Fiction Fest: Carla Kelly’s ‘Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career’ concludes May title previews

Miss Grimsley 2x3An excerpt from Carla Kelly’s “Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career” concludes the free preview spotlights on our May titles. Stay tuned as we begin a new round of sneak peeks of our June fiction titles beginning Monday, June 3.

Kelly has won numerous awards for her writing, most recently a Whitney Award for “My Loving Vigil Keeping.” Her next book, “Safe Passage,” will be released in August 2013.

You can buy Kelly’s books on, and


Ellen is determined never again to see James Gatewood, marquis and enigmatic Oxford scholar, but wouldn’t you know it, her father invited him to the wedding rehearsal for Ellen’s sister.

In perfect charity with her father, Ellen watched Martha romp down the aisle in front of them, swinging her empty lower basket like a censer, The bridesmaids, sneezing in earnest now, followed slowly. She started next, minding her steps in time with the music and Papa’s dreadful sense of rhythm. They lurched down the aisle together, ignoring the snickers of one of the cousins in the front pews.

And there by the altar was the Marquess of Chesney, standing in for Edwin, who by now was sitting up in the choir seats, an expression of complete befuddlement on his already vacuous face. Horry chafed his wrists and uttered little cries of concern.

Ellen rolled her eyes and the marquis winked at her. She turned her attention to Thomas Cornwell, the best man, who gazed with something close to rapture upon Fanny Bland, even though her eyes were red and her nose ran.

With only a minimum of confusion, Papa gave her away to the greatest rascal in the peerage and they knelt together in front of the altar.

“I only hope I am not wearing the shoes with the holes in the sole,” he whispered in her ear.”

“You really should take better care of yourself, Jim,” she hissed back.

“Ellen, make me the happiest man alive and marry me,” he whispered.

“Not on your life,” she whispered back. “And don’t you think for one minute that this charade gives you any special privileges. We are mere stand-ins…”

“Do you mean I cannot kidnap you in front of all these guests? You can certainly put a damper on a wedding rehearsal, Ellen.”

She burst into laughter as the priest glared at her. “Sorry, Father Mackey,” she said, and choked down her merriment.

“That’s better,” the marquess said. “Have a little countenance, Ellen, on this serious occasion. Gracious, but my knees ache! Sorry, Father.”