Title: Cecilia or Too Tall To Love
Author: GL Robinson
Genre: Regency Romance
Orphaned Cecilia Beaumaris, a serious young woman, wants to open a school for poor girls in London's East End. Frivolous Tommy Allenby, Earl of Broome doesn't want to marry any of the women his grandmother has pushed at him. Will this unlikely pair somehow get what they desire…. together, or apart?
Too tall, too outspoken Cecilia is living with her aunt and uncle after the boarding school she has lived in as a student and then a teacher closes down. They don't want her, and invent a fortune she doesn't have to get her off their hands. She sees her future as educator of impoverished young women and is hoping her small inheritance will be enough to achieve her dream of opening a school.
Tommy Allenby, Earl of Broome, is tired of being on the marriage mart and has no intention of marrying any of the eligible young women he has met. When he encounters Cecilia, he persuades this prickly, self-conscious young woman to enter into a faux betrothal. But the future holds surprises. Will they achieve their goals and more than that, will they find happiness?
Read Cecilia or too Tall to Love to see how this puzzle is untangled. Told against the background of the development of public education in England, the protagonists of this this charming and witty Regency Romance are sure to entertain you.
“Miss Beaumaris,” intoned the butler with great solemnity as she passed in front of him. The eyes of the two persons inside nearly started from their heads as they beheld their niece. She had left them a little girl and now returned, a very tall, stately young woman. She must have been at least five feet nine inches, her figure, as far as they could tell in her round gown of an undistinguished grey, slim though well-formed, her hair, which had been an untamed profusion of curls as a girl, now confined into the nape of her long neck and topped by a bonnet that was more serviceable than modish. She was not pretty or well-dressed but was nevertheless a striking figure.
“My dear niece! Welcome home!” cried her uncle, coming forward and taking her hand. “You remember your aunt Mabel, I’m sure.” He led her to his wife, who had not risen from the sofa on which she half sat, half lay.
Cecilia murmured something indistinct and took her aunt’s hand, limp and cold as a dead fish.
“Cecily!” said her aunt, with an attempt at enthusiasm. “How nice to have you with us once more.”
“My name is Cecilia,” pronounced the new arrival clearly. “I remember you did not know it last time, the only time, I was here.”
Her aunt and uncle looked at each other in dismay. To say that they were already regretting their generosity in inviting this strange young woman into their home was, perhaps, a little premature, but they both had the distinct feeling that she was not going to be the complaisant fetch-and-carry damsel they had expected.
Her ladyship struggled almost to her feet, “Well, Cecilia, I’m sure you wish to go to your room and remove your bonnet. I would come up with you, but my legs, I’m afraid, are far from steady these days. My housekeeper, Mrs. Browning, will accompany you. Please address yourself to her if you are in need of anything.” She collapsed back onto the sofa and signaled to her husband to ring the bell.
Led upstairs by the housekeeper, Cecilia found herself in the same bedroom she had inhabited during her brief stay all those years ago. While she was taking off her bonnet and washing her hands in the cold water provided by the jug and basin on her washstand, her trunk arrived, carried by a footman at one end and, to judge from the blue-grey apron that enveloped most of her small body, a scullery maid at the other. The footman bowed and departed, leaving Cecilia wondering if she should have given him a douceur, but the maid remained and, having undone the straps of the trunk, made to unpack it.
“Oh, I can do it myself,” said Cecilia quickly. “There isn’t much, anyway.”
“If you please, Miss, I’m s’pposed to ‘elp. The upstairs maids is all busy, so they sent me. P’haps if you pass me the things I can ‘ang them up. Please, Miss.”
“Oh, very well, if you like!” agreed Cecilia.
They quickly put away her few gowns and underclothes, and the maid, whose name turned out to be Bridget, was amazed to see that the bottom half of Cecilia’s trunk was full of books.
“’Ave you read ‘em all, Miss?” she asked in amazement.
“Yes, but I like to look at them again and again, I never tire of my books.”
Bridget had picked up one of the books of stories illustrated with line drawings that Cecilia had used to teach the younger girls at the school. She found that if they could match words with pictures, they made quicker progress.
“What’s this one about then? I wish I could read. I never learned proper,” said the maid, looking at the story about Dick Whittington and his cat.
“Look at the picture. What do you think?”
“A man and ‘is cat?”
“That’s right. Look, there’s the word for cat and the man’s name is Dick.” Cecilia showed her the two words, which she then picked out every time they appeared on the next couple of pages. “Why didn’t you learn to read? Didn’t you go to school?”
“Sometimes I did, but I ‘ad to ‘elp me mum with all the little ’uns and the washin’ an’ all. The boys went, though. Me bruvvers can all read ‘n write,” she ended proudly.
“Don’t you have to be able to read and write to work in a big house like this?”
“Not if you works in the scullery or washroom, or carryin’ up the coal. You ‘ave to if you wants to be an upstairs maid or lady’s maid, a’course. But there’s not many jobs. I was lucky to get a place ‘ere. One of me bruvvers walks out wiv the cook’s ‘elper, Amy ‘er name is. An’ she got me the job.”
“Well, Bridget, come and see me whenever you can, and I’ll teach you. You can take the book if you like. Bring it back when you come. See if you can find cat or Dick anywhere else.” As the maid gasped in pleasure and clasped the book to her thin bosom, Cecilia suddenly asked, “But before you go, tell me, what happens to girls like yourself who cannot read or write, and no brother to help them get a job?”
“Well, Miss,” answered the maid, looking at the floor, “they tries to get work anywhere they can, in the fact’ries, fr’instance, but if not, they ‘as to do what they can. They may ‘ave to… you know, not be any better’n they should be.”
“You mean, go into prostitution?” Then, thinking that perhaps Bridge might not understand the word, “Sell themselves… to men?”
“Yes, Miss,” whispered Bridget. “That’s what I mean.”
At that moment, Cecilia knew what she was going to do with her life.
Why is your featured book a must-read?
We all have problems with body image, and Cecilia is no exception. She thinks she’s too tall for anyone to love her, but she is determined to make her life fulfilling in other ways. She’s a model for us all. Of course, though she isn’t looking for love, it finds her. This is A Regency Romance, after all.
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GL Robinson was born and educated in the south of England, but has lived for over forty years in the USA with her American husband. She is a retired French professor, and loves flowers in the garden, eating with friends and reading to her grandchildren.
She was inspired to start writing after the unexpected death of her dear sister in July 2018. They were educated in a convent boarding school and would giggle at historical Romances after lights-out under the covers. They were, and are, a life-long passion for them both. She has six books on Amazon so far.
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