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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming
The Charm School is the first book that I've read by Susan Wiggs, and I must comment that she is an wonderful author.
Isadora Peabody is a brilliant spinster with dreams of marrying a certain young man who doesn't even know she exists. Overweight, wearing spectales, shy and smarter than any man Isadora has little chance of ever marrying or fitting into society...
Published on 23 July 1999

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing special about this book
I am very surprised that this book got 5 stars from other readers, there really is nothing special about this book, there are a lot of cliche's written and no great writing at all. The story line is boring, similar to that of other romantic seafaring novels, It was an o.k read but I didn't even bother finishing it, as I got really bored halfway through.

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Published on 20 Nov 2011 by Rosie


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, 23 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Charm School (Paperback)
The Charm School is the first book that I've read by Susan Wiggs, and I must comment that she is an wonderful author.
Isadora Peabody is a brilliant spinster with dreams of marrying a certain young man who doesn't even know she exists. Overweight, wearing spectales, shy and smarter than any man Isadora has little chance of ever marrying or fitting into society. When she hears of a ship leaving for Rio that is owned by the father of the man she is infatuated with, she jumps at the chance to go on board and learn the ways of the shipping business.
Captain Ryan Calhoun isn't happy about Isadora's appearance on board his ship. He'll do anything (and does!) to make her miserable. He's surprised when he finds himself attracted to dowdy Isadora.
A wonderfully written novel, The Charm School is one of those romances that must be read over and over again!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming historical romance, 11 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Charm School (Paperback)
In 1851 Boston, Isadora Peabody feels like the ugly duckling amidst her beautiful and graceful family. When the opportunity arises for her to become a translator on the Silver Swan, a trading ship, she pulls strings with the owner, Mr. Easterbrooke. She obtains the job over the objection of the ships captain Ryan Calhoun.
On the voyage to Brazil, Isadora steals the hearts of all the crew, even the captain, as her open-eyed innocence hooks everyone. Her voyage to self-awareness and confidence turns successful as her own personal crew of instructor-sailors making up THE CHARM SCHOOL teaches her that she is a beautiful swan. In Rio, Ryan and Isadora fall in love, but sadly they have no future together because Ryan has a personal commitment to complete that could cost him his life.
Award winning Susan Wiggs is the author of over ten well-received historical romances that keep readers wanting more works from this awesome talent. Her latest novel THE CHARM SCHOOL is an excellent retelling of the classic Ugly Duckling. The exciting story line is entertaining as the decade prior to the Civil War is brought to life. The lead characters are a charming pair, but it is the support cast, especially the sailors, who will provide Ms. Wiggs with more awards and another best seller.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read with plenty of interesting details, 9 Dec 2006
By 
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"The Charm School" is the first book that I have read by Susan Wiggs and I enjoyed it so much that I will look out for some of her others.

Isadora Peabody is the ugly duckling of the Peabody family and she's so used to being overlooked and misunderstood (she's very intelligent and well-read) that she had turned in on herself and become a dull person. Her family don't understand her and the only person in whom she has any interest is Chad, a friend of her brothers', but Chad doesn't seem to notice her.

Then Isadora has a chance to escape - to take a sea voyage as translator on the Silver Swan, a trading ship. Unfortunately her first introduction to the captain Ryan Calhoun wasn't optimal but she manages to persuade the ship's owner to let her come aboard, against Captain Calhoun's wishes.

When they set sail the book really takes off - the description of sailing in the mid-nineteenth century are excellent. I'm a bit of a sailor myself and I found it fascinating to read about how all the crew worked together on the boat and the different tasks they had. There's a very strong theme throughout the book about the slave trade in America and the way that so many people were slave owners without ever really thinking about it. There is some wonderful description when the ship docks in Rio and the way that Isadora slowly unfurls from the ugly duckling into the swan is beautifully written. The ending is satisfying and overall it was a very enjoyable book and I recommend it very highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing special about this book, 20 Nov 2011
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I am very surprised that this book got 5 stars from other readers, there really is nothing special about this book, there are a lot of cliche's written and no great writing at all. The story line is boring, similar to that of other romantic seafaring novels, It was an o.k read but I didn't even bother finishing it, as I got really bored halfway through.

Not sure what others see in the book to be honest. I have read better, in my opinion this book does not deserve 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Charm School, an enjoyable story to read, 19 Mar 2006
By 
Ap Nj Dorrall "nicky0512" (plymouth,devon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Isadora Peabody was an awkward misfit in her beautiful & accomplished family. Always the wallflower at the tedious parties she was forced to attend, she seized the chance to travel to an exciting new world.
Fiery sea captain Ryan Calhoun had walked away from his family's wealth & reputation. Driven by a quest to right an old wrong, he had little time for the plain, meek young woman who had come aboard his ship.
But then Ryan's crew took Isadora in hand. They became her own personal charm school & transformed her into a woman no man could resist. And gave her the confidence to belive in a startling new love....
I have been a fan of Susan Wiggs for a long time now & have read alot of her contemporary books, but this was a first for me. I love historical's, but not all author's who change from one genre to another to it well, but Ms. Wiggs, has succeeded with this wonderful story.
I really loved the charactor of Isadora, a woman who really was born in the wrong era, she can read, write, speak in various different language's and make a man look foolish with her knowledge, but it is not a womans place to be better than a man, after all a womans role in life is to breed and look witty - this set's Isadora apart from everyone else. I felt so sorry for her, she wasn't clasically beautiful, nor was she quite so slim, but she that charm about her that you just love.
Ryan Calhoun, is a man on the run from who he is or who he thinks he should be, Ms. Wiggs, has painted a picture of a man trying to be bad, but who really has a gentle nature & who wants to be loved.
From the start, the descriptive writing is wonderful, the historical narative & the atmosphere keep you glued to the story & you just don't want to put this book down. Ms Wiggs, has compared her story that of Hans Christian Andersen's "the ugly duckling", & i think her story works comparatively well.
This is the story of two people who equally grow into beautiful people & they have lots of fun and heartache along the way.
This book was, fun,enlightening & charming.
I would have liked to have seen more of the crew aboard ship included in the story, simply because they played an integral part of Isadora's re-birth so to speak, that isn't to say it detracts from the story because it doesn't, i just thought that they would have made very interesting charactors.
This is a very enjoyable historical story, it's easy & fun to read & i would definately recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of those special, easy to read,stay up all night, 2 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Charm School (Paperback)
this is a story that delighted me. It is about a girl who did not fit the social pattern and was ridiculed all her life because she was not as beautiful as the other members of her family. She takes destiny in her own hands when she forces a ship master to take her on as interpreter. She then proceeds to charm the sailors on board and in turn, is taught the self confidence necessary to allow her to overcome all odds. the book is written so smoothly that it is a joy to follow. the love story is made very believable, and the story just flows so that you don't want to put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All in all...a good read, 26 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Charm School (Paperback)
I like the plot centering around "the ugly duckling" who turns into a beautiful swan. Although, I wish the "ugly duckling", Isadora, had started out with slightly more backbone then she did but all is forgiven. She turned out to be just what our hero, Ryan, needed. Ryan is a very charming, very irresponsible but lovable man. Just the kind of man every women would love to take home and keep. With fun characters like these, Ryan's mother and the charming crew of the Swan, how can you go wrong. I was a little disppointed with this Susan Wiggs book only because I didn't laugh nearly as much as I usually do reading her books. I did, however, enjoy it and that's all that's important.
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5.0 out of 5 stars more!, 30 Sep 2013
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this is the fourth time i have read this book ....and i find something new in it every time its a must keep!
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book, 6 Nov 2009
By 
perfect cinderella story, i wished the book would never end. kept thinking there should be a sequel to this. one of the best susan wiggs books i have read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AND THE UGLY DUCKLING TURNED INTO A SWAN, 4 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Charm School (Paperback)
Another great story from Susan Wiggs. Isadora a shy insecured spinster finds courage and love when she sets sail on the ship "The Swan" I recommend this book for anyone who loves romance and a happy ending.
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The Charm School
The Charm School by Susan Wiggs (Paperback - 21 Jan 2000)
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