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Book review: 'Miss Grimsely's Oxford Career' tells entertaining story of a Regency-era romance

Editor's note: This is one of a trio of novels are Regency era love stories by local authors that are sweet and keep the romance to kissing and feelings of longing, despite reputations to uphold and obstacles of pride and others’ scheming.

"MISS GRIMSLEY'S OXFORD CAREER," by Carla Kelly, Sweetwater Books, $8.99, 341 pages (f)

Utah author Carla Kelly’s recent Regency-era novel, “Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career,” provides her fans with an entertaining story set in the academic halls of Oxford, England.

James Gatewood, also known as Lord Chesney, is a misfit. His once illustrious family is now given to drinking, hunting and betting on horses, but he would rather be reading, writing or doing research in a library.

Ellen Grimsley, the daughter of a well-to-do squire, longs to study at Oxford, but it is her brother, who would rather be fighting a war in Spain, who is forced to attend.

However, due to her sister’s upcoming wedding, her father’s love for good sherry and his sister’s desire to spite him, Ellen is sent to study at a female academy in Oxford.

Ellen, the Jo March of this romance, finds her match, very appropriately, in the halls of a university. Lord Chesney, who bears a resemblance to Mr. Darcy of “Pride and Prejudice” fame, is a long-suffering, philanthropic hero. Despite obstacles that include pride, human foibles and misunderstandings, true love triumphs in the end.

The novel is another evidence of Kelly’s expert writing ability in the Regency era romance arena. Her writing is engaging and the characters nicely drawn.

There is no inappropriate language and minimal sexual innuendo. Drinking alcohol is accepted and there is a duel in which someone is wounded. The value of educated women is balanced with their importance as wives and mothers.

Kelly, has written more than 30 novels, as well as several books of historical nonfiction. She lives with her husband in Wellington, Carbon County. Kelly blogs at

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at