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Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,822 ratings  ·  273 reviews
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 decide ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Sweetwater Books (first published March 3rd 1992)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  1,822 ratings  ·  273 reviews

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Mary - Buried Under Romance
A great book will inspire one to greatness.

While I would not go as far as to call this book a feat of literature, it has definitely inspired some action in me that would have otherwise come to pass. This is an interesting regency, and Mrs. Kelly undertook great risks in crafting the latter half of the book to have a dragged-out marriage proposal and continued refusal by the heroine. At first, I could not understand why a nice comedy has suddenly taken a turn to melodrama, but upon a second read
Jacob Proffitt
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chaste, romance, lds
Ignore the cover copy, this isn't at all one of those female disguised as male stories. Oh, she dons a scholar's robe occasionally to get in and out of places, but she never "takes her brother's place". And James isn't in disguise nor does he blow her cover. Seriously, who writes these things?

It's the characters that stand out in this novel. Ellen and James are charming and just a whole lot of fun to spend time with. They have true wit and their discussions are fascinating, both with each other
Carla Kelly. Traditional Regency.

Are there four more reliable words in the English language?

No. No there are not.

Every single time in the traditional Regency genre, she delivers something heartwarming, romantic, funny, cute, beautiful, interesting, light and characterful. She’s an absolute legend. I believe if she were a plucky Brit we would call her a National Treasure, but she isn’t. Perhaps she’s a Romance Treasure instead.

This was all of the things one expects. Ellen, a bluestocking heroin
Delightful characters in a little fantastical plot

James is every girl’s dream. A scholar, a peer, a messy looking, good hearted friend. Ellen is smart, innocent and very stubborn (a little too much). She dreams about traveling the world drawing maps, but sees her dreams shattered by the reality of being a woman of her time. She ends up in a girl’s school in Oxford learning embroidery while her brother despises every minute of his period at Oxford University. He asks for her help with an essay an
I really liked this one. I could tell early on that it would be a keeper and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. I loved that the setting was so unique from all the other regencies I’ve read. I really liked our heroine Ellen. She is intelligent and kind. I liked how she is able to manage her silly family, and I do wish they would have appreciated her a little more. I liked her desire to learn more and her love of learning. She was obviously smart, but she was quite naïve when it came to love ...more
Katie W
I was completely enchanted by this novel!! I love the way Ms. Kelly words her stories. The characters come to life and jump off the pages. I could envision Ellen, with her slightly snooty attitude, verbally attacking Jim...and her dunderhead brother, Gordon. I could picture Jim, with his slightly messy appearance and love of bantering. Even Gordon was a vivid picture in my mind. I wanted to slap him silly for being such an awful brother, only intent upon squeaky by no matter what the cost. Bette ...more
Dec 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those romances where the heroine turns down the hero and he keeps chasing her .

Before he dated me, my husband had a very warm relationship with a young woman but when he asked her out she said no, so he respected her wishes and left her alone. Years later she told him that her mother had taught her to turn down a man the first time he asks, and that she had really wanted to go out with him! As I reflect on our 16 years of marriage and the wonderful man he is, I think of her and la
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, regency, kindle
I enjoyed this humorous look at education in Regency England and the deeper themes that the author deftly brings to light in the midst of well-rounded characters and an entertaining story.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The hero, Jim, was a Shakespeare scholar who needed
to dress neater and to comb his hair. And to organize
his messy library. He ended up being a marquess-natch.
Heroine, Ellen, had a squire sire. Ellen ruminated that
the other young ladies had symmetry and she had to
made do with petite. Both had drama-prone families.
The heroine's roommate at school, Fanny, provided the
mean girl role.

Ellen wrote 3 papers for her brother, Gordon, new to
Oxford U. Professors thought him a future Shakespeare
Miranda Davis
I'm guessing this Oxford story was an earlier novel of hers because the language too often veers to contemporary and the heroine's endless, angst-y internal conflict about marriage versus self-realization was truer to the 1970's than 1800's. The hero is a conflicted marquess who longs for the life of the mind but must do his duty after one last term at Oxford. He's a highly-regarded All Souls fellow known for his Shakespearean scholarship. She's a bright, well-read, academically-aspiring young w ...more
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian-era
4.5 stars

I have been reading a lot of modern regency romances where the girl dresses as a man. It is a very popular plot which provides convenient distraction for weak characters and story by authors. It is often very unrealistic and done in a tasteless manner...usually to bring lustful thoughts to the so called hero's small mind when he pays attention to the heroine's buttocks and how shapely they are in a trouser as his mouth waters!

This is how it is suppose to be done to keep it believable f
Sep 02, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Res by: geekturnedvamp
Shelves: romance
The Regency romance where Ellen, who longs to be a scholar, is pressed into duty dressing up as a boy so she can attend her muttonheaded brother's Oxford classes and write his papers for him.

That's a really promising premise, right? Very cute, lots of possibilities. But there are so many implausibilities, large and small, that the book just never really gained my trust.

Most of my problems boiled down to people being too contemporary -- in slang, in attitudes to sex and gender and public demonst
I liked the beginning. It was fun and light and a pleasure to read. But as I kept going, I found myself liking the book less.

The heroine cried far too much and ended up annoying me. I very, very rarely cry, so I guess I just don't have the patience for heroines that do cry a lot. The book was also completely from her perspective, when I really would have liked to see some from the hero's point of view.

By about halfway through, the heroine was trying to determine a woman's place in Regency life,
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author brought up the never ending issue of women education through the eyes of Ellen, a young woman whose intelligence and eagerness to learn was way ahead of her time.
At Oxford, she met James whom she thought was a poor student and she got the chance to live her dream by helping her brother wrote his assignments. She envied men for their freedom to study and somewhat resented the fact was some men, including her brother, took it for granted. Not helping the matter, most women around her th
Lisa Brown
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ellen feels trapped. She knows her duty is to marry a suitable man and live out a life similar to her mother's, but she wants to study so badly, and is terribly jealous of her brother, Gordon, who has been "forced" to go to Oxford. With the help of her aunt, she gets permission to go and study at a school for ladies in Oxford, but needlepoint and French aren't quite what she had in mind. And so when her brother begs her to write a paper for him on a Shakespeare play, she agrees - even dresses as ...more
Although it is without the serious undercurrent which Carla Kelly often includes in her books, Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career is an enjoyable, light Regency romance. Ellen Grimsley loves learning and chafes under society's idea that women don't need an education. When a chance comes for her to study at a school for ladies in Oxford, she jumps at the chance. While there, she meets and interesting but somewhat shabby-looking young man, James Gatewood. The reader knows Jim is also a Marquis, but he ...more
Erica Anderson
I was feeling like I wanted a bit of a comfort read, so pulled out an old Carla Kelly. Honestly, I have never read a Regency set amongst scholars at Oxford, so that alone makes this a stand-out book. Our bookish heroine writes essays for her brother and finds her true love in a fellow at All Souls College.

There is a good bit of commentary in Miss Grimsley on a woman's right to education and part of the attraction of the hero is his sympathy for this point of view. While this isn't Carla Kelly's
ρυηүα [Punya Reviews...]
3 stars but barely made it. This one definitely won't go down as one of my favorites. TBH, I was bored for the most part but it was mainly because I didn't care for our "beautiful and brilliant" heroine. To me, she was every bit silly and clueless as her dumb family. I don't even know what James saw in her, apart from her affinity towards the Bard's work (and her beauty?). She may have wrote some good papers on the Bard but I was bored through and through with her real self.

On the contrary, I LO
Carla Kelly can write some of the most charming characters I have read.

Ellen is part of a family which has so many situations going on it was hard to keep track. A sister is getting married, a brother is going to Oxford another brother has been left at home to be sent to become a man of business. Ellen wants to get a “real” education. When she is sent to a girl’s school, she finds that is not anywhere near what she hoped.

On the trip to her school, she accidentally meets James. James is an Oxford
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Oh, this was such a fun story! 4 1/2 stars!

Back in the day, early 19th century, a well-rounded education for girls was not considered important. Our eager and determined heroine, Ellen, has a tiny window of educational possibility open to her, thanks to a conniving aunt. (And the way that comes about is clever and fun!)

So off Ellen goes, excited by her wildest academic dreams to learn the wonders of the world! But hold on a minute…by “Oxford” education, it doesn’t exactly mean actual Oxford Uni
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a joyful treasure. I could surely relate to Ellen's desire to do more than stay in her own home town and marry the dunce down the street. Her escapades are laughable as she enrolls in Miss Dingnam's Select Female Academy in Oxford in the mistaken belief that she can further develop her studies there. She only succeeds in tangling her embroidery thread and getting in trouble for writing her brother Gordon's papers, who is a student at the all male college there. (How she resents the ...more
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh this was such a cute story. I really liked how well matched they were for each other and I liked the fact that she wasn't some "dumb blonde"(no offence to blondes of course). I think I would recommend this one to anyone who likes a sweet regency. My only real hang up is the end. I did not like how her Brother Gordon got involved to get them together. I also *spoiler alert* did not like the fact that she proprosed to him! I mean for Heaven's sake he spent how many pages proposing to her every ...more
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad these older, traditional regencies are coming out in e-book since I missed them when they were first published. I really enjoyed this story. Both Jim and Ellen were fully developed characters and the secondary characters were fun. The descriptions of Oxford made me feel as if I was there. I look forward to reading more of her earlier regencies. ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the characters in this book. James Gatewood, Lord Chesney is great, being so down to earth and all. Very romantic hero. And Ellen with her crazy thinking that women should be educated was entertaining. I enjoyed the story.
I love all things Carla Kelly writes. However, this book felt a little on the YA side to me and spent A LOT of time back and forth-ing will she or won't she. So even though the writing is amazing and I really liked the characters, I just kinda skimmed my way to the end. ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a little bit of a slow starter, but after that, it was hard to put down. I really enjoyed it. I loved Jim.
Kami Reeve
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fun, clean Carla Kelly period novel. Makes me feel grateful for my college education.
What a delightful surprise this book was! I was expecting an average regency romance and I ended up with a very humorous one with a nod to Pride and Prejudice, and a strong theme about a woman coming to terms with the limited options available to her at that time. There is plenty of Shakespeare too!

Ellen Grimsley is the sensible, intellectual, problem-solving daughter of a country squire who has a passion for Shakespeare and dreams of attending school to learn geography and cartography and such.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
On occasion, when I found myself being overwhelmed by the common trends of overly steamy, overly ton-focused Regency romances, I have sought out an alternative in the classic traditional Regency, and I have long heard that Carla Kelly is one of the best of the traditional Regency authors. And while this book definitely has its flaws, it is a wonderful book that has a lot of humor and very minimal angst.

Ellen Grimsley is one of those heroines who is ahead of their time, but she doesn’t feel like
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
EDIT (30/7): Did some Googling. Discovered that Carla Kelly is an historian and is somewhat renowned for her historical accuracy in novels. Am now less inclined to give four stars to a book which re-invents St. Hilda's College (Oxford) as a Hall, probably affliated with the University, seventy years before the first women's college at Oxford was founded.

How could I not love a book which includes:
"How do you find yourself, Thomas?" she asked.
"Well, I just look down, and there I am, Ellen," he re
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Play Book Tag: Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career by Carla Kelly - 4 stars 1 6 Feb 17, 2021 07:31AM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Although Carla Kelly is well known among her readers as a writer of Regency romance, her main interest (and first writing success) is Western American fiction—more specifically, writing about America's Indian Wars. Although she had sold some of her work before, it was not until Carla began work in the National P

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