Without a Summer: Glamourist Histories
Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor, 2013 (2013)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ithout a Summer
is the third (following
Shades of Milk and Honey
Glamour in Glass
) in Mary Robinette Kowal's charming
that insert magic into an Austen-era England. In this world, the magical art of illusion is valued just as much as good looks, or artistic or musical ability.
he first episode brought together plain but skilled Jane Ellsworth and brooding David Vincent, whose talent as an illusionist is
. They worked well together and ended up sealing their partnership in marriage. The second episode took them to Belgium where they aided the war effort at great personal risk.
Without a Summer
opens, Jane is home in Long Parkmead, where her lovely sister Melody is depressed and lonely. Jane invites Melody to return with them to London for the Season. There, Lord and Lady Vincent have a commission from the Baron of Stratton to work on his ballroom.
here is trouble in the country, with Luddite riots and (false) rumors that
are causing the unseasonably cold weather. As the Vincents begin working on their commission, Melody gets close to the Strattons' son Alastar, which worries Jane as he is an Irish Catholic and she believes their union to be impossible.
s all this develops, Vincent's estranged father, the Earl of Verbury, shows up in town and meetings ensue. The Earl claims to want a reconciliation, but is controlling and manipulative. When his plot comes to fruition, Jane and her husband end up in very serious trouble, suspected of participation in a coldmongers' revolt.
ithout a Summer
is an intriguing episode in an appealing series. Don't miss
A Note on History
at the back of the book, that goes into the cause of the cold weather the summer of 1816, as well as the Luddite movement, both part of this story's background. And fans can look forward to more
action in the fourth book,
Valour and Vanity
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