WITHOUT A SUMMER
The third in Kowal’s stellar fantasy series, Without a Summer is, without a doubt, the best yet of the Glamourist Histories. Setting her tale in the notoriously cold summer of 1816, Kowal imaginatively blends historical fact with her own elaborate metaphysics of “glamour.” Add to that a well-developed hero and heroine who have become more flawed and yet more likable; the welcome reappearance of the charming Melody; and an emotionally involving story that culminates in a genuinely thrilling climax. With each entry, Kowal’s worldbuilding has only gotten more confident and the series better and better.
After their last harrowing adventure, Jane and Vincent are enjoying an extended visit at Jane’s family home, Long Parkmeade. But they quickly grow restless, aching to return to their art and to a new home in London. Concerned that her sister, Melody, is despondent about her lack of marriage prospects, Jane invites Melody to accompany them to the city, where the social whirl of the season is bound to cheer her. But when Melody shows signs of falling for the son of Jane and Vincent’s new clients, Jane frets about the young man’s intentions. Does he really have feelings for Melody, or does he have more sinister aims? And as an unusually cold summer sweeps in, Vincent’s distant and cruel father suddenly takes a peculiar interest in their affairs. (TOR, Apr., 368 pp., $24.99)