by Mary Robinette Kowal
Amazon / Goodreads
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.
Review:After reading Shades of Milk and Honey, and being so enamored of the world and the romance the author created, I was eager to dive into this second book. And it continues the story from the first, but in tone and plot, it's a very different kind of story and series. Where Shades of Milk and Honey is a wonderfully told romance and character piece, Glamour in Glass is more of an adventure, with intrigue and a war looming. I loved the change in tone, and seeing the protagonists - Jane and Vincent - as heroes who can use magic to defeat their enemies. It's such an interesting change to the dynamic of the series, but it totally works for me because Jane and Vincent are still these wonderful people I enjoy getting to know.
I will say though, that with the first book, I just adored Jane's good sense and practical nature, but in this, there were times when Jane veered a little from that side of her. It's a little disappointing, but it did seem necessary to move the story along. However, Jane is still a strong character, and I love that she feels like a realistic feminist character for the time. She embraces the role society places on her, but she always does what needs to be done, no matter her restraints.
When it comes to characters though, Vincent was the subtle stand out. The reader only sees him through Jane's eyes, and in the second book we get to know him better, just as Jane has gotten to know him. He really didn't figure prominently in the first book, but here we delve more into his character. And I absolutely love him. He's reticent, socially awkward, but he has manners when he needs to use them, an enthusiasm for his work which is catching, and for me, a compelling brooding quality which I love to see in all my favorite male characters. And the way Jane and Vincent act together as a married couple is sooo romantic. It makes my sappy romantic heart soar.
This book encompasses a little revised history, intrigue, danger, and a very suspenseful conclusion, along with these wonderful characters. This is now becoming a favorite series of mine. I still haven't finished the series, but with the romance and suspense, and the setting of Regency Europe, I'm utterly bewitched by this series!