Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In a setting that pays homage to Jane Austen, young women of quality weave glamour, the delicate powers of illusion. This is the gift of the plain narrator, her only hope at finding a husband ... though she often finds herself in the shadow of her beautiful sister Melody. This is a beautiful book, deliberately written and both intricate and sparse. The lean prose carries the atmosphere perfectly, while leaving enough room for the reader to picture even those things not described. For instance, there's never any indication what Mr. Dunkirk, the love interest, even looks like. (I thought this was a particularly odd omission, but let that pass.)
The plot is strong and well paced, though I felt some of the antagonist's actions came unraveled near the end, and a few ends were left loose - such as the fate of Beth - that I would have rather seen tied up. Sometimes, the plot twists were predictable because of the faithfulness to the specific style of story, but to be honest, I'm not sure whether that detracts or adds to the appeal. Overall, it's a delightful read.
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