Valour and Vanity
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Edited by Liz Gorinsky
Review by Gayle Surrette
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765334169
Date: 29 April 2014 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Jane and Vincent are touring Europe with Melody and her new husband, Alastair O'Brien. Jane and Melody's mother is stressing all parties on this trip, in spite of their father trying to keep her calm. Luckily, Jane and Vincent are going their separate way to hopefully perfect their glamour in glass. They'll be staying with Lord Byron in Venice while they work.
But, there's the plan, and then what actually happens. First there are pirates, and then problems with their accommodations, baggage, and the glassmakers they hoped to work with. However, they found a chance acquaintance willing to help them out. But nothing is as it seems and Jane and Vincent find themselves in dire straits trying to regain their dignity and status with only their wits and innate talents.
This is a very different story as Jane and Vincent are adrift with no support -- they don't know who to trust or understand what's happening to them. They must rely on each other and, though they have been in difficult circumstances in the previous books, this time they must concentrate on communicating with each other and not taking anything for granted. The characters grow throughout this experience and readers will enjoy their adventure and the serendipitous twists and turns that take them where they need to be with the skills they most need when they need them.
The history and society of the time plays a continuing role that helps ground the plot, but also resonates with today's society. These are interesting characters that I enjoy spending time with and suggest you check out Valour and Vanity. If you haven't read the previous book, you could start here but you'll then want to go back and read them in order.