Friday, September 03, 2010

Shades of Milk and Honey

I was thrilled to get an audio copy of Mary Robinette Kowal's new novel, Shades of Milk and Honey. (Thank you, Mary!) I listened to it with keen interest, not least because Mary narrates it herself. Could she really pull off hours of English accents? Apparently so. I'm no connoisseur of English accents (Scottish are more my thing), but I think she did a great job.

So what's it about? Booklist describes it wonderfully:

Take Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and add a dash of magic and you have this delightful story by Mary Kowal. This is the story of two sisters, Jane, who is more magically talented, and Melody, a stunning beauty, and their quest to find love and stability. Both girls hope to marry well despite their lack of inheritance, and are pursued by various suitors. They are quickly embroiled into the intricacies of their neighbors’ lives, and the resulting series of events is sure to entrance the reader. For those who love reading Jane Austen’s books, this will at least temporarily satisfy the craving. A touch of magic inserted into the story is enough to enhance, but not overwhelm the story line. A quick, light read, with characters that the reader will feel right at home with.

That about sums it up. I found it particularly interesting how lightly the magic is used. It's a feature in young lady's education, much like art or music or needlepoint would be. It's just there. It can be startling beautiful, but so can a good painting or a well-played bit tune on the piano. Don't expect magical battles and epic journeys in this one. It's not that type of book. It's own type of book. Quiet, personal, Jane Austenish...

Cory Doctorow has gushed about it over at boingboing.

Here's a great review at Adventures in Reading.

And here's one from PowellsBooks.Blog.

Just to give you a random selection of adoration...

Well done, Mary. What's next?

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Blogger David Batista said...

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Mary read from her novel at the KGB Fantastic Fiction readings here in NYC, and I was quite surprised that she did so using an English accent the entire time. Bravo! I thought she was excellent, and her reading lent an added nuance that allowed me to better visualize the setting. And, what a setting!

I even wrote about the experience of that night over at my blog:

Right now my wife is reading my autographed copy of Shades of Milk and Honey. She's a huge Jane Austen fan. Once she's done I'll get my go.

11:40 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Looks like that was another great KGB night. Ah, memories of my own time there...

7:30 PM  

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