counter Without a Summer - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

Without a Summer

Availability: Ready to download

Up-and-coming fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal enchanted fans with award-winning short stories and beloved novels featuring Regency pair Jane Ellsworth and Vincent. In Without a Summer the master glamourists return home, but in a world where magic is real, nothing—even the domestic sphere—is quite what it seems. Jane and Vincent go to Long Parkmeade to spend time with Jane’s Up-and-coming fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal enchanted fans with award-winning short stories and beloved novels featuring Regency pair Jane Ellsworth and Vincent. In Without a Summer the master glamourists return home, but in a world where magic is real, nothing—even the domestic sphere—is quite what it seems. Jane and Vincent go to Long Parkmeade to spend time with Jane’s family, but quickly turn restless. The year is unseasonably cold. No one wants to be outside and Mr. Ellsworth is concerned by the harvest, since a bad one may imperil Melody’s dowry. And Melody has concerns of her own, given the inadequate selection of eligible bachelors. When Jane and Vincent receive a commission from a prominent family in London, they decide to take it, and take Melody with them. They hope the change of scenery will do her good and her marriage prospects—and mood—will be brighter in London. Once there, talk is of nothing but the crop failures caused by the cold and increased unemployment of the coldmongers, which have provoked riots in several cities to the north. With each passing day, it’s more difficult to avoid getting embroiled in the intrigue, none of which really helps Melody’s chances for romance. It’s not long before Jane and Vincent realize that in addition to getting Melody to the church on time, they must take on one small task: solving a crisis of international proportions.


Compare

Up-and-coming fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal enchanted fans with award-winning short stories and beloved novels featuring Regency pair Jane Ellsworth and Vincent. In Without a Summer the master glamourists return home, but in a world where magic is real, nothing—even the domestic sphere—is quite what it seems. Jane and Vincent go to Long Parkmeade to spend time with Jane’s Up-and-coming fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal enchanted fans with award-winning short stories and beloved novels featuring Regency pair Jane Ellsworth and Vincent. In Without a Summer the master glamourists return home, but in a world where magic is real, nothing—even the domestic sphere—is quite what it seems. Jane and Vincent go to Long Parkmeade to spend time with Jane’s family, but quickly turn restless. The year is unseasonably cold. No one wants to be outside and Mr. Ellsworth is concerned by the harvest, since a bad one may imperil Melody’s dowry. And Melody has concerns of her own, given the inadequate selection of eligible bachelors. When Jane and Vincent receive a commission from a prominent family in London, they decide to take it, and take Melody with them. They hope the change of scenery will do her good and her marriage prospects—and mood—will be brighter in London. Once there, talk is of nothing but the crop failures caused by the cold and increased unemployment of the coldmongers, which have provoked riots in several cities to the north. With each passing day, it’s more difficult to avoid getting embroiled in the intrigue, none of which really helps Melody’s chances for romance. It’s not long before Jane and Vincent realize that in addition to getting Melody to the church on time, they must take on one small task: solving a crisis of international proportions.

30 review for Without a Summer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    This is another easy read for anyone who likes a smattering of fantasy to grace their Regency Romance, tinged with a bit of the Luddite rebellion, other peaceful demonstrations painted as rebellion and used politically, culminating in a courtroom drama. It's fluff. Why do I say that? Because most of the novel is focused on the snap judgements of Jane and the misunderstanding and prejudices surrounding the Irish, or from outside her personal acquaintances, the similar theme of the general downtrod This is another easy read for anyone who likes a smattering of fantasy to grace their Regency Romance, tinged with a bit of the Luddite rebellion, other peaceful demonstrations painted as rebellion and used politically, culminating in a courtroom drama. It's fluff. Why do I say that? Because most of the novel is focused on the snap judgements of Jane and the misunderstanding and prejudices surrounding the Irish, or from outside her personal acquaintances, the similar theme of the general downtrodden, including certain types of magic users and and the poor in general. It doesn't hit her directly for the most part, and when it does, it's because she's finally getting a taste of the prejudice, and it is practically only then that she changes her mind and ways. And this is supposed to be impressive? Nah, it's just lessons learned all around. Hey, everyone, stop pre-judging each other. Right? Fluff. Obvious stuff. This is not to say it isn't a pleasant and rolling ride, because the novel definitely is. Pretty, too. Romance, fluff, interesting conversations, a steadfast man by her side, the chance to protect or eventually support her little sister; all these little things make for a light and easy read. A pleasant way to spend an afternoon. :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Review originally posted on www.fantasyliterature.com: Without a Summer is the third book in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories fantasy series set in an alternative Regency-era England where magic, or “glamour,” is used as an art form to create intricate visual illusions. *minor spoilers for first book* Jane and Vincent, a married couple who are both accomplished glamour artists, are visiting with Jane’s parents and younger sister Melody in the country. It’s an unseasonably cold spring, Review originally posted on www.fantasyliterature.com: Without a Summer is the third book in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories fantasy series set in an alternative Regency-era England where magic, or “glamour,” is used as an art form to create intricate visual illusions. *minor spoilers for first book* Jane and Vincent, a married couple who are both accomplished glamour artists, are visiting with Jane’s parents and younger sister Melody in the country. It’s an unseasonably cold spring, giving rise to concerns about the harvest. Jane and Melody’s father is concerned that a poor harvest could affect his ability to provide Melody with a suitable dowry; Melody is frustrated with the dearth of interesting and marriageable men in the area. So when Jane and Vincent are offered the change to create a magical illusion for a London family, they invite Melody to come along and enjoy a stay in London. But some unexpected troubles and complications face them in London. Jane’s relationship with Melody becomes more difficult as Melody resists Jane’s attempts to guide her path. Vincent’s father is strong-willed and domineering, creating some problematic family dynamics, particularly as he attempts to exert his influence in Jane and Vincent’s lives. And there are societal tensions in London, as the extremely cold spring has led to prejudice against “coldmongers,” lower class magic workers who can control cold air, leading to their increased unemployment, which in turn causes poverty, labor unrest and riots. As a main character, Jane can be somewhat tiresome, due to her ongoing insecurity issues and tendency to bicker with her sister. When there is a relatively minor disclosure to Jane about Vincent’s past, she overreacts. Although she forgives him quickly, her reaction seemed excessive and unrealistic, given the social mores of Regency-era London. The plotline about London’s downtrodden coldmongers and the way they are used and discarded by society was interesting and very reflective of actual societal problems. Unfortunately, overall this novel didn’t engage me the way I would have expected from a combination of magical fantasy and a Regency setting, in large part because I didn’t fully identify or sympathize with Jane as a main character, but also because I think these books are competently written but a little flat and underwhelming. Maybe I expected too much and that’s why this series has disappointed me. But after reading two books in this series, Shades of Milk and Honey and Without a Summer, I don’t plan to read any more. However, Mary Robinette Kowal is a talented author, and other readers have enjoyed this series much more than I have, so if it sounds appealing I encourage you to give it a try.

  3. 4 out of 5

    snowplum

    Consensus seems to be that this series improves with each book, but I'm not entirely sure that I agree. This series changes with each book, but I can see how someone might prefer book 1 to book 3. It's all a matter of priorities. Book 1, Shades of Milk and Honey, is much smaller in scope. It's an intimate portrait of a couple and of the few closest friends, family members, and neighbors who are around while they are falling in love. The comparisons to Jane Austen abound, and are at least somewha Consensus seems to be that this series improves with each book, but I'm not entirely sure that I agree. This series changes with each book, but I can see how someone might prefer book 1 to book 3. It's all a matter of priorities. Book 1, Shades of Milk and Honey, is much smaller in scope. It's an intimate portrait of a couple and of the few closest friends, family members, and neighbors who are around while they are falling in love. The comparisons to Jane Austen abound, and are at least somewhat sensible because the book is such a slowly-paced study of quiet moments and details in Regency society. Of course, there's also some magic, and the magic is delightful. My primary complaint about Shades is that there wasn't quite enough magic to make the book firmly and unquestionably more than an Austen pretender. I would have liked to have at least twice as much description of glamour and artistic collaboration than there was. Then we move along to book 3, Without a Summer, and I think the comparisons with Jane Austen are now patently ridiculous. While book 1 was magic-flavored Austen, book 3 is very slightly Austen-flavored historical romantic fantasy, with an emphasis on history. Austen never broadened her scope to politics, never wrote about espionage, never had a main character spend time in jail, be tortured, or tried for treason. Austen never took on the troubling issues of workers' rights and compensation in a changing economy. And she never depicted a character who was as disgustingly, frighteningly evil as Vincent's father, Lord Verbury. The facts that this book is set in alt-Regency England and one of the female characters often begins her statements with "La!" are about the only Austen-esque characteristics of this book. So stop with that nonsense. I can see that some people think this book is the best in the series for the reasons that I've alluded to above -- it's so much more ambitious than Shades, and the writing is intelligent, confident, and clearly aware of a much bigger picture that Kowal can draw and draw from as she chooses. It's nice to see a depiction of a relationship continue to succeed over the course of a series when the characters have been wed since book 1 and in the hands of many other authors would become boring after that. Jane and Vincent are interesting just being together -- they don't have to be chasing and angsting to be worthy leads. Happily, Melody makes a surprisingly endearing counterpoint to Jane as a lead in this book, as well. She turns out to have quite a lot of depth and some surprises up her sleeves. I really loved the first half of this book -- I felt like I was getting more magic, like I'd wanted, and there was a brief passage where Vincent essentially makes a modern art glamour that really moved and excited me. If Kowal had gone in that direction even more, I'd have been in raptures. It's just a matter of personal taste that I wasn't thrilled with the addition of Vincent's loathsome father. He makes a very powerful villain, but I find it upsetting to read such detail of cruelty within a family. The only objective problem that I have with the plot involving Lord Verbury is that if he is so awful and Vincent knew by the age of 20 that he needed to get away from his father and have no contact whatsoever, he allows a few too many incidents of contact between his father and himself and Jane in this book. It diminishes Vincent in a way that alienated me when he allowed his father to hurt Jane more than once. Another thing that I feel is a weakness of this book, or at least a missed opportunity, is how not instrumental glamour is in achieving any resolution to the story arc with the protest, betrayal, jailing, and trial. Not only do I want to see characters with magic use their magic to deal with their unique life circumstances, I do not like a book to feature magic prominently in the first 200 pages, and then barely mention it in the last 200. Mary Robinette Kowal still hasn't written the book that I, personally, hope she will write -- a book with the more intimate tone and smaller scope of her first book, with more ambitious descriptions of and uses for magic. I think Shades of Milk and Honey was less subject to criticism because it was a less ambitious book, and succeeded almost entirely at what it was trying to do. Without a Summer is much more ambitious and often succeeds at what it's trying to do... but I wished it tried to do some different things. Read it if you like Jane and Vincent and enjoyed book 1, but prepare to be shocked by the Luddites and Vincent's family and the jail and the trial and the Irish-Catholic-hating... We're not in Austenland, anymore!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This was my favourite so far in the Glamourist Histories, which just get better and better. True, I had to put it down for a day after it decided late in the game to bring in my least favourite plot ever (falsely-accused-must-prove-innocence) but after I picked it up again I enjoyed the trip into Regency legal customs. Kowal has done her research and it shows, she has Jane & Vincent settling in a London that felt vibrant and real, using real world issues such as anti-Irish prejudice, the struggl This was my favourite so far in the Glamourist Histories, which just get better and better. True, I had to put it down for a day after it decided late in the game to bring in my least favourite plot ever (falsely-accused-must-prove-innocence) but after I picked it up again I enjoyed the trip into Regency legal customs. Kowal has done her research and it shows, she has Jane & Vincent settling in a London that felt vibrant and real, using real world issues such as anti-Irish prejudice, the struggles of the Luddites and catastrophically bad weather as a springboard to her story of coldmongers, glamourists, toxic families, and intrigue. For all Kowal's attention to historical detail this is very much a Regency for the 21st Century, because she brings a modern eye to her world, describing people in psychological terms that would not have occurred to an author during the Regency. It makes for a delicious confection, as as our cherry on top we have this guide at Tor.com to how Mary Robinette Kowal has written cameos for the Doctor into each of her books. Knowing that the Doctor is real in this world just makes me love it all the more, and I am thrilled to learn that in the next Glamourist History the Doctor will have Lord Byron as his companion. It can't be published soon enough!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    When I’m just reading this and not thinking too much about it, I love it. If I try and pick nits, I’m less enthused — like sometimes I just think about Jane’s behaviour for a moment too long, and want to slap her down. She jumps to conclusions, acts like Melody is brainless, dismisses her… If I think about it too much, my frustrations with Jane take the shine off things a little. So: why I like it — it’s so easy to read. I love the relationship between Vincent and Jane, at least as far as he’s co When I’m just reading this and not thinking too much about it, I love it. If I try and pick nits, I’m less enthused — like sometimes I just think about Jane’s behaviour for a moment too long, and want to slap her down. She jumps to conclusions, acts like Melody is brainless, dismisses her… If I think about it too much, my frustrations with Jane take the shine off things a little. So: why I like it — it’s so easy to read. I love the relationship between Vincent and Jane, at least as far as he’s concerned; I think she could stand to trust him more, but I also think that there’s reasons she doesn’t and that she works on it, which helps. I love the small ways the trauma of his past is made clear: very little is said about his father, it’s all in the way he acts, in the little tells like the nervous whine at the back of his throat… I liked Vincent’s mother’s part, the way her actions speak of the same traumas, and yet also of love and determination. I like the political plot behind this, too: the use of real history interwoven with the magic of this world, the issues with Irish people and problems of interaction between aristocracy and working people… It works pretty well, for me at least. Originally posted here.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2017/0... In the third book of the Glamourist Histories, Kowal keeps the story and plot fresh and continues to give us more of that fantastical regency romance that works incredibly well. What can I say? Turns out that even with all the grimdark books that I love, I have a very soft spot for a well written regency period story with a splash of magic (or glamour) to spice it up just a tad. After a visit with her family, Jane and Vincent h Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2017/0... In the third book of the Glamourist Histories, Kowal keeps the story and plot fresh and continues to give us more of that fantastical regency romance that works incredibly well. What can I say? Turns out that even with all the grimdark books that I love, I have a very soft spot for a well written regency period story with a splash of magic (or glamour) to spice it up just a tad. After a visit with her family, Jane and Vincent head to London for a commission. Seeing her sister, Melody, with poor marriage prospects at home, they bring her along both for company and the hopes that with the more active social scene, Melody will be able to meet an agreeable match. Because, you know, it wouldn’t be regency romance if there wasn’t some young woman who was threatened with spinsterhood when she reaches her ripe ol’ early 20s without yet landing herself a husband. (I say that in jest, I really have zero complaints about this, its just so different from what we are used to today that it really amuses me). The season has been unusually cool, and rumors start amassing about glamourists who are impacting the weather, causing the climate changes. As you might expect, Jane finds herself in the middle of the chaos, controversy, mystery, whatever you would like to call it. The plot is interesting, and keeps a good pace. Jane has to judge who is trust worthy and who isn’t, which when at court, can be a tricky thing to achieve. The book explores not just the continued evolution and strengthening of Jane’s relationship with Vincent, but it also provides wonderful opportunities for Jane to reflect on her relationship with her sister. There are wonderful moments that explore trust and assumptions, so much more to this than just a simple mystery to unravel. Again, I enjoyed it quite a bit and look forward to the next installment. The narration continues to be great. This is one of those series that I enjoy listening to so much, I imagine switching formats and reading a print version. Why read when I can have the author expertly read it to me herself?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    This is a very enjoyable fantasy of manners series which is light, fun and filled with quaint witticisms. I definitely enjoy Mary Robinette Kowal's style of writing and she actually narrates the audiobooks too which is good (although I think a British narrator might have worked better as the setting is in England). This story followed Jane and her husband Vincent who are two prolific Glamourists working together in a time where women were generally looked down upon. Jane and Vincent are happily This is a very enjoyable fantasy of manners series which is light, fun and filled with quaint witticisms. I definitely enjoy Mary Robinette Kowal's style of writing and she actually narrates the audiobooks too which is good (although I think a British narrator might have worked better as the setting is in England). This story followed Jane and her husband Vincent who are two prolific Glamourists working together in a time where women were generally looked down upon. Jane and Vincent are happily married and keen to work together and disprove the myth that Glamour is a women's art but only men can earn money working at it. Together they prove that two are always better than one and that the art is skill-based rather than gender-based. In the setting of this story we find out that there is a very long winter and many of the Coldmongers (people who use Glamour to provide heat and cold) are suspected of creating such a cole season. Both Jane and Vincent know that it's not possible to manipulate the entire weather so they are working with the Coldmongers to prove their innocence. This story is a light and fun look at victorian-era England and the way that a magical art form can be used to uncover all sorts of secrets. It's fun and elegant and filled with frills and it's exactly the sort of thing I like to read :) 3*s

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Mary Robinette Kowal's alternate-world Regency fantasies just get better and better. The magic is subtle and finely drawn, the characters are fascinating, and she doesn't flinch from conflict and honest resolution. When I reached the final scenes, I had to put my Nook down a few times and catch my breath, I was *that* worried about the people in the story. They've won my heart with their courage, and I can't wait to read more. Mary Robinette Kowal's alternate-world Regency fantasies just get better and better. The magic is subtle and finely drawn, the characters are fascinating, and she doesn't flinch from conflict and honest resolution. When I reached the final scenes, I had to put my Nook down a few times and catch my breath, I was *that* worried about the people in the story. They've won my heart with their courage, and I can't wait to read more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dyanna

    Book Couples Video Without a Summer is the best book in this series till now! As glamourists, Jane & Vincent receive a job in London and because Jane's little sister , Melody feels melancholic because of the cold weather but also because of lack of young gentlemen, Jane decide to take Melody with them. In the capital of England Melody starts to like Mr.Brian, the son of the employer of the Vincents. But Jane finds the young man not suited for her sister so she tries to distance Melody from Mr. Bria Book Couples Video Without a Summer is the best book in this series till now! As glamourists, Jane & Vincent receive a job in London and because Jane's little sister , Melody feels melancholic because of the cold weather but also because of lack of young gentlemen, Jane decide to take Melody with them. In the capital of England Melody starts to like Mr.Brian, the son of the employer of the Vincents. But Jane finds the young man not suited for her sister so she tries to distance Melody from Mr. Brian. What I loved the most in this series was how Melody matured from the spoiled and manipulative girl she was in the first book. I loved the old English language it just transforms this book in one so decent and so like Jane Austen's books. I loved the dance scene it really transported me to that time of history :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    4.5 stars Their honeymoon now over, Jane and Vincent are working together discovering minor issues as do all couples, and trying to work around them, but it's hard when the needs of family conflict - or when unwanted people keep making an appearance. Jane is trying to balance the needs of Vincent (both maritally and professionally) and Melody, without neglecting herself too much, and yet her concern for the coldmongers is growing as the unseasonably cool weather provokes increasingly dissident be 4.5 stars Their honeymoon now over, Jane and Vincent are working together discovering minor issues as do all couples, and trying to work around them, but it's hard when the needs of family conflict - or when unwanted people keep making an appearance. Jane is trying to balance the needs of Vincent (both maritally and professionally) and Melody, without neglecting herself too much, and yet her concern for the coldmongers is growing as the unseasonably cool weather provokes increasingly dissident behavior. This book returns to the more traditional Regency concerns, of matchmaking and politics, but without the formal language of Austen that some find inaccessible. (I was aware of this while reading but unsure whether it had been completely discarded or just that I was now accustomed to the lighter hand with which it was wielded, and was unwilling to stop reading for pleasure to analyze the words.) I feel the need to point out that I read the first book only 2 days ago and was almost compelled to keep reading! The characters - introduced in the first book in more formulaic language - leapt to life once allowed to break free, becoming far more than the initial drawing suggested, making these books a refreshing alternative.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wm

    I must admit to my own prejudices and note that I originally was going to give it three stars (which, as I have explained in the past, is still a good mark from me and a recommendation to read); however, as I peeled those away (those being the standard male adolescent prejudices against romance, lightness and talking rather than doing), I discovered that there is a steely elegance to this third entry in Kowal's Glamourists series. Her prose has improved -- there is a confidence to it that I foun I must admit to my own prejudices and note that I originally was going to give it three stars (which, as I have explained in the past, is still a good mark from me and a recommendation to read); however, as I peeled those away (those being the standard male adolescent prejudices against romance, lightness and talking rather than doing), I discovered that there is a steely elegance to this third entry in Kowal's Glamourists series. Her prose has improved -- there is a confidence to it that I found quite appealing. And all the elements are there: threats to Jane and Vincent's relationship; a deepening understanding of glamour and how to use it in non-traditional ways; a deft use of Regency-era materials and history. There are readers who love Regency and will not be able to follow Kowal's stretching of the boundaries and bringing in of elements from other genres. And I'm sure there are readers who simply dismiss the Regency romance boundaries in the first place. I'm finding myself intrigued by how she pulls all the threads together and does in the service of characterization.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    I've been enjoying Robinette Kowal's "Glamour" books set in an alternate Regency Universe. As much as I love Naomi Novik's dragon books set during the Napoleonic Wars, I think R. Kowal's worldbuilding holds up better under scrutiny. Sir David Vincent and Jane, Lady Vincent, are back in England after the Battle of Waterloo. They've taken on a valuable commission, but one that brings them back into contact with Vincent's estranged family and brings Jane's family into involvement as well. Regency fan I've been enjoying Robinette Kowal's "Glamour" books set in an alternate Regency Universe. As much as I love Naomi Novik's dragon books set during the Napoleonic Wars, I think R. Kowal's worldbuilding holds up better under scrutiny. Sir David Vincent and Jane, Lady Vincent, are back in England after the Battle of Waterloo. They've taken on a valuable commission, but one that brings them back into contact with Vincent's estranged family and brings Jane's family into involvement as well. Regency fans will enjoy the scenes in familiar London settings, and lovely descriptions of clothing, Almack's (of course) and other venues. Fantasy fans will find R. Kowal's worldbuilding satisfying, and her use of "glamour" to show a society quite different, yet also quite familiar.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Delaina

    This series gets better with each book. Such a fascinating blend of Regency and fantasy, with great character development and storyline.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    “Vincent’s jaw tightened. ‘Jane. Stay in the carriage.’ She did not.” This series keeps getting better. Kowal confidently draws the reader into a historical London and the summer that wasn’t. (1816) Readers continue to follow Jane Vincent, now Lady Jane, into the deprivation and politics of that time. And sometimes the biggest threat to the happiness of herself and those she loves are her own assumptions. “She comes from good English stock on her father’s side. It is not as though she were Irish.” “Vincent’s jaw tightened. ‘Jane. Stay in the carriage.’ She did not.” This series keeps getting better. Kowal confidently draws the reader into a historical London and the summer that wasn’t. (1816) Readers continue to follow Jane Vincent, now Lady Jane, into the deprivation and politics of that time. And sometimes the biggest threat to the happiness of herself and those she loves are her own assumptions. “She comes from good English stock on her father’s side. It is not as though she were Irish.” Kowal addresses a time when some people of color were accepted in the upper reaches of English society and some were barred--when Irish were considered not white. When myth and rumor are more readily believed than truth. “They cannot think that coldmongers are responsible for the weather. It flies in the face of science.” “Superstition rarely troubles with facts.” The pretty girl on the cover may be Melody, but shouldn’t the gentlemen then have red hair? “I know that I should not feel sorry for myself because I am pretty, but sometimes it is nice to have someone speak to me as though I am not.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    This is another thrilling adventure following Glamour in Glass. The author balances the magic, the history and the relationships nicely. I liked learning more about glamour, what it can do, who uses it and why. I knew about the volcano in Indonesia that exploded and caused a giant ash cloud that created freezing temperatures across the northern hemisphere, but the popular explanation as it appears in the novel is very creative. It makes sense from a historical perspective. Amateur historians wil This is another thrilling adventure following Glamour in Glass. The author balances the magic, the history and the relationships nicely. I liked learning more about glamour, what it can do, who uses it and why. I knew about the volcano in Indonesia that exploded and caused a giant ash cloud that created freezing temperatures across the northern hemisphere, but the popular explanation as it appears in the novel is very creative. It makes sense from a historical perspective. Amateur historians will also like learning about the impact of the Industrial Revolution on Britain. Again, I liked the magical twist in this story. The plot kept me reading far too late in the night. I finally had to put it down but it was hard. By the time I got to the last third of the novel, I was gripping the book tensely, wondering how it would turn out. I liked how the adventure was woven into the glamour and relationship plot and not the other way around. The plot works as a stand-alone book for those who may not have read the first two, but I highly suggest that readers read the books in order. Most of all, I loved the characters. Jane and Vincent have such a wonderful relationship. They are so comfortable with each other and so caring. I think the portrayal of their marriage with it's ups and downs is very realistic, though I have never been married. Jane overreacted to something from Vincent's past and I was surprised that she cared so much. I'm not sure I would have been so upset in that time period, but of course now, I would be angry too. I also like the sibling rivalry between Melody and Jane. They just don't understand each other no matter how hard they try. Melody really develops as a character in this novel. I didn't exactly like Jane in this book. She jumps to a lot of conclusions without checking her facts. She's modeled after Jane Austen's Emma, a character not many people like. I just didn't feel that it was very much like the intelligent Jane we had met before. The relationship between Vincent and his family is something new. We've had hints in the past two novels about his previous life but this time he comes face to face with his past. It's a dark subplot and difficult to read. I'm not entirely positive the attitudes towards masculinity are accurate for this early in the 19th century. That part of the plot would make more sense for the Victorian era. That was my only nitpick about the plot. The cover, while beautiful, just doesn't portray the characters. Is that supposed to be a glammed up younger Jane and Vincent or Melody and who? I highly recommend this series to Traditional Regency lovers ages 16+.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sunil

    The Glamourist Histories get better and better with each book, as Mary Robinette Kowal allows her characters to grow and plays with history in new and inventive ways. In Without a Summer, Jane and Vincent take a job in London for a simple glamural but get more than they bargained for as they juggle Melody's marriage prospects and the country's political unrest. Without a Summer is the most daring, complex book in the series yet, and the last book had fucking Napoleon (offscreen, but still). We ge The Glamourist Histories get better and better with each book, as Mary Robinette Kowal allows her characters to grow and plays with history in new and inventive ways. In Without a Summer, Jane and Vincent take a job in London for a simple glamural but get more than they bargained for as they juggle Melody's marriage prospects and the country's political unrest. Without a Summer is the most daring, complex book in the series yet, and the last book had fucking Napoleon (offscreen, but still). We get to see both Jane's and Vincent's families and how they've made them the people they've become. Melody courts multiple suitors. Jane and Vincent have realistic marital conflict that they handle in a mature way. Jane and Melody have realistic sibling conflict that they handle in a mature way. Okay, maybe not entirely mature. But pretty mature. And in the midst of all this wonderful character material, Kowal explores prejudice in many forms, as Londoners are blaming coldmongers for the unseasonable weather and everyone mistrusts the Irish because that used to be a perfectly acceptable prejudice back in the day. It's a mean feat what she does, really, balancing modern views with the views of the times, portraying historically accurate societal ills without endorsing them. Plus, she populates her London with people of color because, you know, they did exist. What I admire most about these books is the way Kowal draws the reader into her historical fantasy world so thoroughly with rich, engaging characters...and then simply has them live their lives for a couple hundred pages. Small scenes here and there hint at a larger importance, and this book is better than the last one at giving the sense that the book has a plot early on, but these aren't books that are overtly driven by narrative momentum. They're character-driven, and then suddenly you realize everything was plot. The people they've met, the secrets they've shared, the glamour they've done: it all comes back. I don't know how she so effortlessly hides the plot, but it's astounding. On top of my admiration for the craft, I like these books because they make me happy. They're not fluffy, but they're not dark and gritty either. They have dramatic weight and real conflict, but they also have happy endings that don't feel like cheats. I'm very glad I gave the series a chance to win me over, as it has thoroughly done so.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Without a Summer is an extremely well constructed book. There were hints placed all around the book about things to come and the mystery and romantic plotlines wove lovely patterns around each other in ways that managed in parts to surprise and always made for an enjoyable read that was nigh impossible to put down once started. To readers of the series, here is where Jane's sister Melody finally comes into her own as a character and starts blossoming as a woman and, as you can guess, finds a man Without a Summer is an extremely well constructed book. There were hints placed all around the book about things to come and the mystery and romantic plotlines wove lovely patterns around each other in ways that managed in parts to surprise and always made for an enjoyable read that was nigh impossible to put down once started. To readers of the series, here is where Jane's sister Melody finally comes into her own as a character and starts blossoming as a woman and, as you can guess, finds a man worthy of her. Melody being in the picture also deepens Jane's character in a lovely way. I'm being very vague, I know, but I'm trying not to spoil it. The Vincent's come to London for the season and so of course must enter Vincent's family who are perhaps the most deliciously horrible people I've seen in a long time on the page. The book also gives the reader a glimpse into a society that never existed but almost did in a way that is engaging and believable, uncomfortable though it may be to modern sensibilities. I deduct one star because the ending is pretty predictable for someone who has read the previous installments and/or Jane Austen but the journey to get there is more than worth the effort. But in the end, one does not keep returning to Persuasion time after time to be surprised by the ending. My biggest complaint about this book is that it's going to be a full year before the next one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    4.5 This was my favorite book of the series so far, for many reasons. Jane and Vincent continue to be interesting characters, and I like the acknowledgement that neither romance nor conflict end with marriage. Most regency era novels (including Austen) are all about the courtship phase of a relationship, and see marriage as an endpoint to the story. I also enjoyed Kowal's use of elements from Emma. The borrowed themes and plot lines were well integrated and felt natural for the characters. Withou 4.5 This was my favorite book of the series so far, for many reasons. Jane and Vincent continue to be interesting characters, and I like the acknowledgement that neither romance nor conflict end with marriage. Most regency era novels (including Austen) are all about the courtship phase of a relationship, and see marriage as an endpoint to the story. I also enjoyed Kowal's use of elements from Emma. The borrowed themes and plot lines were well integrated and felt natural for the characters. Without a Summer was paced well, and addressed several issues of culture, politics, and history in interesting fashion. I hadn't known about the "year without a Summer" before reading this book, and I'm always glad when an historical novel teaches me something new, or prompts me to go research a particular topic. The magic of Kowal's alternate history is naturally woven into the actual social issues of the time period. Finally, Jane's struggle to overcome her prejudices and her struggles to balance her duty to her husband with her duty to her sister and to her career are both interesting and true to life. This series continues to get better with each book, and I'm looking forward to reading any future installments.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    Read out of order, therefor reviewed out of order, sorry. This time Kowal sends the Prince Regent's glamourists to London in order to give Jane's sister a proper season. Unfortunately, it's the Year of No Summer, 1816. There is labor unrest and dirty tricks and this whole business of finding Melody a suitable husband. The interweaving of the real food shortage and labor unrest with the fictional and fantastic Worshipful Company of Coldmongers is very well done. Certainly there were a great number Read out of order, therefor reviewed out of order, sorry. This time Kowal sends the Prince Regent's glamourists to London in order to give Jane's sister a proper season. Unfortunately, it's the Year of No Summer, 1816. There is labor unrest and dirty tricks and this whole business of finding Melody a suitable husband. The interweaving of the real food shortage and labor unrest with the fictional and fantastic Worshipful Company of Coldmongers is very well done. Certainly there were a great number of children working in many dangerous industries at the time to provide a suitable model. Part of the great charm here is how closely Kowal can follow the Austen model of trying to find a suitable husband for a single woman of 20, and also bring to it further depth of plotting and character development and world-building. And there is thrilling courtroom drama. Library copy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the earlier two books in the trilogy, but I can't actually put a finger on why. There's nothing innately bad about the book at all - Jane and Vincent continue to be interesting characters, and I still love the world. Maybe it's more that the book focuses on the politics of the world rather than the domestic side of things? I love, love, love Melody in this. She was always one of the most vivid secondary characters for me - I love her voice (her little La! is g I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the earlier two books in the trilogy, but I can't actually put a finger on why. There's nothing innately bad about the book at all - Jane and Vincent continue to be interesting characters, and I still love the world. Maybe it's more that the book focuses on the politics of the world rather than the domestic side of things? I love, love, love Melody in this. She was always one of the most vivid secondary characters for me - I love her voice (her little La! is glorious) and it's wonderful to see her getting more depth. The whole three books are more than worth the read, and I would recommend them to anyone. Even if you hate Jane Austen ;) The magic of glamour is original, and Jane and Vincent are just wonderful characters. Kowal is to be praised for the whole series.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    I love this series so much. It is gentle and refined and delicate and still deals with issues of racism and xenophobia and bigotry and classism and industrial change. I love that the heroine is flawed. I love the diversity of the cast of characters - this is not an all white Regency. And while it would be great if more of the main characters were POC, at least we have here a more historically accurate London. I like the intersection of race and dangerous occupations, since that is historically a I love this series so much. It is gentle and refined and delicate and still deals with issues of racism and xenophobia and bigotry and classism and industrial change. I love that the heroine is flawed. I love the diversity of the cast of characters - this is not an all white Regency. And while it would be great if more of the main characters were POC, at least we have here a more historically accurate London. I like the intersection of race and dangerous occupations, since that is historically accurate as well. And I really love Jane and Vincent together. They are a good couple, and they are good for each other and too each other. *happy sigh*

  22. 4 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    Surprised to say I liked this one a lot more than the previous books in the series. Jane frustrated me as events and misunderstandings came to a head but it was well explained and rationalized in the narrative. There's also a lot less frustration in the interactions between she and Vincent and I quite love them as a couple. In general though I just found this story held up better than the ones before. I move on to book four with a little more hope for my overall enjoyment. Surprised to say I liked this one a lot more than the previous books in the series. Jane frustrated me as events and misunderstandings came to a head but it was well explained and rationalized in the narrative. There's also a lot less frustration in the interactions between she and Vincent and I quite love them as a couple. In general though I just found this story held up better than the ones before. I move on to book four with a little more hope for my overall enjoyment.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nan

    While I liked the book well enough to speed through it in one day, I don't think it stood up well in comparison with the earlier two books in the series. I will have to mull it over more before I write a full review. While I liked the book well enough to speed through it in one day, I don't think it stood up well in comparison with the earlier two books in the series. I will have to mull it over more before I write a full review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Best of the series so far.

  25. 5 out of 5

    The Library Ladies

    (Originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com.) I continue on with my reviews of this series! As I commented on in the first reviews, the books’ ties to the Jane Austen novels that the author attempts to mimic has been the difference maker between my enjoyment levels of the first two in the series. The first tried to tie it too closely to “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility,” leaving original characterization and plot to suffer. While the second seemed to step away completely from thi (Originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com.) I continue on with my reviews of this series! As I commented on in the first reviews, the books’ ties to the Jane Austen novels that the author attempts to mimic has been the difference maker between my enjoyment levels of the first two in the series. The first tried to tie it too closely to “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility,” leaving original characterization and plot to suffer. While the second seemed to step away completely from this format presenting readers with a completely original story and being stronger for it. This third book strikes on the perfect balance of the two with its very loose connections to “Emma” while also building on its original stories and characters. I was most excited when picking up this book to realize that Melody was again going to play a central role to the story. Her absence was one of the few low points of the second book, in my opinion. And she was featured even more than I originally thought! Jane, back home with her husband Vincent and now recovered from her experiences and trauma dealt in the end of the last book, is realizing how alone and sad her sister is feeling. Country living just doesn’t have enough variety, particularly in the potential husband arena. So, upon receiving a commission for Jane and Vincent’s work on a glamoural for a wealthy family in London, Jane decides the change of scenery would do her sister good. And so we begin to see the set up and ties to “Emma” in this story, with Jane standing in as our poor, struggling matchmaker. As I said, this book really seemed to hit on the formula for emulating, but not becoming bogged down by, an original Austen work. Only the loosest ties to “Emma” are visible (and three lines from the novel, for those looking closely!). Jane makes many mistakes as a matchmater, but they are of a different variety than Emma’s, both due to differences in their personality and position. Jane is a married woman, so her own romantic confusion is not involved in this. Further, Jane is a very different character than Emma. Emma is lovable for her blissful naivety. Jane is a much more earnest character and one who is used to being on the right side of most conflicts. I actually found this to be a very interesting take on a matchmaking failure, and one that can speak to a quandary that many people can find themselves in. In many ways, Jane is a very open-minded, justice-oriented character. In the last several books, she is always on the right side of situations that deal with prejudice and injustice. So, in this way, its not surprising that she has become a bit complacent with her own perception of the world, sure that she does not fall into the same traps that other, less wary and more judgemental, people do. But alas, we can guess how this turns out! I really enjoyed this take as it is a pitfall that I think many of us can fall into, becoming falsely secure in our own perception of the world and failing to recognize that we are still susceptible towards opinions and thoughts that are convenient and not as open-minded as we may think. Vincent’s sly hints that she might be a bit off track were also great. It was a nice little wink to the maneuverings of marriage where battles must be picked carefully and opinions offered gently. The other main storyline of this book was the complete and utter awfulness that is Vincent’s family. We’ve heard about his past some in the previous books, but here we get to meet the whole cast and man, weren’t they all just a bundle of joy. His father in particular reached truly astonishing levels of evil. There were a few scenes where they are all getting together for family gatherings, and just coming of Christmas, which can have familial challenges for some, I think we can all just count ourselves lucky that at least it wasn’t this. The snark was high with these ones. The pacing of this book was a bit strange, I have to admit. The first half is fairly slow, with a lot of groundwork being laid, but not a lot of action coming of it. But the book did take a big, unexpected turn towards the end that really brought a new life to the story. While the resolution was very convenient, I did enjoy the tension that was brought to the story in this last third. All in all, I think this book was a great addition to the series. I enjoyed the ties to “Emma,” but was relieved to find that the story was still also very much its own thing. The action towards the end was appreciated, and I’m excited to see where the books will go next and if we’ll see any other Jane Austen storylines! As long as its not “Northanger Abbey”…

  26. 4 out of 5

    A

    I'm conflicted about Without a Summer. I think the pacing is better here than in the previous two novels because for the first time, the conclusion didn't feel like a surprise and I didn't even notice that Mary Robinette Kowal borrowed the plot of Jane Austen's Emma. I love the honesty of Jane and Vincent's interactions. Though period-appropriate, I'm often uncomfortable with Jane's racism, ethnocentrism, and conservative opinions. I appreciate that Kowal gives her characters realistic flaws and I'm conflicted about Without a Summer. I think the pacing is better here than in the previous two novels because for the first time, the conclusion didn't feel like a surprise and I didn't even notice that Mary Robinette Kowal borrowed the plot of Jane Austen's Emma. I love the honesty of Jane and Vincent's interactions. Though period-appropriate, I'm often uncomfortable with Jane's racism, ethnocentrism, and conservative opinions. I appreciate that Kowal gives her characters realistic flaws and the opportunity to learn from them. I think it's nice that Vincent accepts Jane as she is even when he doesn't necessarily feel the same. The tension between them is very well-played--there's hurt on both sides (and it makes sense), but there's also understanding that says so much about the strength of their love for one another. To be perfectly honest, however, I think the relationship would feel more balanced if Vincent had done worse than patronize a prostitute for four years on his father's instigation and at a vulnerable period of his life. Perhaps I'm unfair because I don't deal well with secondhand embarrassment and the novels are from Jane's perspective, but I often think his failings are too charming by half. Much as I cringed, I dealt with the dynamic between Jane and Melody a little better because in the first book, Melody abandons her sister unconscious in the garden. The characters aside for a moment, the plot didn't quite work for me. It doesn't quite fit and after (view spoiler)[Mr O'Brien and the Vincents are acquitted of treason (hide spoiler)] , they lose sight of the social issues. Not that there's much room for discussions of child exploitation, labour unrest, racism, etc. with weddings afoot, but to drop the coldmongers like a bad habit made it clear that they served only as a plot device. Invested as I am in critical race and feminist theory, I can't help but note that Kowal fell into a very common trap, namely that she used impoverished persons--and more specifically, persons of colour as props for rich, white characters. I don't mean to suggest that she deliberately slighted them and it's entirely possible that she picks up the thread in later novels, but I think it's important to recognize problematic literary tropes. On a less theoretical note, the series doesn't work as a cohesive whole when I look at the first book--essentially, a comedy of manners stitched together from Austenian novels--and compare it to the second, never mind the third. The departure is dramatic and jarring, perhaps more so because I've read the three novels in a week or less. When I consider Without a Summer on its own merits, I must commend the characterization and the writing. If you liked the second book, then this one is likely to appeal also. It's kept my interest such that I'll read the next one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Olga Godim

    I enjoyed this quiet book. Like the previous novels of the series, it’s imbued with Jane Austen’s influence. Add to that love and hatred, family drama and laborers’ uprising, the magic of glamour and bad weather, and, of course, the Irish, and you get a perfect recipe for a rather piquant tale of alternate Regency England. The protagonist Jane is happily married to her beloved Vincent, a famous glamourist and a friend of the Regent. The war is over. Napoleon is defeated. Both Jane and Vincent ar I enjoyed this quiet book. Like the previous novels of the series, it’s imbued with Jane Austen’s influence. Add to that love and hatred, family drama and laborers’ uprising, the magic of glamour and bad weather, and, of course, the Irish, and you get a perfect recipe for a rather piquant tale of alternate Regency England. The protagonist Jane is happily married to her beloved Vincent, a famous glamourist and a friend of the Regent. The war is over. Napoleon is defeated. Both Jane and Vincent are recovered from the traumas they suffered in the previous book. The only thing that mars Jane’s contentment is that her younger sister Melody seems lonely and miserable. Melody wants to get married, but there is a decided lack of eligible gentlemen in the neighborhood of their parents’ estate. To lift Melody’s moods, Jane invites her with them to London, when Vincent and Jane receive a commission to create a glamoural at the home of a London baron. Surely Melody’s matrimonial prospects would improve in London. This innocuous, almost idyllic, Austen-esque beginning gradually morphs into a series of ever deepening intrigues, involving social unrest in the country, Luddites and coldmongers of London, Vincent’s haughty, loathsome father, scheming against his son, and a young Irish aristocrat, falling for Melody. The story develops slowly and quietly, as the tension builds, and all the seemingly unconnected threads of the plot come together. There are no battles in this novel, except in the court room. No loud heroics either. Instead, the protagonists follow their convictions with proud dignity, unflinchingly supporting their friends and standing up to their enemies. Jane is in the middle of it all, swinging with the pendulum of strong emotions: love and jealousy, sisterly affection and political suspicions, religious beliefs and class guilt. Her kindness and integrity are put to the utmost test, and although she makes mistakes and continuously doubts her own judgment, in the end, she remains true to her generous heart. Her open femininity and her artistic soul makes her practically unique among the heroines of modern fantasy. Of the secondary characters, the antagonist of the story, Lord Verbury, Vincent’s father, deserves a special mentioning. If Jane is the epitome of goodness, fallible but incorruptible, this chilly, sociopathic aristocrat is scary in his bottomless hatred for his son. When he was younger, Vincent dared to oppose his father, and now, Lord Verbury would stop at nothing to crash his rebellious offspring. That the author created her ultimate villain almost exclusively through dialog speaks of her marvelous skills. A lovely novel of love and suspense. And of course, the Irish. This series has really grown on me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bookworm

    Rather uneven entry So, Kowal's alternative history/fantasy continues on, with the adventures of Jane and Vincent coming together in service of the British Crown once again, this time with more romantic entanglements and family drama (a bit for both the main protagonists and Jane's younger sister Melody).   This time the danger is on their own British soil with unhappiness abounding. The weather is cold, even into May and Jane wonders if this year will go without a summer (get it? It's nice to see Rather uneven entry So, Kowal's alternative history/fantasy continues on, with the adventures of Jane and Vincent coming together in service of the British Crown once again, this time with more romantic entanglements and family drama (a bit for both the main protagonists and Jane's younger sister Melody).   This time the danger is on their own British soil with unhappiness abounding. The weather is cold, even into May and Jane wonders if this year will go without a summer (get it? It's nice to see where the title comes from. I still am not sure where "Shades of Milk and Honey" works for her first book). Is it natural? Or is there something else to it?   Meanwhile, Jane's sister Melody (who showed up in the first book, had a small role in the second) moves to back to more of a secondary role here. Jane is concerned--during the first book she thought Melody would marry and Jane would move with her sister and care for her sister's children in a spinster aunt role. That looked to be her best chance since marriage was apparently not going to happen for plain Jane.   Instead, Melody forms an attachment to a young Irishman (that he is Irish is important to the plot). Vincent and Jane meet his family--it really doesn't go all that well and with good reason. What do all of this have to do with the story? Quite a bit, actually.   Like her other two books the plot is slow to form. Often I'm not sure what the "problem" is until about 2/3 of the way through. It was quite nice to see some of the threads that had popped up in her previous books get more detail here (Melody's lack of a husband and her character development as well as more into Vincent's family history), but some of it seemed cliched and repetitive. Jane has run after her husband to rescue him. Melody doesn't have a husband. Etc. The end of the book relied a little bit on a deus ex machina to get them out of their predicament, and arguably (and unfortunately) makes Vincent's family rather cardboard characters.   Still, it was an enjoyable read and I was pleased to discover it's actually an ongoing series, not a trilogy as I first thought. Normally I dislike reading ongoing series until they are finished, but Kowal does not leave cliff hangers and make her readers wait years until the next book is published. I'm content to wait for Book 4 to be available at my local library.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heather Jones

    Back when I reviewed the first two books in this series, I observed "It seems implausible that no one is exploiting [glamour] on a grunt-level commercial scale. In such a context the physical cost of using the ability suggests some rather horrifying potential consequences of that exploitation." As was pointed out in comments to that post, the third book addresses exactly this topic, with the protagonists Jane and Vincent getting dragged into the resulting social and political upheaval. The "year Back when I reviewed the first two books in this series, I observed "It seems implausible that no one is exploiting [glamour] on a grunt-level commercial scale. In such a context the physical cost of using the ability suggests some rather horrifying potential consequences of that exploitation." As was pointed out in comments to that post, the third book addresses exactly this topic, with the protagonists Jane and Vincent getting dragged into the resulting social and political upheaval. The "year without a summer" (an actual historic event due to worldwide volcanic fallout) has simultaneously undermined the market for the services of coldmongers and led to them being blamed for the unseasonable weather. Jane and Vincent have come to London to refurbish the glamurals in the house of an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, bringing Jane's still-unmarried sister Melody with them as a treat. A chance encounter with a persecuted coldmonger, Melody's attraction to the son of their employer, and the son's involvement with political unrest in the coldmongers' guild results in a legal, political, and very personal tangle that forms the crux of the story. I enjoy Kowal's world-building and the precise and measured way she works to recreate prose appropriate to her era. The magical techniques are familiar now, so less time is spent immersed in the technical details. The interactions between the sisters are believable and their relationship continues to develop. This is, when it comes down to it, a relatively simply-structured story and follows tropes that are familiar enough to be predicted. There is no doubt that Melody will fall for the apparently-unsuitable young man, or that he will be be vindicated. There is one twist that I hadn't expected until the essential clue was dropped, but when dropped, it was unsurprising. The book touches on themes of religious and ethnic prejudice, but in a somewhat heavy-handed way, as if Kowal doesn't entirely trust her readers to be familiar with the underlying issues. I'm once more not entirely certain I will continue with this series. (I've now read all the books I have in-hand.) More plot complexity or a bit more character depth would make a difference for me. When it comes down to it, the books are a pleasant read but don't grab me and suck me in.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    This is the third book in Kowal's Glamourist series, a series of historical fantasies set during the English Regency, following glamourists Jane and her husband Vincent. (Here are my reviews for the first book and the second.) After their tumultuous run in with Napoleon's forces while in Belgium, Jane and Vincent are back in the UK with Jane's family. Commissioned by an Irish Catholic family to do some glamour, Jane and Vincent find themselves becoming embroiled in a political plot against the co This is the third book in Kowal's Glamourist series, a series of historical fantasies set during the English Regency, following glamourists Jane and her husband Vincent. (Here are my reviews for the first book and the second.) After their tumultuous run in with Napoleon's forces while in Belgium, Jane and Vincent are back in the UK with Jane's family. Commissioned by an Irish Catholic family to do some glamour, Jane and Vincent find themselves becoming embroiled in a political plot against the coldmongers, who are being blamed for the unseasonably cold weather that summer. Kowal picks up some of the emotional threads from the previous book, most notably Jane's sister Melody's moodiness although (view spoiler)[the miscarriage (hide spoiler)] from book two is only barely alluded to here, disappointingly. I've never been so dedicated to a series that has been so uneven for me; in all honesty, I almost DNF'd this one as I stalled out about 3/4ths of the way through before rallying. I was mostly exhausted by the emotional development of the characters. Vince's brooding felt less Darcy-like and more flat out sulky; I noted in my initial thoughts that Jane out-and-out irritated me, although right now I can't recall why. What was appealing in this story was the pointed inclusion of a person of color in the narrative, a tertiary character, but a notable one nonetheless. As Kowal discusses the importance of diversity in historical fiction, I appreciate her working to incorporate it in her works. Another review that damns with faint praise, I know, and I don't know why I'm doing this to myself. It's not fair to Kowal, I suppose, since I know what the books are like -- and yet, I want so badly to be immersed in this world that I keep trying. (I will say that I liked the fourth book, Valour and Vanity, very much, so I'm glad I kept trying!) Initial Thoughts Fluffy, mostly fun. Our hero's moodiness verges on insufferable at times and our heroine actually got on my nerves.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.