Think of the Bennett family of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; the Grimsley family of this book could be first cousins. Only children Ellen and Ralph Grimsley have any sense; the rest of the family members are empty-headed and silly. As the story opens, Ellen's elder sister Honoria is preparing to marry the unintelligent son of a pompous baronet.
Older brother, Gordon is drinking and gambling his time away in college. Ellen is horrified that he does not appreciate his opportunity to study at Oxford. What Gordon wants to do is buy a commission in the army; he is doing poorly in school.
Ellen has been slated to marry a local farmer who happens to have a couple of pieces of farmland that Squire Grimsley covets. Although Thomas Cornwell shares no interest in books with Ellen (or anything else), her father has traded her for the land he wants.
Fortunately for Ellen, her aunt gets involved and Ellen gets a term at Oxford. This is before women were allowed to study in British universities. Near Oxford, Ellen meets a rumpled scholar named James Gatewood.
She is sent to a finishing type school near Oxford. There she doesn't study Shakespeare and geometry; it is a smattering of French and needlework that occupy Ellen's time. Ellen is so disappointed! Relief comes from a strange place her brother Gordon. He's so lost that he's been paying other students to write his papers. He's out of money and begs Ellen to write his next paper.
After much wheedling and begging, Ellen writes a masterful essay on Shakespeare. First year students are required to offer public readings on Saturdays. After reading the paper, Gordon earns many accolades. Now he's been told to write another ... and another.
Ellen soon becomes angry that Gordon receives the recognition due her. A famous Lord Chesney hears the papers and collects each of them, leaving Ellen with no record of her work. She is not doing well at the finishing school because of her outspokenness. After Ellen is caught in an indiscretion at the ladies' school, Squire Grimsley collects Ellen and takes her home.
At first, this seems to be a light-hearted look at British life in the early 1800's. However, the author seems to be studying the difference between a youngster's dreams of what could be and making life choices related to what is possible.
This is a typical 'Carla Kelly' book. It is light and easy to read. There is no detailed sex scenes. There was just a girl meets boy/boy meets girl story. The only kink in the script was the girl turned the boy down when he declared his love and proposed. And, turned him down and turned him down until it became tiresome. This is not a 'spoiler'...you will find out soon enough. I'll save the 'happily ever after' and how it came about to you when you read it.
Beautiful and brilliant Miss Ellen Grimsley considered it a scandal and a shame that she as a female could not attend Oxford, while a dashing dunderhead like her older brother Gordon could. On the other hand, society would reel in a scandalized shock at the idea of Ellen donning Gordons student robes to do his work. But an even greater scandal loomed when a handsome lord in humble scholars disguise learned Ellens secret and set out to give her a most advanced lesson in love.
susa reviewed Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career (Signet Regency Romance) on
THE Story was ordinary. However, it was written in a humorous way and it compels you to read the book up to the end. The book was well written that would interest you and read more of her books. The only 1% negative comments: NO Epilogue. I loved to read a good endings.
Books I've read with this author:
Libby's London Merchant and Miss Chartley's Guided Tour
Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career
... and the rest of her books were all under my Wish List.
This author has a way of writing ordinary stories to a good one with a touch of comedy and easy to read.