Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

The fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had written

Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.

Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

From Kowal’s blog:

Book designers often go unrecognized, with attention focused on original art and yet they are the ones that control so much of the look and feel of the book. I think Mr. Rohrbach nailed the elevator pitch of the novel, which is “Jane Austen with magic,” and provided an arresting cover that will stand out in the fantasy section.

I can’t wait to have a copy in my hot little hands.

Not exactly a novel that would jump out at me, or fall in my wheelhouse of comfortable reading, but given all the glowing attention I’ve seen towards Ms. Kowal it’s certainly on my radar now. Some of her short fiction is already loaded on my eReader, to dip my toes into her work. The cover itself is a nice nod to classic Austen/Brontë look, but with the stars adding just enough to hint towards the fantastic, and lovely typography. With the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Kowal’s first novel could be hitting the market at just the right time.

Also of note, Kowal herself will be narrating the audio book of Shades of Milk and Honey, a rare occurrence in the publishing industry!

Shades of Milk and Honey will be released on August 3rd, 2010.

  • The Evil Hat/Nat May 19, 2010 at 4:01 am

    This generally isn’t the kind of book I’d hunt down, but her excellent appearances on Writing Excuses got me excited enough to check this out.

  • Joe Sherry May 19, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Give it a shot. I’ve never really enjoyed Jane Austen (and I’ve read all of her books to prove it, English major that I was), but I really enjoyed Shades of Milk and Honey. It is definitely a novel of manners, but smooth reading. Quite lovely.

  • aidan May 19, 2010 at 5:35 am

    @Joe – That’s what I was hoping to hear, from someone who’s read it. I skimmed through the ARC, and it certainly seems like it’ll be a fun, breezy read.