Gentle reader, do you harbor a fond regard for Jane Austen? Is there a quiet little corner of your mind that remembers your literature classes fondly? Can you be found watching just about every costume drama that hits the movie theater or television screen? (The occasional water bottle forgotten on set just gives me a good chuckle!). If so, you might enjoy the following series.
I just caught up on Glamourist Histories series by Mary Robinette Kowal. I had ignored the books when they first came out and ended up reading the third book first. I liked it so well I dropped my other reading to go back and catch up on the series.
The first book, Shades of Milk and Honey, introduces Jane, the plain elder daughter of a respectable gentleman. In this world the real reason ladies of good families swoon so very often isn't the too tight corseting, but the strain of casting glamour. Part of a respectable girl's education includes not just the arts a young lady would have learned in the real world but also learning to cast glamour, entertaining her would be suitors and providing a decorative grace, with her illusions, to her family's home.
Jane has a lovely younger sister and, being of a certain age, has become resigned to her fate as a spinster sister. As Jane has always been plain, she has thrown herself into her lessons and is a talented illusionist after years of study and practice with glamour. A nearby family hires a gifted artist, mysterious Mr. Vincent, to decorate their manor home with glamours. The expected misunderstandings occur!
I'm really looking forward to the final book, Of Noble Family, late next spring and will definitely read any other series this author writes. I heard her reading from an upcoming new series this summer and it was intriguing!