Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal
(Glamourist Histories)

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I’m therefore driven to a view which is no doubt strongly influenced by my male gender. I found Without a Summer to be as dull as ditchwater. I’ve tried to find added value in the pastiche but, frankly, I now conclude this has been a red herring. At best, this is a third-rate fantasy novel.
-Thinking About Books

Synopsis

Up-and-coming fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal enchanted fans with her novels Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass, which introduced Regency glamourists Jane and David Vincent. In Without a Summer, Jane and Vincent take a break from their international travels. But in a world where magic is real, nothing—even the domestic sphere—is quite what it seems.

After a dramatic trip to Belgium, Jane and Vincent go to Long Parkmeade to spend time with Jane's family, but quickly turn restless. The spring is unseasonably cold, and no one wants to be outside. Mr. Ellsworth is concerned by the harvest, since a poor one may imperil Melody's dowry. And Melody has concerns of her own, given an inadequate selection of eligible bachelors locally.


When Jane and Vincent receive a commission from a prominent London family, they take it, and bring Melody with them. They hope the change of scenery will do her good and her marriage prospects—and mood—will be brighter in London. Talk here frequently turns to increased unemployment of coldmongers and riots in nearby villages by Luddites concerned that their way of life is becoming untenable. With each passing day, it's more difficult to avoid getting embroiled in the intrigue, which does not really help Melody's chances for romance. It doesn't take long for Jane to Vincent realize that in addition to arranging a wedding, they must take on one small task: solving a crisis of national proportions.

 

About Mary Robinette Kowal

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MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL was the 2008 recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo winner for her story "For Want of a Nail." Mary serves on the board of directors of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. A professional puppeteer and voice actor, she spent five years touring nationally with puppet theaters. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and nine manual typewriters.
 
Published April 2, 2013 by Tor Books. 321 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Thinking About Books

Below average
Reviewed by David Marshall on Jun 27 2013

I’m therefore driven to a view which is no doubt strongly influenced by my male gender. I found Without a Summer to be as dull as ditchwater. I’ve tried to find added value in the pastiche but, frankly, I now conclude this has been a red herring. At best, this is a third-rate fantasy novel.

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