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Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey , a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiti Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey , a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass continues following the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon...to escaping it. Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison...and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country's war.


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Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey , a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiti Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey , a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass continues following the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon...to escaping it. Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison...and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country's war.

30 review for Glamour in Glass

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    This book was rather outside my usual reading habits, not to mention my outside my usual historical time frame. Generally speaking, if it happened between 1750 and 1980, I'm not terribly interested. That said, I really enjoyed this. Kowal does a startlingly good job of presenting a mindset that is very alien to me, specifically, that of a woman mired in upper class British social mores of the early 1800's. The language was delightfully in keeping with the time period, while not being needlessly This book was rather outside my usual reading habits, not to mention my outside my usual historical time frame. Generally speaking, if it happened between 1750 and 1980, I'm not terribly interested. That said, I really enjoyed this. Kowal does a startlingly good job of presenting a mindset that is very alien to me, specifically, that of a woman mired in upper class British social mores of the early 1800's. The language was delightfully in keeping with the time period, while not being needlessly cumbersome and opaque. The story and characterization were lovely, and I enjoyed the worldbuilding, too. I also liked seeing a strong female character that was still very much a part (and product) of the painfully misogynistic culture she was raised in. That's a fine line to walk in a story. I'm hesitant to give it a star rating because I'm so utterly unfamiliar with this particular genre. I really enjoyed it, but I really have no basis for comparison as I've never read another book like it. Then again, that newness itself is a mark of distinction. So I think I'll go with my gut and give this one five stars. Good language, fresh story, an interesting world, and a great main character with a great voice. Yeah. That's worth five stars....

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I was in the mood for something light and frilly with just a hint of danger. Oh! Napoleon is Loose!!! And of course, since this is a literally magical romance set in the Regency, it certainly fit all the bills and requirements of my mood. :) Romance! Magic! Lace! Glamour! Children? This is an extremely easy read. It has all the feel and the magic of, say, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, at least in the setting and some of the apparent uses of magic to beat back Napoleon, but all in all, it's narrow I was in the mood for something light and frilly with just a hint of danger. Oh! Napoleon is Loose!!! And of course, since this is a literally magical romance set in the Regency, it certainly fit all the bills and requirements of my mood. :) Romance! Magic! Lace! Glamour! Children? This is an extremely easy read. It has all the feel and the magic of, say, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, at least in the setting and some of the apparent uses of magic to beat back Napoleon, but all in all, it's narrowed down to mostly the focus of a few fairly normal families, including a bit of spy-work, hidden nobility, and the plight of the sexes in Regency-era norms. All in all, modern. This is not to say that certain parts aren't emotional or difficult, because it is, but the strength of Jane, despite the losses she endures, makes the novel rewarding, too. Popcorn fiction at its best. :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate O'Hanlon

    I have a few problems with this book. *warning for feminism* The writing is still very good, but the plot is far less engaging. I want to give Kowal credit for diving in at the point where Austen et al always finish up, the heroine's successful marriage. But unfortunately Jane and Vincent's marriage just doesn't interest me. I find Vincent irritating even when he's not being thoughtless and inconsiderate. Outside of the familiar regency tropes that probably prompted me to give Shades of Milk and H I have a few problems with this book. *warning for feminism* The writing is still very good, but the plot is far less engaging. I want to give Kowal credit for diving in at the point where Austen et al always finish up, the heroine's successful marriage. But unfortunately Jane and Vincent's marriage just doesn't interest me. I find Vincent irritating even when he's not being thoughtless and inconsiderate. Outside of the familiar regency tropes that probably prompted me to give Shades of Milk and Honey a pass for it's repressive world view Jane also started to become annoying. Jane's not pretty (at least she doesn't think she is), but she's smart and talented, she's more concerned with focusing on her art than on fashion. So far so good but Jane is the classic 'exceptional woman'. That is to say, that Jane is the only woman in this world worth a damn. She finds herself surrounded by vacuous women who only care about dresses and are dragging her down when she wants to hang out with the boys. Whenever Jane does meet an intelligent woman like the prince's mistress or the Belgian women at dinner Jane dismisses them for their loose morals. Jane wants to flout convention, but she doesn't want to hang out with tramps. Urgh. There's even a line where she basically says all English women are insipid morons. While 'depiction is not endorsement' and Jane's attitude is probably typical for her time, but it's not fun to read about. Jane's prejudices are never explored or confronted, and her big win at the end of the book is not having to retire with the women after dinner and instead getting to stay out with the men. So that was irritating. And that doesn't even touch on Jane's (view spoiler)[pregnancy and miscarriage... which, just read Alex's review http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... because it says everything I have to say about the matter (hide spoiler)] Also, the back cover blurb covers events that don't even happen until the last quarter of the book. I'm not terribly spoiler adverse but that struck me as egregious.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joel

    Look, I love Jane Austen books as much as the next guy (provided the next guy’s love of Jane Austen books is limited to reading her shortest book and watching at least three separate adaptations of Pride & Prejudice), but no one is ever going to call her writing action-packed. Unless a bunch a well-dressed ladies making veiled catty comments to one another during a boring social event counts as action in your book. In which case, I hope you are sitting down when you read Mary Robinette Kowal’s G Look, I love Jane Austen books as much as the next guy (provided the next guy’s love of Jane Austen books is limited to reading her shortest book and watching at least three separate adaptations of Pride & Prejudice), but no one is ever going to call her writing action-packed. Unless a bunch a well-dressed ladies making veiled catty comments to one another during a boring social event counts as action in your book. In which case, I hope you are sitting down when you read Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamour in Glass, because in Austen’s terms, this thing might as well have been written by Michael Bay. Click to read the rest of my review on the new Barnes and Noble Book Blog.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    I feel really bad about giving this book one star, I've read articles written by Mary Robinette Kowal before and I really liked her voice, and I'm a huge fan of her lettermo initiative! But... I just didn't like this book. In retrospect, I think my first problem was the fact that I didn't read the first book in the series (for some reason I thought this was the first book!) and if my dislike was based on a lack of understanding of the plot, then I'd chalk it up to that and go read the first book I feel really bad about giving this book one star, I've read articles written by Mary Robinette Kowal before and I really liked her voice, and I'm a huge fan of her lettermo initiative! But... I just didn't like this book. In retrospect, I think my first problem was the fact that I didn't read the first book in the series (for some reason I thought this was the first book!) and if my dislike was based on a lack of understanding of the plot, then I'd chalk it up to that and go read the first book, but actually the setting, magic system and continuous plot were all very easy to follow. As you know this has been totted as "Jane Austen with magic" and I guess you could call it that, however while the period, the clothes, the events, and other things are from the Austen period (or a little bit later) the writing just doesn't feel like Austen's. Which of course it shouldn't, because it isn't, but I guess I just wanted it too.... I am making a mess of this review, aren't I? I think it's very easy to write a one star review when you HATED the book and want to rage about it, but it's really difficult to write a review when you just didn't feel much about it. I can tell you that the magic was really interesting and lovely. It was by far my favorite part of the book. And I can tell you that I HATED the main character, Jane. She's the typical character that loves to talk on and on and on about how "ugly" she is. And she invents all this drama in her head all the time. And she thinks all women are idiots, except her of course. No, wait. The Englishwomen are idiots, "insipid and concerned only with fashion" I think was the words she used. And the French are sluts. Yep, there's slut shaming, in a period book. Except for our heroine of course, who's ugly and as such, the only sensible one. Fuck. That. Well, I guess I did find a thing to rage about... the point is I didn't like this, but maybe you might so please don't feel discouraged to read it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    When I read Shades of Milk and Honey, I wasn’t that impressed — even when I reread it. But I quite liked Glamour in Glass. Probably partly out of sheer bloodymindedness; I looked at some reviews and oh how they whined about Jane’s attitude to pregnancy in this book. And I thought, wait: that’s actually interesting. Yes, let’s address how dangerous pregnancy could be at that time. Let’s address how “confinement” literally imprisoned women. Yes! Let’s discuss the aftermath of the Austen and Heyer When I read Shades of Milk and Honey, I wasn’t that impressed — even when I reread it. But I quite liked Glamour in Glass. Probably partly out of sheer bloodymindedness; I looked at some reviews and oh how they whined about Jane’s attitude to pregnancy in this book. And I thought, wait: that’s actually interesting. Yes, let’s address how dangerous pregnancy could be at that time. Let’s address how “confinement” literally imprisoned women. Yes! Let’s discuss the aftermath of the Austen and Heyer novels and their neat marriages: the babies, the risks to the women, how those women were limited. Someone called it anti-pregnancy, and I don’t think it’s that. It just turns to something that went unspoken in that period, and scrutinises it a little, and articulates a fear and dread of the constraints pregnancy placed upon women (shown even more clearly in this world because a woman can’t work any glamour while pregnant). It’s still a fairly light read, despite that theme; I read it in an hour and a half, so if you’re a fan of the first book, don’t think that it’s suddenly changed entirely in style and subject. This is less frothy than the first book, seriously examining the relationship between Vincent and Jane, their equality and finding a balance between them. I anticipated the political plot ahead of time (perhaps because I’m fresh from Voyage of the Basilisk); it feels a bit rushed, honestly, particularly toward the end, but I appreciated seeing Jane and Vincent facing down these issues, and his growing regard for and trust in her. Originally posted here.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's fair to say that I adored Shades of Milk and Honey, and was really looking forward to reading the sequel. I did not love it quite as much as the first, but I think that's mostly because it wasn't new - the joy in Shades was in its being so new and full of the discovery of glamour and how that changed, or didn't, the Regency period in England. Also, and yes I know I'm a terrible romantic, but the thrill of boy-meeting-girl-meeting-boy, and the trials and tribulations that follow, make It's fair to say that I adored Shades of Milk and Honey, and was really looking forward to reading the sequel. I did not love it quite as much as the first, but I think that's mostly because it wasn't new - the joy in Shades was in its being so new and full of the discovery of glamour and how that changed, or didn't, the Regency period in England. Also, and yes I know I'm a terrible romantic, but the thrill of boy-meeting-girl-meeting-boy, and the trials and tribulations that follow, make for a very different story (hopefully) from that about a married couple. Not better, just different. Anyway, the premise here is that Vincent and Jane are married - yay! - and working together - yay! Their first big commission is a huge drawing room do for the Prince Regent (... who gets called Prinny by his friends, apparently. I mean, really?). I loved that they work together, and while she is quite nervous and a bit unsure of her place and feels overwhelmed by Vincent and his experience, his attitude is entirely embracing of her and her contributions. From there, it's off to the Continent for them, because the Ogre - aka Napoleon - has been sent off to his island retreat, and it's safe to go visit France, I mean Belgium, I mean the Netherlands. Vincent has a fellow glamourist to visit, and this will also serve as a honeymoon. Of course, things do not progress as expected. Vincent gets all distant, which has Jane naturally worried; even in this alternate world Napoleon quickly escapes his island and attempts to regain the imperial crown; and Jane gets pregnant. Boo, hiss, yay. Right? Boo: absolutely. Vincent is a total prat at various times in this novel, and I was totally with Jane is being bewildered and upset with him. I was pretty sure Kowal wouldn't turn this into an adultery plot, and even Jane doesn't worry that that's the problem. In fact, it's directly related to... Napoleon (hiss). Ah, Napoleon. I wish we had met him in this novel, but he stays off stage. I thought Kowal did a really good with depicting the tension felt in Belgium in the immediately post-Napoleon period; it was such a contested piece of territory, and showing that some people feel violently pro-France/Napoleon, while others are decidedly anti, was done very nicely. I think this could have been explored more deeply, but then - it wasn't really the issue for Jane, outsider that she is. More of an issue for her is... Pregnancy. Which, it turns out, is not so much a 'yay' here, or at least at this time, because when you're pregnant you're not meant to do glamour. The one big disappointment for me in the whole novel is that why is never explored or explained. I had really hoped that Jane would discover that this was a great big lie, but alas... no. In fact, she may actually confirm it, because - spoilers! - she miscarries directly after using glamour in desperation to save Vincent. Now, it's not clear that there is a causal relationship here, and Jane herself can think of various other reasons for it, but nonetheless. There it is. And I think this is a very interesting, and potentially problematic, aspect of the whole novel. Now, never having been pregnant myself, it may be presumptuous of me to make any comment here. But anyway: firstly, I say again that I wish there were some explanation for why no glamour when up the duff. The fact that it's so heavily a female art makes this particular issue an additionally... interesting one. And frustrating. Moving on to Jane's case, though, I thought Kowal wrote her reaction to pregnancy really well. Jane herself is unsure whether she's happy about it or not: partly because she's not sure what Vincent's reaction will be, and partly because it will mean giving up the work that she loves and loves undertaking with him. And not being able to work takes quite a toll on Jane's self confidence, and on her perception of her relationship with Vincent, too. This seems quite realistic, to me, and feels neither melodramatic nor purely done for plot reasons. And then she miscarries, and this too is problematic - not just for the obvious grief reasons, but because Jane feels guilt, for two reasons: for having done glamour, which might have contributed, and also because one of her first reactions is relief because she can work again. Which of course sets off its own cycle of guilt, at appearing (to herself) to be cold and hard-hearted. And this too seems quite realistic to me. I do have experience of grief and it does do weird things to the head, and I totally understand having such a mixed, involuntary, reaction. So... yeh. Interesting stuff. Certainly interesting stuff to address in what seems like a fluffy just-add-magic, Regency romance. I really, really hope the third book - which I think is coming out this year too - has ongoing repercussions for the miscarriage, since that would be the realistic thing to do. It is, overall, a great novel - very fast paced and mostly intriguing characters. Also, the physical product is a bit quirky: I couldn't find the info on the type, but I'm quite sure it is (or based one) the sort of type used in 'olde style' Austen novels, which is nice and certainly helps it feel like it came out before 2012! I've read a few complaints about it not dealing with race and class and... well, yes. That's true. The race aspect doesn't fuss or surprise me: this is set in 1815, so it doesn't amaze me that Jane has no experience of black people, as slaves or servants or even in the abstract, like through abolitionists or whatever. She's not the most worldly of people, and she's not in London or another major city most of the time, either. As for class, it's true that her attitude towards servants is entirely that of a woman of the lower gentry, accustomed to service. She is conscious of feeling overshadowed by fancy titled ladies, but not of her own position above others. Yet... I dunno. It didn't bug me much, to be honest. There's not a whole lot of ordering servants around and lording itself over others, precisely because she's not in that overwhelmingly powerful position and neither are most of the people she associates with. So this could certainly have been a more complex novel, problematising all sorts of issues from the Regency period. But it also doesn't pretend to be that novel. And I think that's ok. One final irk: working glamour may be a feminine art, but who are the preeminent glamourists who get the commissions? Men. Yah.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    4.5 stars. This got off to a slow start for me and then I started to struggle with part of the storyline that made Jane and myself quite unhappy. Then I got really into it and from there it becomes a galloping good read of espionage, betrayal and Glamourist secrets that save the day.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Wow, so this was a case of a book being vastly different from my expectations. I read the first in this series, Shades of Milk and Honey, and quite liked it. It was fun and didn't do anything to piss me off too much (other than being super white person Regency-era fantasy of course.) But this one. man, where do I start. Warning for some major spoilers. Kinda the big thing? One of the main conflicts of the book center on the main character Jane getting pregnant and thus not being able to do glamo Wow, so this was a case of a book being vastly different from my expectations. I read the first in this series, Shades of Milk and Honey, and quite liked it. It was fun and didn't do anything to piss me off too much (other than being super white person Regency-era fantasy of course.) But this one. man, where do I start. Warning for some major spoilers. Kinda the big thing? One of the main conflicts of the book center on the main character Jane getting pregnant and thus not being able to do glamour/magic anymore. Yeah. And then she doesn't want a baby, 'cause she wanna do magic! But then! Womanly feels! But oh no! There is peril! And she HAS to do magic! And she has a miscarriage! Oh woe and guilt! You'd think I'd be more articulate about this after how long I ranted to Micah about it. Fuck that noise. It didn't help that I was reading this at the same time as Who Fears Death, which actually deals with this same concept in a better way. And people praise this book for it's vaguely feminist sensibilities. Y'know, the same sensibilities that lead the author to make no mention of race or class or anything. And lead the main character to dismiss all other women she knows as "insipid, and concerned only with fashion." But don't worry, she's not like them. She's sensible and shit, you might even say she is an "exceptional woman." This bullshit is driven home by the last passage of the book, in which Jane's husband beckons her to stay and talk about politics as the other, not as smart and sensible, ladies are being ushered out of the room. Basically, this book made me pretty constantly eye roll. And just on a writing level...the plot was kinda boring, stuff was mentioned and never followed up on, and the pacing felt off in several areas. The end felt especially rushed. So bored and angry. Not the emotions I want a book to inspire.

  10. 4 out of 5

    [Name Redacted]

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was initially pleased to find that this novel was an improvement on Shades of Milk and Honey. The writing was crisper, the pacing was brisker, and the romantic leads seemed far more sympathetic. Then I started paying attention to the protagonist, and... Yeesh. Jane is selfish, spiteful, petty and vain. She manifests a single-minded self-centeredness that verges on sociopathy, and seems to view even her "dear" husband as little more than a possession or an obstacle. To make matters worse, the au I was initially pleased to find that this novel was an improvement on Shades of Milk and Honey. The writing was crisper, the pacing was brisker, and the romantic leads seemed far more sympathetic. Then I started paying attention to the protagonist, and... Yeesh. Jane is selfish, spiteful, petty and vain. She manifests a single-minded self-centeredness that verges on sociopathy, and seems to view even her "dear" husband as little more than a possession or an obstacle. To make matters worse, the author seems to unwittingly use her to anachronistically project 21st-century Western anti-pregnancy attitudes onto the time period in which this book is supposed to be set. I say "unwittingly" because I've heard her discuss this novel on the "Writing Excuses" podcast and she never once hinted at the fact that she'd be projecting the thoroughly modern attitude of pregnancy-as-oppressive-disease back into the Napoleonic era. I imagine we're supposed to feel bad for Jane when she finally miscarries, but the author spends less time on that supposedly-harrowing experience than she does describing the dinner party they attend afterwards. What is more, the fact that Jane always (ALWAYS) resented the pregnancy, and, upon discovering the miscarriage, silently exulted in the fact that she could work again... Yeah, not really feeling much pity. I'm sure some of that has to do with the fact that so many of my friends have had repeated miscarriages when they desperately WANTED children, but at least I can recognize my bias. The author seems entirely unaware of how solipsistic and repellent her character appears at that point. There's even a rather frightening scene in which Jane's husband tries to convince her that the guilt she feels over being relieved at the miscarriage is an indication that she isn't REALLY a bad person and must not REALLY have wanted it to happen. Why might that be so frightening? After all, it sounds like a reasonable explanation, something many a woman who has suffered a miscarriage would need to hear. Well, readers, it's frightening because the author explains within that scene that Jane ONLY feels guilty because she knows she's supposed to. I reviewed that scene over and over, certain I had misread or misunderstood it, but the author explicitly states that Jane doesn't feel bad about the miscarriage, or even about rejoicing in the miscarriage -- rather, Jane feels bad for not feeling bad at all. Vincent is, in fact, enabling her and engaging in a tragic moment of wishful thinking to soothe his own mind. Add to that the fact that the protagonist finds a way (one of a long line of ways in the story) to make her brutally-abused, former P.O.W. husband feel guilty for her feelings which she had previously refused to voice and repeatedly projected onto him... Again, I'm not feeling much sympathy for her. I understand that I, as a 21st century male, am not the intended audience for this, even though I love the novels of Jane Austen and grew up an ardent feminist. I can't believe that this was what Mary Robinette Kowal intended, but it's what she produced nonetheless. I had expected the end of the book to redeem it for me, but instead I was left horrified. I will not be reading another volume in this series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This series continues to entertain, though it takes a pretty wild subject/tone shift in this book - as another reviewer says, "in Austen's terms, this thing might as well have been written by Michael Bay." If the last book was the marriage plot, this book is the Napoleon plot. Or something. And it's unfortunate that this book's plot only works because the two main characters refuse to communicate with each other. It's my least favorite trope, though it does progress their relationship in a belie This series continues to entertain, though it takes a pretty wild subject/tone shift in this book - as another reviewer says, "in Austen's terms, this thing might as well have been written by Michael Bay." If the last book was the marriage plot, this book is the Napoleon plot. Or something. And it's unfortunate that this book's plot only works because the two main characters refuse to communicate with each other. It's my least favorite trope, though it does progress their relationship in a believable and satisfying way. ((view spoiler)[As believable as Vincent and Jane fighting off Napoleonic soldiers from a cart is, anyway. (hide spoiler)] ) Specifics about things I liked and didn't like below! (view spoiler)[Things I liked: - Getting Vincent's backstory in this book. I also was concerned that I had misrepresented his father as a count in my previous review, but Kowal says in the notes that she actually made a mistake in the first book (there are no counts in the British aristocracy) and had to make a change. - The setting was great - I don't think I've read something set in the Hundred Days in a long time, and I definitely hadn't read something set in Belgium. - I really liked the contrasts between French and British society, and the ways that everyone tries to make Jane as uncomfortable as possible. - The reveal of Anne-Marie as a spy! I liked her later interactions with Jane after the reveal, too. - I like the fade-to-black. Sorry. Things I could have done without: - Jane's pregnancy generally made me anxious. Although it's interesting to think about a world where Jane can't do glamour, it's just kind of a bummer that she's already feeling inferior to Vincent's talents and then has to refrain from glamour altogether. It feels so naturally unfair. - I liked that Jane refused to leave Vincent, but the escape scene is absolutely insane. It feels like a wild swing from the previous book, and there's a duel in that one! - It sucks that this whole thing hangs on the miscommunication between Jane and Vincent. It really is one of my least favorite plot devices. - The confusing part about Vincent's backstory is that the Duke of Wellington clearly has glamourists in the army ... I still don't fully understand the division between the two, or why people who can create invisibility spheres aren't thinking about the wartime applications. (hide spoiler)]

  12. 4 out of 5

    kris

    Glamour in Glass had something going for it that I was really excited about: established relationship adventures. I love established relationship adventures; they are the jelly to my peanut butter. There's something about two people who are committed to each other working together that just gets me excited. This book, though, didn't do it for me. I understand what Glamour in Glass was attempting to do with showing that relationships aren't all hunky dory with the kissing and the romantic poetic Glamour in Glass had something going for it that I was really excited about: established relationship adventures. I love established relationship adventures; they are the jelly to my peanut butter. There's something about two people who are committed to each other working together that just gets me excited. This book, though, didn't do it for me. I understand what Glamour in Glass was attempting to do with showing that relationships aren't all hunky dory with the kissing and the romantic poetic bombasts and what-have-you, but rather than making me feel like Jane and Vincent were working towards a deeper understanding, it instead felt more and more like they just didn't work together. Perhaps this is because I have read one too many "communication is the key to a healthy relationship" manual, but COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. While I understand keeping things a secret, I also felt like Vincent was a tool without feeling any true remorse. Yes, he was spying, and yes, the argument can be made that he should have trusted Jane enough to share that information with her, but that doesn't excuse his fits of temper or his overreaching douche-baggery. His disrespect really, really bothered me. Jane also put me off. She is unable to bring herself to confront Vincent about his douche-baggery, but then is later characterized as being direct and straight-forward. She refuses to address any of her concerns to Vincent and then is angry when he confesses his role on their "honeymoon". COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. Add to that the many plot threads and you end up with a messy, emotionally stunted book about characters I didn't like. (view spoiler)[The only thing I didn't mind about this novel was the pregnancy storyline? SHOCKER, I KNOW, but I thought it was very well handled and managed well the tension of what it is to be a woman dedicated to a profession with the complications motherhood can present. (hide spoiler)]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2017/0... Glamour in Glass was every bit of an enjoyable escape for me as Shades of Milk and Honey. I absolutely love this time period setting and the magic of glamours just enhances that. In this one, Jane and Vincent work as a husband and wife team working as glamourists for noble families. Jane is adjusting to married life, as they are working on their "honeymoon". I have to say, one of the things I am really enjoying about this serie Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2017/0... Glamour in Glass was every bit of an enjoyable escape for me as Shades of Milk and Honey. I absolutely love this time period setting and the magic of glamours just enhances that. In this one, Jane and Vincent work as a husband and wife team working as glamourists for noble families. Jane is adjusting to married life, as they are working on their "honeymoon". I have to say, one of the things I am really enjoying about this series is light and fresh and it is also so easy to read. I know, that may not sound like much, but Kowal makes this story flow seemingly effortlessly, taking you noble world of Europe in the 1800s. I continue to enjoy Jane as a character. She is a strong female character that is edging a place for herself in the very misogynistic atmosphere that existed at the time. Women have their place, and it has typically been behind her husband and the men. Vincent treats her with respect, and sees her as an equal partner, but he's also a bit clueless and awkward at times and is not always aware of how not everyone is the same as him. And is not always aware of how his actions may come across. Awkward is actually a very good word for Jane and Vincent's relationship at times. Not bad, just they are still new to each other, and learning how to be a team and communicate and understand one another is just part of the process. Definitely an enjoyable series so far, and I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I'm a little in love with this book. It's not so much the story line (though that is surprisingly good, and that's coming from someone who is both irrepressibly drawn, yet sick to death of all the Jane Austen spawns and wannabes that are out there) as the individual bits and pieces that make up the book, and that Mary Robinette Kowal has passed on in her Author's Afterword, online blog, and in person. She's hit all my geeky and bookish markers, which auspicates a beautiful future. So first off, a I'm a little in love with this book. It's not so much the story line (though that is surprisingly good, and that's coming from someone who is both irrepressibly drawn, yet sick to death of all the Jane Austen spawns and wannabes that are out there) as the individual bits and pieces that make up the book, and that Mary Robinette Kowal has passed on in her Author's Afterword, online blog, and in person. She's hit all my geeky and bookish markers, which auspicates a beautiful future. So first off, a bit of personal history. I knew I'd be meeting the author at this year's JordanCon, and had not yet read any of her works. I was about to check out Shades of Milk and Honey at our wonderful local library, when I read that somehow, there had been a misprint in the first edition of her second book, Glamour in Glass and that first line of the novel is missing. That blog entry captivated me, and I immediately ordered the book. I won the book misprint lottery, and actually got a copy of the book that is sans intended first line, and decided to take MRK up on her suggestion to have the author, herself, write the line in my book when I met her. Even missing that first line, I was enchanted with the sheer Austen-ness of the language of the book. Several times while reading, I would pause and declare to my ever patient husband, "She's really got it", which morphed into "she's channeling again" for the perfectness of language and sensibilities. Part of reasons behind this perfectness became clear when reading the afterward where MRK revealed the following, and won my heart forever: Because I am something of a geek, I wanted to eliminate as much language as possible from the book that would have been an anachronism. To that end, I created a word list from the complete works of Jane Austen and used that as a spell-check dictionary. It flagged any word that she didn't use, which allowed me to look it up to see it it existed in 1815 or if the meaning had changed. I then either selected an alternate word, or in a few cases , opted to keep the word because it was clearer that the other options, and I am writing for a modern audience. The characters in the book were quite well drawn, the magic in the world (the bit that makes this a fantasy novel -- "Jane Austen, with Magic!") is tastefully suited to the period as well. And combine the two into an alternate history of sorts, and you get a tale well told. I must also add that something Jane experiences near the end of the book (and I'm being careful not to add spoilers) was really well handled. Having been in a similar situation several times (minus the element of glamour) myself, I can verify that such times call up a well of emotions, some not entirely what might be expected, but all equally valid. Tastefully handled. Now, if all that wasn't enough, the author showed up in Regency dress at a costume party, in a gown she made herself. Plus, I was fortunate enough to hear the author, a talented voice actor as well as a talented writer, read chapter two of this book (which is the chapter that initially won me over when reading). If you ever have a chance to meet this woman, run, don't walk, to do so. Which, curiously enough, is exactly what you should do in regards to getting your hands on a copy of her writing. Get moving! Great reading awaits. (Rating for story is 4.5 but all the backstuff cranks it up to a 5 for me.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    Had this just been a book of Regency magic and manners it would have been charming enough: the period is evoked more convincingly than usual in both dialog and mores. But no, Kowal wasn't content to leave it at that: there are complications such as creative and technological insight and war. You don't get a lot of that sort of development, which is a pity, because I really love seeing characters work through problems and setbacks. There were also books being read, both for information and group Had this just been a book of Regency magic and manners it would have been charming enough: the period is evoked more convincingly than usual in both dialog and mores. But no, Kowal wasn't content to leave it at that: there are complications such as creative and technological insight and war. You don't get a lot of that sort of development, which is a pity, because I really love seeing characters work through problems and setbacks. There were also books being read, both for information and group entertainment, which doesn't appear nearly as often as it should in books. So, awesome. All the pleasures of an Austen novel, such as the mortifying realization of how the regular and normal behavior of one's family is perceived by others. But also the kinds of things that are left out of Austen. Although she must have known a great deal about solving problems in her work and testing out various options, I can't recall any instance of someone actually doing anything like work, let alone encountering challenges in it. And the wars, of course, were never mentioned directly, despite the number of officers in uniform who are so very appealing to the young women. Mind, I'm not saying that Kowal is trying to fix Austen in any way, just that she has found interstices in which to introduce other elements without seeming to contradict the historical feel. Plus, the heroine is not beautiful and knows it, a rare element in fiction. I'm very eagerly looking forward to reading the rest of the series, and then moving on to Kowal's other work.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    This second book in Kowal's Glamourist series returns to the Regency world she created in Shades of Milk and Honey (my review here), but Kowal departs from the strongly Austen-y feel of the first to a more standard paranormal historical feel -- a development I welcome! Jane and her new husband find themselves in Belgium for their honeymoon, and they use the time to study some of the Continental glamour techniques and skills, as well as experimenting with the use of glass in glamour work. But Nap This second book in Kowal's Glamourist series returns to the Regency world she created in Shades of Milk and Honey (my review here), but Kowal departs from the strongly Austen-y feel of the first to a more standard paranormal historical feel -- a development I welcome! Jane and her new husband find themselves in Belgium for their honeymoon, and they use the time to study some of the Continental glamour techniques and skills, as well as experimenting with the use of glass in glamour work. But Napoleon escapes Elba and suddenly they're at the front lines of battle. Unhesitating in their support of the British army, their loyalty to country and their skill in glamour make them targets. As with the first book, I think heightened expectation set me up for disappointment, for while I liked this one more than Shades of Milk and Honey, I wasn't in swoons as I imagined I would. Once again, I yearned for more -- more detail, more character depth, more exploration of the world and its mores, that kind of thing. Kowal evokes warm intimacy, real sexual chemistry, and devoted friendship between Jane and Vincent, but it's done in quick brushstrokes that didn't satisfy me. There was also a huge plot element I found problematic: (view spoiler)[Jane's miscarriage. Actually, the miscarriage was an intriguing plot element because I feel like you don't see that much in novels in which that isn't the central premise, and I was excited to see how our characters would handle this development. Sadly, it came so late in the novel it was really rushed over, and only just barely touched upon in the third book. No, what disappointed me was that Kowal made glamour dangerous to pregnant women, which meant, for much of the novel, Jane didn't perform glamour. She was just disappointed and sulky about it, which was understandable, but kind of boring to read about. Additionally, I had hoped Kowal would ultimately reveal that it was sexism and not a reality about glamour and pregnant women, but alas, Jane was punished for using glamour while pregnant. Ugh. (hide spoiler)] In rereading this review, I can see I'm damning with faint praise -- which isn't my intention. (I'm hooked enough that I'm starting the fourth book!) It's fluffy, Regency-ish fun, in which artists use magic, there are no love triangles, and we follow a couple through their new marriage (which is refreshing and fun!). Also, it was nice to "get" the title of this one, unlike Shades of Milk and Honey, which is still a mystery to me. Initial Thoughts Ambivalent! But better than the first book, I think -- she didn't stick to an Austen novel this time, and it was simply a historical fantasy. Still, it felt thin somehow, like she was told to trim out details, which bums me out, because I'm really intrigued by this world. The end -- including some big drama -- was rushed, too. Still -- I've picked up the third book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I am really getting a kick out of Kowal's alternate-Regency series. This book had quite a bit more action than its predecessor, and I enjoyed the larger view that it allowed in removing the protagonists from the genteel English countryside. Glamour is a subtle addition to history; it is a pleasure to observe the ways that it changes both the larger course of events and the day to day life of its practitioners. The only problem with reading a book such as this the week it comes out is the long wa I am really getting a kick out of Kowal's alternate-Regency series. This book had quite a bit more action than its predecessor, and I enjoyed the larger view that it allowed in removing the protagonists from the genteel English countryside. Glamour is a subtle addition to history; it is a pleasure to observe the ways that it changes both the larger course of events and the day to day life of its practitioners. The only problem with reading a book such as this the week it comes out is the long wait for the next in the series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fade

    A lovely sequel that improves greatly on the previous book. The relationships are as nicely handled as before, but there's a great deal more nuance in secondary characters, and moving away from "Will the protagonist find love?" (which is never quite in doubt) to a more exciting sort of plot does wonders for keeping Jane and Vincent interesting. I'm now looking forward to a third in the series; I want to hear much more about the science of glamour. A lovely sequel that improves greatly on the previous book. The relationships are as nicely handled as before, but there's a great deal more nuance in secondary characters, and moving away from "Will the protagonist find love?" (which is never quite in doubt) to a more exciting sort of plot does wonders for keeping Jane and Vincent interesting. I'm now looking forward to a third in the series; I want to hear much more about the science of glamour.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I enjoyed Shades of Milk and Honey, and was looking forward to seeing Jane and Vincent working glamour and dealing with whatever comes their way as a couple in this book. But everything felt slightly off: the characterisation of Jane and Vincent, the French*, the plotting (all over the place IMO), the rabble of other characters - mainly unsympathetic, and those who weren't were paper thin. It also seems as if there are no other women in this world worth spending time with, which I find a little I enjoyed Shades of Milk and Honey, and was looking forward to seeing Jane and Vincent working glamour and dealing with whatever comes their way as a couple in this book. But everything felt slightly off: the characterisation of Jane and Vincent, the French*, the plotting (all over the place IMO), the rabble of other characters - mainly unsympathetic, and those who weren't were paper thin. It also seems as if there are no other women in this world worth spending time with, which I find a little disturbing. (Admittedly, there don't seem to be many men of interest, either, but at least they aren't immediately dismissed for either being shallow or free with their affections.) I don't know. Maybe I was coming at it from the wrong point of view. I will probably read the third one at some point, because I do enjoy the world Kowal has set up. But I was very underwhelmed by this one. *I know they're speaking Belgian French, which is not the same as French French. My issue is more that often the constructions in French sounded American, as if someone had taken a sentence in American English and translated it directly into French, rather than thinking about how a French speaker would say the equivalent thing. I'm a translator by trade, and this jarred with me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    TheBookSmugglers

    Jane Vincent née Ellsworth has thwarted the threat to her immediate family, has saved her younger sister Melody's prospects, improved her own skill at creating and manipulating glamours, and has landed the love of her life with Sir David Vincent as her loving (if gruff) husband. Wedded bliss, however, is short-lived when Jane and Vincent are called away to Brussels to consult on new glamour techniques from one of Vincent's old colleagues. The Continent - particularly anywhere near France - is in Jane Vincent née Ellsworth has thwarted the threat to her immediate family, has saved her younger sister Melody's prospects, improved her own skill at creating and manipulating glamours, and has landed the love of her life with Sir David Vincent as her loving (if gruff) husband. Wedded bliss, however, is short-lived when Jane and Vincent are called away to Brussels to consult on new glamour techniques from one of Vincent's old colleagues. The Continent - particularly anywhere near France - is in a volatile position, as an exiled Napoleon stirs and plots to break free of his prison on Elba. With spies and traitors aplenty, Jane and her new husband must be wary of their every move - especially when Jane has a theoretical breakthrough that could change everything the world knows of glamour and its practical applications, through recordings in glass. There's also the troublesome matter of Vincent, who seems to be keeping secrets from his wife and pulling away from her as political tensions mount. Somehow, these different threads are all related, and Jane must untangle the truth if she is to save her husband and herself from a terrible fate. The second book in what I hope is at least a trilogy, I was not sure what to expect when I began Glamour in Glass. While I enjoyed the first book, in a purely frothy escapist way, I was not sure exactly how the series would progress from the ending of the first novel - Jane and Vincent marry, and live happily ever after, right? Add to this the significant problems with Shades of Milk and Honey, the largest of which rested in the fact that most any attempt to mimic Jane Austen yields poor results - and in the first novel, Ms. Kowal's allusions to Austen's most famous novels (Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Emma) are overt and cannot help but pale in comparison to their source material. I also had issues with the characters and overall romantic plot, as Jane is a heroine that left me wanting - she was shades of Anne Elliot, Elinor Dashwood, and Elizabeth Bennet, but not nearly as compelling as any of these iconic heroines. Too, Jane's love interest Sir Vincent lacked real definition as a character and I felt no emotional investment in their romance. With marriage, however, this could change, and I looked to Glamour in Glass with a hopeful and open mind. And you know what, readers? I have to say, I'm glad I stuck with the series. Glamour in Glass is a far better book than Shades of Milk and Honey, and moves the story from beneath the long shadow of Jane Austen and transitions the story to something much more original - and, more importantly, memorable. First and foremost, I absolutely love the vision of magic - that is, glamour - in this book. We were introduced to the magical system of glamour, in which users manipulating folds of reality and twisting them to create illusions, in Shades of Milk and Honey. While this system is tantalizing in book 1, however, it never really gets center stage treatment, feeling more like a minor backdrop to the story's focus on Jane, her sister Melody, and the burgeoning love interests. In Glamour in Glass, I was thrilled to see glamour taking a front seat and playing an integral part of the story, driving more of the plot and the action. We learn much more about the different techniques and folds of glamour in this second book, as well as see the thought process behind creating different glamours and practical applications of magic beyond the superficial aesthetics that characterized so much of its use in this version of British aristocracy. Naturally, if one could use magic to render oneself invisible, this has incredible military applications - and it's something that the French Napoleon loyalist forces seize on to help shape the course of the war. Then, there's the titular "glamour in glass" - which I won't spoil, but holds a special, key place in the story. Beyond the strength of the magical system, which I loved, the characters also grow and become more defined in this second novel. Heroine Jane, while still timid and lacking in self-confidence, finally manages to extricate herself from the heroines to which she was purportedly paying homage, and becomes a full-fledged and developed character in her own right. There's less of a focus on Jane's preoccupation with her sallow skin and overlong nose, and more of a focus on Jane's abilities and her relationship with her husband. On that note, Jane's husband Vincent also becomes less of a stock caricature and more fleshed-out with honest motivations that make sense. While I still don't buy the romantic plot that brought these two characters together, the bond between husband and wife is executed well, and I liked the layered, at times tense connection between the newlyweds as they struggle to understand one another and their burgeoning relationship. Perhaps the most interesting thread is this question of Jane's role and subconscious feelings of inferiority to her husband, as Vincent is the world-renowned glamourist and Jane his oft-overlooked sidekick (since she is *just* a woman, after all). I love that Ms. Kowal explores these feelings, and the question of agency and the role of females throughout Glamour in Glass - for example, though glamour is considered a "female art", it's interesting that the most famous and wealthy glamourists are all men. I also love that Jane questions the status quo but in a way that fits a woman of her station and during this particular time period; the use of contrast between the women of the ton in London, versus those women in France is a nicely executed juxtaposition. Finally, Jane places so much of her self-worth and reasons that Vincent only fell in love with her because of her skill with glamour - what happens when that ability is stripped away? This question, and others, are explored in Glamour in Glass, which is awesome. On the downside, while escapist and fun, Glamour in Glass still lacks that necessary *oomph* that elevates a novel from good to great. I love the dual threads of evolution of magical theory in this book and the political developments involving Napoleon and his escape from Elba, the actual story proper takes too long to get going. The conflicts imposed by these threats is also slow to build and buried under much conversation between characters and inner-monologuing that does not amount to anything significant that propels the story forward - in short, there's a lot of talking without purpose or objective. And, on a tangential but I think important note, I was disappointed to see that Jane's family plays such a small role in this book (particularly sister Melody), when it was such a focal point of the first novel. Criticisms said, the strengths of character, the strong magical system, and the overall story are enough to make Glamour in Glass a much more memorable read than Shades of Milk and Honey, and clearly Mary Robinette Kowal is an author of great potential. I eagerly await her next novel, to see if that much-desired oomph factor will come to fruition.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daphne

    I greatly preferred the first book to this one. While Glamour in Glass had the same main characters, the setting and tone of the book were completely different. It just didn't really excite me at all, and near the end I had to force myself to keep reading. The conflict of the war wasn't very appealing to me, and I was a little annoyed with both Jane and Vincent for their lack of communication with each other. Another thing that bothered me is that one of the things that is mentioned in the summa I greatly preferred the first book to this one. While Glamour in Glass had the same main characters, the setting and tone of the book were completely different. It just didn't really excite me at all, and near the end I had to force myself to keep reading. The conflict of the war wasn't very appealing to me, and I was a little annoyed with both Jane and Vincent for their lack of communication with each other. Another thing that bothered me is that one of the things that is mentioned in the summary of the book doesn't happen until around 75% in. That means I spent the first 75% of the book knowing it would happen and sort of waiting for it. It really didn't work for me with the pacing, and the book in general felt really slow to me. I did like Jane's character development in this book and the more in-depth view of society at the time. I also enjoyed how the magic system was explored more (though I do think a little too much time was spent focusing on the details of it) I'm on the fence about continuing this series. It's really nice to read a book set in this time that isn't just a historical piece but has some magic too, but this just felt too dry for me to really enjoy it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 stars. I think 2013 has seen me branching out into more sub-genres of fantasy than any other year, thanks to participating in events like the Worlds Without End's Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge. Once, Mary Robinette Kowal fell into the category of "An author I've never read before, but would really like to" and so the book I chose for the challenge was 2012 Nebula Award nominated Glamour in Glass. Someone once told me that when writing a review, it helps to think about what makes a 3.5 stars. I think 2013 has seen me branching out into more sub-genres of fantasy than any other year, thanks to participating in events like the Worlds Without End's Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge. Once, Mary Robinette Kowal fell into the category of "An author I've never read before, but would really like to" and so the book I chose for the challenge was 2012 Nebula Award nominated Glamour in Glass. Someone once told me that when writing a review, it helps to think about what makes a book different and why readers should care. For this one, the thing that struck me right away was the setting. But while I may have read fantasy fiction aplenty that takes place in this time period, this is the first time I've actually ventured into something with strong elements of Regency romance, complete with the stylistic conventions that bring to mind the works of Jane Austen. This is also the first time I've ever heard the term "Fantasy of manners". Hooray for discovering new things! It wasn't until after I picked up Glamour in Glass that I discovered it was actually the second book of a sequence called the Glamourist Histories. Normally, I dislike reading books in a series out of order, more out of a fear that I'd get lost than anything. That's why I was happy to learn that you don't have to read the first book Shades of Milk and Honey to follow the story and understand what's going on. The magic system in this book, called Glamour weaving and described with textile-related metaphors, was sufficiently explained and the general idea of it is easy to pick up. I also quickly got that our main characters, Jane and Vincent, were newly married since the last book, and now they're looking forward to settling down to a life of nuptial bliss and doing Glamour together. However, at the start of this book is also the period following the abdication of Napoleon. While Jane and Vincent are on their honeymoon in Belgium, the deposed emperor escapes exile and makes his return to France, leaving the newlyweds with no easy way to return to England. Certainly, this book was somewhat of a departure from the kind of fantasy I usually read and the experience was very new and different for me. The language and characters' mannerisms are definitely in keeping with the time period, which I have to admit was delightful and yet frustrating at the same time. Mostly, the frustrations come from the narrator Jane and the way she dwells on issues for a long time and perceives every little indignity as a personal slight to her, especially those pertaining to marriage and her husband. I find this still bothers me even when taking into account the era in which these books take place, a time when men and women's statuses vastly differ, so I'm not holding that against Jane. Instead, my dissatisfaction of her character stems from from her relationship with Vincent and how often their marriage feels "off". First of all, a big chunk of the novel's conflict is the result of a breakdown of communication between the two of them. I've seen this trope commonly used in romances, but I'm personally not a fan of it. Also, despite being madly in love, the two of them don't seem to know each other very well. Awkwardly, Jane is still constantly discovering new things about her husband that surprises her or makes her doubt him, and I also found myself questioning why she so often feels the need to seek permission or approval from him for every little decision. I have to assume their courtship mustn't have lasted very long, but perhaps this is where I need to pick up Shades of Milk and Honey to find out. Speaking of the first book, I do intend to go back and read it. Despite my problems with the main character, I thought this book was well-written and contains interesting ideas. I can't really talk about some of the issues in it without giving away too many spoilers, but suffice to say the emotional reactions of the characters are very well-described, deep, and most importantly, realistic and believable. I also love the idea of Glamour magic, which is just abstract enough to give one the sense that it's so much more than can be put into words. I'm looking forward to learning more details about Glamour in the first book, as well as in future installments of this series. See more reviews at The BiblioSanctum

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christaaay

    3.5/5 STARSAlt-history/Regency period fantasy series. Book I of the Glamourist Histories charmed me, with its “beauty and the beast,” Austen-esque romance and “glamour magic” that impresses Regency art critics and drawing rooms everywhere. Book II matures not only the relationships—we get a deeper look at marriage and period gender roles—but the glamour, as well. Jane discovers a way to use glamour beyond the realms of artistic appreciation...in the realm of warfare. In fact, her discovery could 3.5/5 STARSAlt-history/Regency period fantasy series. Book I of the Glamourist Histories charmed me, with its “beauty and the beast,” Austen-esque romance and “glamour magic” that impresses Regency art critics and drawing rooms everywhere. Book II matures not only the relationships—we get a deeper look at marriage and period gender roles—but the glamour, as well. Jane discovers a way to use glamour beyond the realms of artistic appreciation...in the realm of warfare. In fact, her discovery could hugely impact Britain’s ongoing conflict with Napoleon. That’s pretty awesome. It took a while to manifest, imo, but it made for an almost spy-thriller ending that I completely loved lol. The relationship dynamics of Glamour in Glass (relating to gender roles and career, as well as trouble with the in-laws) grabbed me right off the bat. I didn’t find the emotional arc terribly riveting, throughout most of the book—it largely consists of the husband keeping a huge, plot-relevant secret from his wife, and the wife hesitating to ask questions about her husband’s past—but I did love the resolution of mutual understanding. Fast-paced, magically-riveting and brimming with human insight. What more can I ask for in just over 300 pages?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Olga Godim

    This is a quiet fantasy novel set in Regency England, or rather an alternative version of Regency England, where magic is an art form like watercolors or music. It’s the second book in a series but it reads well as a stand-alone novel, and I’ll treat it as such. There are two interlocking stories running through the narrative: a love story and a magic story, with a whiff of a war thriller to spice things up. Its magical system is definitely the most interesting aspect of this novel. Magic – orig This is a quiet fantasy novel set in Regency England, or rather an alternative version of Regency England, where magic is an art form like watercolors or music. It’s the second book in a series but it reads well as a stand-alone novel, and I’ll treat it as such. There are two interlocking stories running through the narrative: a love story and a magic story, with a whiff of a war thriller to spice things up. Its magical system is definitely the most interesting aspect of this novel. Magic – original and subtle – affects every scene; it’s intrinsic to the society the writer has wrought, but the manifestations of Kowal’s magic are unique in the fantasy genre. The only thing the magicians in this world can do is create glamour – illusions that affect all senses: sight, hearing, smell, and occasionally temperature. The protagonist Jane is a glamourist – a talented artist. While shy and awkward in society, she is sparkling when she designs her glamours. Working magic, weaving lovely mirages out of magical threads, fills her with joy. Unfortunately, for certain people magic, or rather its military applications, could be a coveted weapon. In this way, magic is in the heart of the major conflict of the plot. Before even a hint of that conflict is revealed, Jane’s love story unfolds on the peaceful background of England and magic. A plain, unassuming young woman, Jane is unsure of herself in the day-to-day life. Newly-wed to her beloved Vincent, a famous glamourist whose art she admires, Jane adores her husband. Her love permeates the tale and influences all Jane’s decisions. Even when she doubts Vincent’s affections for her, which happens fairly often – modern psychologists would say Jane has a very low self-esteem – she never doubts her own love for him. And she fights for her love against the overwhelming odds of war and treachery. The timing of the novel coincides with the end of Napoleonic wars. The Corsican is defeated and banished to Elba, life in England returns to normal, and to mark the new, risk-free Europe, Jane and her husband travel to the Continent for their honeymoon. Unexpectedly, Napoleon escapes from Elba, and troubles ensue. Only Jane’s courage and ingenuity, combined with her abilities as a glamourist and her unselfish love, allow her to save her husband’s life, simultaneously (and inadvertently) aiding the British army in the final battle against the French emperor. Jane is a three-dimensional character, calm and rational one moment, weepy or overly suspicious the next, but always dedicated to her art – a real artist. Ready to sacrifice a lot for her art, she is not a common female image in the fantasy genre, which has lately been populated by different females: plucky, mouthy girls, waving swords and kicking in step with their men. Unlike them, Jane is a woman of her era and doesn’t pretend otherwise, even when she has to don a man’s costume to extricate her husband from the enemy clutches. Even then she doesn’t wield a weapon, relying instead on her wits and her magical gift. There is an excess of secondary characters in the story; too many I’d say. Most of them are pretty sketchy, except for Jane’s husband, Vincent. Seen through Jane’s loving eyes, this famous glamourist is the epitome of a genius: arrogant, slightly asocial, focused on his art and his inner vision to the exclusion of anything and anyone else. Except his wife: he clearly cherishes her. Like Jane, Vincent is an unusual type for fantasy fiction: a talented artist. They both are also patriots, caught in the military clash and plying their art to get out with their honor and their skin intact. The tension grows steadily, as Waterloo looms, but this particular story is low-key. It doesn’t include battles or magical feats. There are no fanfares there. Instead, the author concentrates on the artistic integrity of her heroes. What does it mean to be an artist, she asks? What are they ready to give up for their art? A nice story, although it could’ve benefited from better editing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    E.A.

    This will be the second time I write this review because the . . . sigh. This only goes to how how much I enjoyed this book that I am willing to rewrite the review. I have never knowingly read a book out of order, until now. I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY for some time now. I have heard really good things about it but I have so many books on my to read list that I normally just read the books that I can get my hands on. When I won a copy of GLAMOUR IN GL This will be the second time I write this review because the . . . sigh. This only goes to how how much I enjoyed this book that I am willing to rewrite the review. I have never knowingly read a book out of order, until now. I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY for some time now. I have heard really good things about it but I have so many books on my to read list that I normally just read the books that I can get my hands on. When I won a copy of GLAMOUR IN GLASS from Goodreads I decided I was just going to read it. I mean what is the advantage of reading an ARC if you can't read it before it is officially released? I am glad I didn't wait. I recommend reading the SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY first, but if you find a copy of GLAMOUR IN GLASS in your hands, don't let it stop you. One of the reasons why I refuse to read books out of order, especially fantasy, is because not only do you lose some of the character development, but it can be confusing to understand all of the magic system. In this world the magic system is known as glamour and it is an illusionary style. Though I am sure I probably didn't grasp all of what the glamourists are capable of or how it works, I understand what was happening and all of the important information was explained. GLAMOUR IN GLASS also gives some information from the previous story but wasn't a complete summary and I only know the eventual end, I will still read it to see how it gets there. This story takes place in Europe during Napoleon's exile to the island of Elba. The main character, Jane, works as a glamourist with her husband Vincent. They have only been married a short time and decide that since the threat of Napoleon is gone they can take their honeymoon. They both love doing glamour and decide to go to Brussels where a glamourist friend of Vincent's lives. He has a new technique that he wants to show them. For those of you who know your history, Napoleon eventually escapes from Elba. Jane and Vincent are now caught in the middle of a country that is split as to whether to support Napoleon or not. The only problem is they have something that the army wants. GLAMOUR IN GLASS is an engaging read. It isn't for everyone, especially if you are looking for epic battles between armies. But, I liked the fact that it offered something that I haven't seen a lot of, a heroine who hasn't been modernized. Too many times when I read stories that are suppose to be about classic time periods the heroine has modern ideals, beliefs, feelings, and clash with what is historically accurate. Jane is a character who sticks to tradition yet remains strong and determined. Not only are the characters historically accurate but I could tell Mary did her research about the time period. She gave enough details with the language, clothing, life-styles, even the weapons that I was immersed but at the same time there wasn't too much that it dragged the story down. I hope that Mary writes more in this same style.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    This is book 2 in the Glamourist Histories and I have to say this series continues to surprise and enchant me. I don't know if I can pinpoint exactly what it is about these books which I enjoy so much, maybe that it's very readable and yet it feels classic and I've always wished I could get more into classics. I think the combination of classic tone of voice and setting with magic just really works, and Kowal clearly knows what she is doing and does it well! This story once more follows our main This is book 2 in the Glamourist Histories and I have to say this series continues to surprise and enchant me. I don't know if I can pinpoint exactly what it is about these books which I enjoy so much, maybe that it's very readable and yet it feels classic and I've always wished I could get more into classics. I think the combination of classic tone of voice and setting with magic just really works, and Kowal clearly knows what she is doing and does it well! This story once more follows our main character of Jane from book 1. Once more we have echoes of Regency England and the Jane Eyre book but this time we follow Jane after the events of book 1 are finished up and as she embarks on a new section of her life. She has become part of a new partnership, and she and her partner together undertake wonderful Glamour jobs. She's been employed by the King of England, and the creations that she's now able to weave are stronger and more beautiful than ever. When her partner decides upon a surprise Trip abroad she happily accompanies them and together the two of them settle into life abroad, until Napoleon and War become the talk of the days and it seems more and more dangerous to be British and in France or Belgium. Jane as a character is one that I find it easy to enjoy. She's a likeable and intelligent character and she's also highly skilled, but this doesn't mean she's stuck up. She sees the good in everyone and frowns upon some customs of those abroad. Equally her resolve is tested many times over the book both when it comes to her work, her skill, and her beau but she doesn't let this stop her from sticking up for those she loves and believes in and doing whatever necessary to get them through the tricky situations. I felt like the pacing of this book was good and easy to get through and I have to say it was very nearly a 5* review like the first. The only slight disappointment for me concerning this book was that the ending was rather sudden and although things were resolved I did feel that there could have been a little more said at the ending. I suppose this is only a very minor complaint as actually this is a series and there are other books which will come after this and no doubt explain what happens next. I can't wait to find out! On the whole, another really fun story with a lot of surprises and drama, classic tones, and visually imaginative and original magic. I look forward to picking up book 3 (which I do own already) and reading that one. A very fun and light series which is great to break up the longer reads 4.5*s, recommended!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    colleen the convivial curmudgeon

    When I picked up the first book in this series, 'Shades of Milk and Honey', I knew it was a fantasy-romance, but I didn't know that the romance aspects would far trump the fantasy aspects. But, despite that, I still generally enjoyed the story. So, in going into 'Glamour in Glass', I was prepared for a more relationship/romance oriented story. That didn't stop me from being less than thrilled with the particular direction the story took - namely, Vincent acting a bit weird, and Jane fretting abou When I picked up the first book in this series, 'Shades of Milk and Honey', I knew it was a fantasy-romance, but I didn't know that the romance aspects would far trump the fantasy aspects. But, despite that, I still generally enjoyed the story. So, in going into 'Glamour in Glass', I was prepared for a more relationship/romance oriented story. That didn't stop me from being less than thrilled with the particular direction the story took - namely, Vincent acting a bit weird, and Jane fretting about his weirdness, but constantly making excuses, and then fretting, and rationalizing, and fretting... so on and so forth. This was doubly annoying since, to the outside observer, it was freaking obvious what was going on. It was also obvious, at least to this outside observer, about the other little secret/twist/thing that happened - i.e. (view spoiler)[Jane being pregnant (hide spoiler)] , and, also, I had a fair guess as to the outcome - i.e. (view spoiler)[the miscarriage. Actually, this is the second story I've read this month which had a miscarriage. It's sad. :( (Edit - the event is sad, I mean, not sad that two stories had it in it. Ugh - you know what I mean!) (hide spoiler)] On the other side of the equation, though, I did like the way the story expanded, a bit, into the wider world, and the way that glamour was used in a more meaningful way than just as art and decoration. It was also interesting to take the story out of England, and see the portrayal of, we'll say, more European sensibilities, where women were actually allowed to participate in the after dinner discussion with the men, and they were a bit freer with shows of affection and whatnot. It was kinda of interesting to see Jane's initial knee-jerk reaction against such things, rubbing against her sense of English propriety, but then her more rational acceptance about how, honestly, she appreciated the more open and honest interactions. But, anyway - a bit of politics and intrigue, and an exciting ending. It was nice to see Vincent's growing appreciate for his wife, coming to accept her as an equal and partner - not just in glamour, but in all things. (And now a random picture to go with the saccharine nature of that last paragraph... )

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Well this was an unexpected treat! I thoroughly enjoyed Shades of Milk And Honey but this book is altogether on another plane, than that fantastical Austen pastiche. This sequel is far more grounded than what came before and it tells three main stories, two full of wisdom & lived experience & one full of intrigue and derring do. The main story in this book is that of the founding of a marriage - two people trying to figure out how to become family to each other when they don't know each other we Well this was an unexpected treat! I thoroughly enjoyed Shades of Milk And Honey but this book is altogether on another plane, than that fantastical Austen pastiche. This sequel is far more grounded than what came before and it tells three main stories, two full of wisdom & lived experience & one full of intrigue and derring do. The main story in this book is that of the founding of a marriage - two people trying to figure out how to become family to each other when they don't know each other well & come from very different backgrounds. A secondary thread to this story is that of the young wife, who had been a wellbred, sheltered, country girl, moving into a wider world as a young matron and growing up. The second story is is that of magical research and development: in this world magic exists, but much like needlepoint, painting, dancing & piano playing it is considered a womanly art designed to bring grace and style to a home, but of no real importance. This is the story of how magic became important. And in the final third of the book there is huge intrigue and excitement as Napoleon escapes from exile & creates havoc (as was his wont). The three parts come together to create a wonderfully written and contemplative book. If any of this sparks your interest please do treat yourself to Glamour in Glass, you won't regret it. I'm not sure how necessary it is to read Shades of Milk and Honey first - certainly if you want to understand the magic system thoroughly you had better read that first, but I think you could probably go straight to this one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    First Second Books

    It’s difficult to resist a book with glass-blowing. Especially _magical_ glass-blowing. Also: danger, intrigue, and cross-dressing!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Feld

    One of the things I like about recent trends in historical romances is that marriage doesn't have to be the end of a heroine's story. I like watching a character develop in a new role, and I love the kinds of conflict that emerge in a loving, healthy, long-term relationship (both because they're fascinating in their own right, and because long-term relationships are such uncharted territory in media). Here, Jane and Vincent are both pretty independent, so they're not used to collaborating, and t One of the things I like about recent trends in historical romances is that marriage doesn't have to be the end of a heroine's story. I like watching a character develop in a new role, and I love the kinds of conflict that emerge in a loving, healthy, long-term relationship (both because they're fascinating in their own right, and because long-term relationships are such uncharted territory in media). Here, Jane and Vincent are both pretty independent, so they're not used to collaborating, and they have a hard time believing someone wonderful really loves them, so they're both apt to think the worst when the other does stuff alone. They're both also struggling with how much they appreciate or chafe at gender roles, both in terms of what they want for themselves and what they expect in a partner. Kowal also explores complicated feelings about pregnancy and parenthood; I feel like too often in stories, pregnancy is either an expected, joyous blessing (if the character is partnered) or a shocking disaster (if the character is single), and Kowal is sensitive to the fact that people rarely feel just one way about something so life-changing. And finally, I like watching the development of glamour as a science, and I'm curious to see how Kowal continues to develop it in later books. She's good at showing the trial-and-error, collaboration, and flashes of insight that intermingle over long periods before any real discovery happens. Because this is one of her earlier novels, Kowal's writing is still a little rough here compared to her later books, in my opinion, but it's still worth the read.

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