Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

I had a few minutes to myself at the library last week and saw this on the new book shelf.  Regency with a little bit of magic? Count me in.  It turns out that this is a sequel (and reading the title of the first book I believe I actually have the book in my house, got it as a prepub and never read it-now if only I could find it…), but it was perfectly fine to read this without having read the first.  It’s a bit of an alternate history, set during the Regency (with an appearance by dear naughty old Prinny.)  The unique angle to these books is that in this world people can manipulate folds and strands (??) from the ether and create magic.  I suspect all that was a bit more explained in the first book.  The image the descriptions created in my head were of people waving their hands around in the air and looking like they are tying invisible shoelaces. The shoelaces being strands of magic.  And if you are a talented glamourist you can create nearly any glamour (an image, moving or still, of something that is not really there.) So stop right there and just imagine all the decorations that exist! You have a dinner party and hire a glamourist to create moving pictures on your walls so that guests feel like they are under the sea. You spruce up your home with a glamour of wallpaper. And so on! Totally charming.  The main character is Jane, a quite talented glamourist, and her taciturn husband, Vincent, who is also very skilled and a bit famous, it seems.  I gather that the first book was all about them getting together and his drama. I found him a wee bit unlikable and cold and am curious to see if, when I read the first book, I can possibly understand what it is she sees in him. In this story a few big things happening–Jane is “increasing” and thus unable to work glamour at all (for reasons totally sketchy), they are in Belgium and there is a lot of concern about Napoleon trying to reclaim the throne and spies are at work, and Jane & Vincent are working madly on a secret project of tremendous importance–putting a glamour into a glass ball so that anyone could use it-and this particular glamour is for invisibility.  All three of these things make a bit of an adventure.  Jane is a smart and strong heroine and I especially enjoyed her coming to her husband’s rescue. A terrific blend of magic and history and now I must go see if I can unearth that first book!

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