Thursday, June 28, 2012

Glamour in Glass

After the defeat of Napoleon, when travel from England to the Continent once again becomes conceivable, professional glamourists (and newlyweds) David and Jane Vincent decide to visit Belgium, where a colleague of Vincent's has developed an interesting new technique of the decorative illusion. Jane is pleased for the chance to practice her extremely rusty French, and for an excuse to get away from her mother's urging to present her with a grandchild at the earliest opportunity. But not everyone they meet agrees that Bonaparte was rightly exiled; and why is Vincent locking up his letters?

This is a better book than the first one (and I loved the first one).  Even though Mary Robinette Kowal explains in an author's note how careful she was not to use words that Jane Austen wouldn't have known, the tone of this novel is less like Austen and more, I guess, like Kowal. Still a fantasy of manners, but now when Jane Vincent has a pressing reason to do something that would have horrified Jane Bennet it fits the story and the characters instead of seeming like a jarring departure.

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