Title: Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career
Author: Carla Kelly
Published: 1992, Signet
Category: Regency Romance
I love this old cover, don't you? Classic!
Ellen Grimsley wants nothing more than to escape her ridiculous family and go away to school at Oxford. Of course, education was limited for women back then, and once she gets to Miss Dignam's Select Female Academy, she is disappointed to learn that the most strenous courses she'll be taking are embroidery and French. She would rather study geography and Shakespeare. So when her non-scholarly brother asks her to help him out by writing his paper on A Midsummer Night's Dream, she jumps at the chance. Soon James Gatewood, Lord Chesney, is taking an interest in her--both for her enthusiastic scholarship and her charming self. :)
This was lovely too! I heart Carla Kelly. My only problem with this book is that once Ellen admits to herself that she's in love with James Gatewood, I didn't really understand her reluctance to accept his proposal. It bordered on the dreaded Forced Conflict. But, still lovely. Women are so lucky these days to be able to do pretty much whatever they want. This book makes me appreciate that.
And, while this book does make a strong case for female education, it doesn't sacrifice historical accuracy to make Ellen an anachronism. She ends up settling for less than she wants at the end because she was ahead of her time. She is satisfied with her own scholarship and her husband's esteem, and acknowledges that she won't be accepted amongst the men of Oxford. I think this is very admirable.