And now for something completely different: Carla Kelly’s Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career (recently reprinted with Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand). This is a Regency romance, via an author recommendation from Melymbrosia on LiveJournal.
This was charming, warm fun; I can tell it’s flawed and I don’t really care. Partly I’m well-disposed towards it because it was clearly written by an author who’s read and loved Gaudy Night—not, I hasten to add, that they are particularly comparable works, except that they’re set at Oxford and are suffused with a love of reading and a respect for intellectual endeavor. Partly it’s because it takes the plot furniture of the genre and tweaks it: the “girl in disguise as a boy” doesn’t fool the hero for a minute; the “noble hero comes in and fixes lives of everyone in heroine’s family” is nicely modulated; and the plot-driving secondary characters are given touches of nuance. So yeah, the plot’s overstuffed, and it’s anachronistic, and there’s bits of stupid deception, but the characters are just nice people and I really enjoyed reading about them.