Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Hello All!

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal first attracted me because of its Regency time period setting, then for its fantasy elements. It was an interesting mix.

This first struck me as a novel of manners, and reminded me much of Jane Austen's characters and their interactions. One of the largest fantasy elements of the novel is that of "glamour" which I find a bit hard to describe, but importantly to this novel, it is a skill that young ladies should acquire, in addition to playing music, drawing and embroidery. Our heroine, Jane, is very skilled with glamour, but is just unattractive enough to be close to becoming a spinster. Her sister, Melody, is the pretty, younger sister, who despite her beaus, is actually jealous of her sister's accomplishments.

As the novel begins, the neighbors have hired a famous glamourist, Mr. Vincent (apparently, men can be skilled with this art too), to enchant their dining room while they entertain a young Army Captain. Other neighbors are active with guests as the novel progresses; Mr. Dunkirk also brings his sister Beth to visit for the summer. The book brings together society's hierarchy, romance, art, lies, jealousy and betrayal. I thought I knew where Shades of Milk and Honey was going, but I was happily deceived with a few twists in toward the end.

Recommended and I look forward to Ms. Kowal's next book.
Happy Reading!

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal published in 2010 by Tor Books ISBN 9781429963367

This book was sent to me for review Macmillan Publishers; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grace Interrupted by Julie Hyzy

Hello All,

Grace Interrupted is an excellent title for the second Manor House Mystery by Julie Hyzy. Poor Grace is constantly interrupted as she goes about her job as Marshfield Manor's curator.

Marshfield Manor's grounds are serving as an encampment for a group of Civil War re-enactors. One of the group's members, about to be promoted to general, is killed after fighting with the Manor's gardener, Jack, and his brother, Zachary. As the police work the case from the outside, Grace sends the nosiest person she knows, her secretary Frances, undercover into the encampment. A lot of information is discovered, but Jack remains the main suspect.

Ms. Hyzy takes the reader into the beautiful Marshfield Manor and what it takes to run an tourist estate; additionally she takes the reader to a Civil War encampment and all the details involved with re-enacting. Grace and all the characters are fleshed-out, interesting, intelligent and humorous. They are an enjoyable group to spend time with, and I look forward to Grace's next adventure.

I think the titles are very appropriate for this book, Grace Interrupted, and the first in the series, Grace Under Pressure. Hmmm, maybe based on these titles Grace needs a vacation. Just until the next book comes out!

Happy Reading!

Grace Interrupted by Julie Hyzy published in June 2011 by Berkley Prime Crime ISBN9780425241905

This book was sent to me for review by Dana Kaye Litoff of Kaye Publicity; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.