Shades of Milk and Honey (2010): Mary Robinette Kowal


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman, of modest birth and even more modest fortune, must be in possession of numerous accomplishments if she hopes to find a husband. The two Ellsworth sisters of Long Parkmead have certainly done their best in this respect, having studied the gentle arts of music, painting and glamour. Their hopes rest on Melody, the younger, whose prettiness and vibrant spirits are expected to attract a fine match. Jane, the elder daughter, is plainer and quieter, but far more gifted than her little sister in the use of glamour. When their simple lives are disrupted by the arrival in the neighbourhood of a dashing captain and a brooding glamourist, the scene is set for a delicious comedy of manners – with just a little extra magic. This elegant Regency romp certainly wasn’t the kind of book I’d expected from Mary Robinette Kowal, since I’d only read her Lady Astronaut of Mars before this, but I was immediately charmed by a novel that embraces so much of Austen’s spirit with such success and affection. Imagine it as Georgette Heyer with a side of light sorcery.

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Short Stories from


One of the things I most enjoy about, a website focusing on science-fiction and fantasy publishing, is their original fiction. Recently I’ve been pleased to see that some of their short stories have been published as ebooks, complete with gorgeous covers that are designed for each one. At around 30 pages per story, these make wonderful amuse-bouches between more lengthy reads and are usually less than £1 a piece on Amazon. And, if you’d rather read them for free, you can always seek them out on itself. As the stories aren’t long enough to warrant individual posts, I thought I’d collect my thoughts together five at a time.

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