I heard Mary Robinette Kowal on one of my favorite podcasts several months ago and was taken with her remarkable views on writing. Her take was so much different than those that I had been hearing that it stuck with me and I put her upcoming novel on my wish list as a curiosity to see how her approach translated to reality.
I was in the middle of a long series by CJ Cherryh and wanted to finish what I had started, but went ahead and ordered the book when it came out and told my wife that I thought it might appeal to her, as it was a period setting. My wife and Mary Kowal are both fans of Jane Austin, who was the inspiration for the book, Shades of Milk and Honey. She adored the book and it is one of the best books she has read this year according to her.
I started the book this morning and finished it just now and I have to say that it was fantastic! I am not a fast reader but I read the book from cover to cover, with a few breaks to eat and do a little work, in under twelve hours. That is a rarity for me, but the book has such wonderful appeal, from setting to mythos to character that one can’t help be drawn in. I like a happy ending too and this one finished in a grand fashion, leaving me wanting more. I was very taken with her writing style and with a setting that makes me wish that manners were not a thing of the past. Although there are many things about the early nineteenth century that I would not enjoy, I definitely think our society could use a good dose of propriety and civility.
Mary also takes little jab at herself with one of my favorite quotes:
“One must not put trust in novelists, Beth; they create worlds fit to their own needs and drive their characters mad in doing it.”
I know she has a second book coming out in 2012 to follow this one, Glamour in Glass, but it will be a long wait indeed. If you like period pieces and magic, this one will definitely satisfy! Well done Mary Robinette Kowal!