I reviewed this book a couple of years back for Books & Benches, but recently reread it (again) and wanted to update the review to share here. Many Carla Kelly books are on my favorites list, and though this book has been around for a while, it's as delightful now as the first time I read it.
The book is well-written, the characters are wonderful, the setting is perfect, and there's enough folly throughout to make the story feel real.
Ellen has gumption. She's surrounded by inept family members, but she's not blind to their faults and somehow loves them anyway. Ellen is also determined to fulfill her dreams, even if it means going against the odds and breaking societal norms. Her days in the ladies' "academy" are humorous at times and sweet at others. Her brother Gordon, oh what to say about him . . . you really must read it to understand that there are moments when Ellen should be applauded for her patience. Of course, she has her own motives—remember her dream?
James Gatewood is an odd sort of fellow, but I couldn't help but adore him. Perhaps it was his matter-of-fact ways, or the slow understanding the reader gains about his love for Ellen. It's not a bolt of lightning (one of the things I enjoy about this author's Regencies), and we don't have any graphic scenes to help the reader along (trust me, you won't miss them). He's persistent, intelligent, kind, and incredibly generous. As in true romance fashion, he is handsome but in a careless and charming way. The book's last chapters may seem odd to some readers, but considering the characters' oddities, it shouldn't come as a surprise. Kelly stays true to her characters, and that's one of the things that makes her Regencies such great reads.
Do you enjoy Shakespeare? They do! (I don't!) Carla Kelly did everything right in this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a great read.
About the Book
Beautiful and brilliant Miss Ellen Grimsley considers it a scandal that she—a female—cannot attend Oxford while her dunderhead brother can. That's why she dons his robes to do his work for him. But when a handsome lord learns Ellen's secret, he decides to teach her a lesson of his own. This delightful period romance will earn high marks from readers everywhere!
The Reading Room is where I share books, because authors are readers, too. I don't rate books on my blog, but I do like to share books I've read and enjoyed (My mom recommends a few, too.). My tastes are eclectic, so expect to see everything from sweet, wholesome romance to edge-of-your-seat, sexy thrillers, and more in between.