableaux. She delights in bringing life to paintings, rooms, and her music.

Jane finds herself at odds with her sister Melody who is not always the most sensitive with her comments. As a result, Jane finds herself becoming close friends with Miss Elizabeth Dunkirk and firmly in the sights of her brother Mr. Dunkirk. While Jane finds her feelings for Mr. Dunkirk growing deeper, she is not sure if he can look past her too sharp nose to the woman she is beneath.

And let us not forget the mysterious and sullen Mr. Vincent, a famous glamourist who has been hired by the Ellsworths’ neighbors to create a grand glamural. Mr. Vincent and Jane seem to bump heads at every meeting, and Jane can not understand what she has done to so offend the man.

I thought this was a nice light read. I wish I would have gotten a little more out of Mr. Vincent by the end of the novel. I felt his character was somewhat flatter than I would have liked. I liked the play of glamour throughout the novel. It added a nice hint of whimsy to the story and was something I much needed!

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