Shades of Milk and Honey. Mary Robinette Kowal. 2010. Tom Doherty. 304 pages.
The Ellsworths of Long Parkmead had the regard of their neighbours in every respect. The Honourable Charles Ellsworth, though a second son, through the generosity of his father had been entrusted with an estate in the neighborhood of Dorchester. It was well appointed and used only enough glamour to enhance its natural grace, without overlaying so much illusion as to be tasteless. His only regret, for the estate was a fine one, was that it was entailed, and as he had only two daughters, his elder brother's son stood next in line to inherit it. Knowing that, he took pains to set aside some of his income each annum for the provision of his daughters.
I really liked Shades of Milk and Honey. I'm not sure really liked equals love. But I'm not one that says you have to LOVE every book you read--or every book you recommend. Shades of Milk and Honey is an enjoyable novel. For the right reader, it is fun and playful. For the Austen fan, it's an enjoyable treat, readers can "see" what life might have been like in Regency England if glamour, if magic, had been one of the "required" womanly arts. Chances are, you'll enjoy, seeing how Kowal pays tribute to Austen. (Of course, not every book is for every reader. So I can't promise that you'll be one of the readers who appreciates this one!)
Jane, our heroine, envies her younger sister, Melody, the beauty of the family. Her father notes that she is the one "with a face made for fortune." Meanwhile, Melody envies Jane because she is the "smart" one of the family. Jane has a gift--natural talent that has been practiced and refined--with glamour. Jane feels that Melody is the one with the best chances for marriage. Melody feels that Jane's talent will overshadow her beauty. That men (potential suitors) may appreciate her beauty for what it is--but what it is is passing. Whereas Jane's "gift" is lasting--she'll only improve upon further acquaintance. True, she's twenty-eight. But Melody feels Jane might still be some competition. There are several men in the neighborhood--including a few visitors new to the community--so Melody and Jane have opportunity to "find" a potential match.
Will Jane find a husband? Will Melody?
I liked this one. I liked the style, the writing. It may not be the most thrilling read--when it comes to pace--but it was an enjoyable one. I enjoyed this historical romance with fantasy elements. I liked that it was a clean read.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews