On the Cover: 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.
Other Books in this series:
I was really apprehensive when I picked up Glamour in Glass. I really liked the first novel, and I had fond memories of the glamour present throughout the story. The first book follows the storyline of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice up to the conclusion of Austen’s novel – and as the second novel went beyond the outline of the first, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Glamour in Glass.
I ended up really enjoying where the story took me. Jane and her husband travel abroad to learn more about the glamour craft. It is this dedication to glamour that made me love the story. Jane and Vincent are wonderful in their interactions together and their drive to better understand how to work and manipulate the glamour to create beautiful things. Vincent is a wonderful artist on the page, and Jane is like a scientist, driven by her pursuit to push the craft of glamour beyond all known boundaries. I love these two together and their dedication to their art.
Perhaps what interested me the most in this story is that the two characters come up against an obstacle that they cannot fight: Jane becomes pregnant. I was incredibly intrigued by this turn of events, as this is not a subject I’m used to reading about in classically set novels. Women were typically hidden away during their pregnancies and it’s certainly not a subject dwelled upon. Yet I absolutely loved its presence in the story. Not only is Jane faced with the difficulties of the time period while pregnant, but she also faced the issues of how pregnancy affects glamour. I’ve never read a book that questions how magic is affected by a pregnancy and I greatly enjoyed the exploration into the subject. Jane has some great character development that comes from her pregnancy and it made me adore her character even more.
There are some really great things that happen in Glamour in Glass in terms of glamour, art, and the scientific study of the ether. While the ending gets away from itself and turns a bit silly, the overall story is very solid. Kowal does a great job at expanding her story beyond the constraints of Pride and Prejudice and making this into her own world that resonates with beauty. This is a series that I’m very much enjoying, and would recommend to anyone who likes historical novels touched with fantasy.
Rating: 4 / 5