I finished this light Regency fantasy with mixed feelings. It read like a young adult novel, which I didn’t expect, and I grew weary at times with the petty sisterly jealousies and bickering, or frustrated by the simple plot. About a third of the way through, I realized the novel was exactly as advertised, a Austen-esque comedy of manners, and I stopped expecting more frequent action or plot twists. I allowed the author to draw me in with the intricacies of her characters' conversations and subtle emotions as she painted a picture of the constraints of the time, which kept people from truly understanding one another as they honored the social conventions. By the end I was well satisfied with the results, although I might have wished for a romance more deeply drawn or for a less hasty resolution to difficulties.
The novel’s greatest strength is how the author integrates a form of magic known as glamour into the Regency setting. Considered an essential domestic art, glamour allows practitioners to create illusions of light, scent and sound, used to entertain guests or bring comfort and cheer to a home. Jane, the novel’s protagonist, is unusually skilled at weaving glamour, but her plain face has relegated her to life as a wallflower. Her beautiful sister, Melody, gets all the attention and suitors. Glamour – as an art form and as a means of “dressing up” one’s ordinary life – fit well with the period’s artifice and strict societal rules. Jane begins to learn it can also be an acceptable outlet for passions she is not able to express otherwise.
I appreciated the author's narration, which I think allowed me to catch subtleties in conversations I might otherwise have missed.
Probably not, but only because I'm not the biggest Jane Austen fan. It was enjoyable the once and that's enough for me.
Mr. Vincent, but we're supposed to fall for him aren't we?
I always prefer hearing an author read their own work and when they're a professional narrator already it's even better.
Bee and Cow By-Product in Varying Colors
It's exactly what it says it is. A Jane Austen novel with a magic. Is that good? Yes and no. It does follow the Jane Austen formula closely until some more 'action' scenes until the end and that can cause it to become predictable to some readers but I also assume that's what many people will want from an Austen homage. In the end, I enjoyed it and look forward to the books in this series that stray from the Austen plot line. It was fun once, but I think some swashbuckling would be nice now.
A combination of Jane Austen favorite moments wound into a likable story done very well in the regency style.
jane, beth mr dunkurk and mr vincent. because they where likeable and very well developed.
an author knows how a book should be read and heard. her soft accent is fine.
I love Jane she is so uncomfortable with herself but preservers.
I will continue to listen to the series. It provides a suitable distraction!
While I enjoy reading Jane Austen's novels, I always miss the fantasy elements from my other favorite novels. This story has the fantasy elements that I always wanted in Pride and Prejudice. The story is sweet and engaging. Mary Robinette Kowal does an amazing job narrating her own story. I can't wait to listen to the next one!
I've not read the print version, but the audio performance by Kowal is magnificent.
When Jane and Mr. Vincent sort out their misunderstandings and start to find common ground.
I'd have gladly done so, if my schedule permitted.
I enjoyed this book more then I thought I would. Mary Robinette Kowal seamlessly sews together her knowledge and love of puppetry with her admiration for all things Austen in this charming story of family, romance, propriety and art with a little magic too. heartwarming and witty.
Optical Engineer from San Jose, CA.
I would recommend this audiobook to a friend because it is an excellent, well-researched recreation of literature for the time period with a strong fantastical twist. I very much enjoyed the story, the characters, and the twists and turns.
I don't think there is really much it can be compared to. It has a similar plot to any Jane Austen story, but has a fantastical element thrown in, making the world much more interesting.
There wasn't any particularly moving scene: the book is mostly fluff, but entertaining fluff nonetheless.
As a Jane Austen fan, and a fan of fantasy writing, I was duped into buying this book not once, but twice.
What I liked:
*Kowal's character's are exact copies of various players in Austen's works. If you're familiar with the stories, you can pick them out as you go, which is fun. Seems like a complete cop-out by the author, but alas, that was the most enjoyable part of the book for me.
*The descriptions of the setting and magics involved were vivid and complete.
What I didn't like:
*Character motivations seemed cloudy and counterintuitive.
*Plot was stale. Just a jumbled-up rip off of several Austen novels with some magic thrown in. You can trace entire scenes back to a Jane Austen novel.
*The narration was done in a terrible fake english accent which changed and dropped throughout the book.
If you liked the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies type books, or just need an Austen fix, this might be for you, but I'd borrow the book.
Say something about yourself!
I love anything with a Jane Austin twist and anything magic. This was made right for me! Since it was an Austin type you know the basic story, love, unrequited love, lost and found love. An attractive sister who is selfish and has a bubbly personality. A less attractive sister with the wisdom and talent. In an Austin novel, we love them both and both gets a guy. There is rain, horses and of course someone will need a doctor. There is always one of those chaperone dances, a female who made an unfortunate choice and a cad who makes choices for the love of money. Of course Bath, the city where everyone goes for restorative purposes. The author does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the time and flavor of a Jane Austin novel.
If my sister pissed me off as mush as the sisters in a Jane Austin novel. There would not be any makeup once we break up.