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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

Magic tinged history

Without a Summer (Glamourist Histories) - Mary Robinette Kowal

This third entry in The Glamourist Histories series enchants just as much as the first two with a magic tinged blend of real and alternate Regency history.  Newly married Jane and Vincent are back home after a honeymoon on the Continent that coincided with Napoleon’s escape from Elba.  They have a London commission to create a glamural, or mural produced with magic, and have brought Jane’s beautiful but lonely sister Melody with them so she can enjoy the Season and meet eligible young men.


Though the wars with Napoleon are over, roiling protests and unsettled weather mean all is not peaceful on the homefront.  Luddites who have lost weaving jobs to looms are demonstrating in the streets (actual history) and so are the young boys who work as cold mongers (alternate history). These cold mongers practice a rudimentary magic that can chill food and whatever else the monied classes desire, but it’s 1816--widely known as the year without a summer--so not only  are their services not needed, the cold mongers are being accused of ruining crops by somehow causing the snowfalls that are continuing into spring and summer.


Jane knows that kind of thinking is just superstition and prejudice, but when her sister Melody is attracted to an Irish Catholic man she finds she is not immune to the same kind of shoddy reasoning. Melody has matured since the first book and has a large role in this one, and we finally get to meet Vincent’s family, who are even more toxic and dangerous than we’ve been led to believe. A fourth book with another beautiful cover is being released in April 2014.



Source: http://jaylia3.booklikes.com/post/739115/magic-tinged-history