Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WoWO Book Club Meeting: The Education of Mrs. Brimley by Donna MacMeans

This month was the WoWO discussion of The Education of Mrs. Brimley by Donna MacMeans. We won this book from Author Dianna Love's Website. This is our second book won from this site and they have both made for fun and successful book club meetings. The other book we won was Wild Heart by Lori Brighton, you can read that review here. We obviously think that Dianna Love is Wonderful and We hope to win more from her author giveaways!

Once we won the books, Donna was such a pleasure to deal with. She mailed the books, signed personally to each one of our members, and she sent goodies as well as a VERY nice personal note to the ladies of the WoWO. At our Eat, Pray, Love discussion we gave out copies of The Education of Mrs. Brimley and commenced our reading it for this discussion. As usual this review posting will have spoilers in it to the story.. Here is us reading the note and excited about the book:

Pub. Date: October 2007
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352pp
Berkley Sensation Series
ISBN: 0425218309

WoWO Rating: 3.75/5 Stars (8 ratings)
My Personal Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

In an effort to escape her life in London, Emma obtains a teaching position at the Pettibone School for Young Ladies in Yorkshire. In order to get this position, she had to tell a little lie, that she is a young widow. Little does she know that this lie will come back to get her once she starts at the school: She is expected to teach the young women how to pleasure their future husbands in bed. Being that this is 1876 and Emma has in fact never been married, she is desperate to learn what she is to teach in the class. Emma cannot come clean because she cannot risk being sent back home to live with her uncle and in her desperation she seeks the help of the neighbor, Lord Nicholas Chambers, who is a bachelor with a reputation as "Lord BedChambers".

The WoWo's all agree this was a pretty steamy and very enjoyable book. The writing style was smooth and very easy to read. We all felt that the setting of the 1800's and Yorkshire was important to the story, because this type of story would never work today and the Pettibone School for Girls and Black Oak fit the scenery. The were Vivid and well defined, especially the Black Oak Studio. The only issue we had with the setting was that we had trouble determining the distance between Black Oak and the Pettibone School. Between the walking and the Carriage rides and various back and forth descriptions, it was hard to determine it's true distance. This however did not ruin the story for us.

Our first impressions of Emma were that although she was naive she had spunk and was pretty gutsy to search out the job and then search out help from Lord Chambers. At first it seemed a bit far fetched that she would reach out for help from this stranger, but it worked because she was desperate with no other choices. Our first impressions of Nicholas was that we liked him right from the beginning. We could tell there was something about him when he was "drunk" in the carriage but when Emma got out of the carriage he took a peak at her. Showing he wasn't quite what he portrayed himself to be. The sense of humor written into his character was wonderfully done. A nice mix of sarcasm and wit in a handsome male lead character is always a good thing.

Our favorite character overall was Nicholas with 6 votes and Emma had 2 votes for favorite due to her nerve and spunk. Our least favorite characters were Nicholas' brother George and Emma's Uncle, with the Uncle being slightly favored for worst character. We felt the Primary characters were developed well, but there was not a lot of details to the background characters, but it was enough to keep it well rounded and interesting.

Some of our favorite scenes in the book were:
  • "Lunch" Scenes - now this may seem silly if you haven't read the book, but if you read the book, you may know exactly to what we are referring. I wish I could remember who in the group called it that.. but it was hilarious. Hot, Steamy, and well written!

  • At the Ball when she steps outside and Nicholas is there waiting for her.

  • When Nicholas Rescues her from her Uncle

  • The Paint Brush scene - hot hot hot!

  • I personally loved the initial scene when Emma tells Nicholas that she's come to get help on how to teach sex to these young women. Nicholas laughs and laughs and laughs at the situation and I just adore a good sense of humor on a sexy man. This endeared him to me immediately.

A few of us were surprised to find that Nicholas was the real owner of Pettibone, but most of us were not. Everyone seemed surprised at the connection between Nicholas and Alice, and how she was his goddaughter and how he promised to watch over her -- and kept the promise all this time. It was a nice little added twist to the wonderful facets of Nicholas' character. We all felt that the title of the book was spot on and wouldn't change a thing. However, the cover of the book to us didn't do the story justice. We enjoyed the story so much but if we didn't win the book we would never have picked it up to read based on the cover. Most of us were happy with the Epilogue in the story and how it wrapped everything up to the point that there would be no need for a follow up story in another book. There was no wondering about their future, it was all right there provided for us.

All in all we really enjoyed the story and would be interested in reading another book authored by MacMeans in the future.

We went with a dessert theme this month. Hot and steamy stories go best with Dark Chocolate fountains, cheesecake and cupcakes! Here are some pictures of us discussing and eating the goodies:

WoWOs (left to right): Louise, Tricia, Faith(Me), Linda, Myrta, Karen, Darralyn, Peggy

Peggy, Louise, Karen, Darralyn

Louise, Linda, Karen, Peggy, Myrta, Tricia, Darralyn, Faith (me)

Karen and Louise searching for Steamy Scenes!

We are so happy to have Darralyn as a new member this month! She was a great addition to the group and to the discussion. We have two new members expected next month so that should be great. I love to see the WoWOs growing in numbers! We have changed our nominating procedures recently where every other discussion is a book nominated by one of our members and the other month is one that we won, that way we get to read a book we may not normally choose one month and a book we absolutely want to read the next. This month Linda was chosen to pick the book. She picked Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, we will be discussing this one on October 29th, so check back early November for the review!

Thanks again to Donna MacMeans and Dianna Love (and Cassondra from for providing the books and the contest to win the books! We have found so many great books from winning them through authors and sites like these.

This book fits the following Category/Challenges:

  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge
  • The Romance Reading Challenge
  • RYOB Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • New Authors Challenge