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The Charm School (Calhoun Chronicles, Book…

The Charm School (Calhoun Chronicles, Book 1) (original 1999; edition 2008)

by Susan Wiggs

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3981226,858 (3.77)7
Title:The Charm School (Calhoun Chronicles, Book 1)
Authors:Susan Wiggs
Info:Mira (2008), Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:2010 reads, Your library, My EBooks
Tags:Fiction, Historical Romance

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The Charm School by Susan Wiggs (1999)

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This book takes places in 1850s Boston which is not a place or time period I usually choose for my historical romances. I was intrigued by the "ugly duckling" story line, and it paid off. It was really a joy to watch Isadora go from mousy, bumbling and invisible (but smart and funny) to confident, bold and comfortable in her own skin. I loved the voyage to Rio, and I am glad the voyage back to Boston was glossed over. I also liked the fact that the two main characters not only hated each other (mostly) on sight, but didn't immediately fall into one another's arms. Sure, it's all fairly predictable, but it's a romance novel. And great fun to read.

( )
  ladypembroke | Nov 22, 2014 |
A period romance set in the Boston of 1851. An ugly duckling young woman, a swashbuckling sea captain, almost formula but still an entertaining read. ( )
  wareagle78 | Jan 28, 2014 |
If there were any flaws in this story, I was too caught up in the characters (particularly the heroine) to notice what they were. ( )
  MoriahJovan | Sep 23, 2013 |
I seem to be on a romance kick. This one was about an "ugly duckling" who was born into the perfect socialite family, which of course she doesn't fit in too. As she tries to find her way in the world she decides to board a ship headed to Rio as a translator. Here she meets Captain Calhoun and his rowdy crew, along with his mom and aunt Rose who they visit while in Rio. Together the other characters along with the freedom of ship life help Isadora Peabody come out of her shell and turn into the beautiful swan that she really is.

The story dripped of cheese, but it did seem to charm the pants out of me. Overall it was a nice story with a good message, however, I felt that the message was beat over the reader's head over and over again.I did like that the two love birds didn't start out liking each other and it wasn't until towards the end where they really came together. This element added to the tension between the two, which was a nice change of pace from typical romance novels. ( )
  Jaguar897 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Isadora Peabody longs to escape her proper Boston life where she is a social misfit. She does not resemble her family who are delicate, golden haired individuals who alwasy know the proper way to act and thing to say. She bullies her way onto a cargo ship bound for Rio. The voyage transforms her in more ways than she ever imagined. ( )
  lindahallmann | Apr 28, 2011 |
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The real offense, as she ultimately perceived, was her having a mind of her own at all.
--Henry James
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Being invisible did have its advantages.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0778325040, Mass Market Paperback)

Setting: Boston and Rio de Janeiro, 1851

Sensuality: 7

Isadora Peabody is the brilliant but socially inept sibling in an otherwise perfect family. And although she struggles to fit into Boston society, her awkwardness dooms her to repeated failure. Fate intervenes when she learns that a sea captain, Ryan Calhoun, is in need of an interpreter for his next voyage to Rio. And despite Ryan's adamant opposition to hiring a female interpreter, Isadora gains a berth on his ship, thanks to a little blackmail.

Life aboard ship and away from the strict confines of Boston society finds Isadora losing weight, gaining confidence, and blooming like a rose. She befriends the motley crew of rough sailors, and in turn, they become a charm school of sorts, tutoring her in gracefulness--which comes in handy when climbing the rope rigging--dancing, and friendship. Isadora's transformation fascinates Ryan, but he is determined to stay away from her for he has secretive, dangerous plans. Unaware of Ryan's interest, Isadora struggles with her growing attraction to the reckless sea captain. But before they can resolve their feelings, prior commitments surface and endanger their chance of finding a happy future together.

The Charm School is a tale of the evolution of two complicated people and the powerful love that binds them. Wiggs skillfully peels away the layers that conceal the real Isadora until the transformation from misfit to confident woman is complete, while Ryan develops from a wild, rebellious southerner into a man who can overcome impossible odds to reach his goals. If you like swashbuckling adventure, fascinating characters, vivid settings, and surprising plot twists, this wonderful novel will be just your cup of tea.--Lois Faye Dyer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:23 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Deemed a social outcast, Isadora Peabody finds herself on board the Silver Swan bound for Rio de Janiero and captained by dashing Ryan Calhoun--a man who transforms her into a passionate and spirited woman.

(summary from another edition)

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