This story takes placed mostly in a small town in England in the year 1813. Lavinia Ellison is the daughter of the local reverend. She is used to speaking her mind and is independent and intelligent. She spends her days helping the poor in her town, playing on the pianoforte and helping around the house. She lost her mother in an accident several years ago. The accident involved one of the peerage in town. Lord Nicholas Hawkesbury is new to his title after the death of his older brother. He has come to his country home to put it in order. After he arrives, he begins to realize the sad state of his estates affairs thanks to his brothers spending on other things. He entrusts his steward to see to the repair of tenant homes and planting of fields. After too much time, he finds out his steward is robbing him and not spending the money as Lord Hawkesbury has directed.
Lord Hawkesbury meets Lavinia and they immediately clash. She speaks her mind about his lack of keeping his word to help the tenants. He thinks she is too forward for a lady. Lavinia continues to champion the poor and time and again Lord Hawkesbury says he will do something and then doesnt. Lavinia jumps to conclusions as to the reasons why, which makes for more sparks. Amidst the sparks of irritation are also sparks of attraction. However, Lord Hawkesburys mother has a suitable woman of his station in society all picked out for him to marry. Lavinia is a reverends daughter and not in the same class of society, so she is certainly not an option for a wife. Nicholas longs for Lavinia, but supposes he should do what his mother wants and what society deems appropriate. By spending time with Lavinia, see her compassion and have her speak Scripture to him, even while pointing out his faults, he begins to seek out God.
I could identify with the two main characters in that they were depicted as believable and I could relate to their emotions. They made mistakes, were quick to find the faults in each others character while not seeing their own and speaking without thinking often hurting the others feelings. Just like me sometimes! However, the generosity Lavinia displayed, the compassion for the poor and the self-sacrifice were amazing. Yes, she got caught up in prideful thinking, but once aware of this she tried to act as God would have her act. I also thought her living her faith and not just talking about it was great as then she could stand firm in her beliefs when challenged. The story has a wonderful romance and I cant wait until book two in the series is released! This was a great book that will be going on my keeper shelf.
The Elusive Miss Ellison is not your typical Regency romance! Lavinia Ellison, the village minister's daughter, is a strong protagonist who will be admired for her services to the poor. Nicholas, the Earl of Hawkesbury, is also a strong leading character although I wished he would stand up to his mother! After all, he was the Earl! I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Regency era. I received my book from Kregel Publications through Book Fun. This is my honest opinion.
The Elusive Miss Ellison Carolyn Miller (4.5 Stars)
April 4, 2017
In The Elusive Miss Ellison, debut author Carolyn Miller brings the Regency era to life. Lavinia Ellison has dedicated her life to helping the poor in her small village, as an extension of her fathers parish. When the new Earl of Hawkesbury arrives in the area, Lavinia is determined that he should take responsibility for his tenants welfare and the condition of his properties. After barely surviving his military service, Nicholas Stamford seeks peace and quiet, rather than his newfound responsibilities as earl. Lavinias insistence on his caring for the villagers soon becomes the voice of reason in his head, even as it clashes with the social expectations thrust upon him by his mother and his social equals. When Lavinias efforts for good place her in danger, Nicholas must choose between societys expectations and doing right by her.
Ms. Miller writes a compelling and heartwarming Regency era story that readers will greatly enjoy. Lavinia and Nicholas, as well as the townspeople of St. Hampton Heath, will leave readers wanting more of Ms. Millers stories in the Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Elusive Miss Ellison. While quite a few authors have written Regency era stories, Ms. Millers work feels true to the place and period. In addition, the novel remains firmly grounded in the Christian fiction genre, with extensive references to Christian themes that are a natural extension of Ms. Millers characters and plotline. After reading this novel, one is left to wonder why more novels in the genre do not succeed in including that level of Christian references in such a seamless manner. While The Elusive Miss Ellison is published by Kregel Publications (a publishing house with which I am relatively unfamiliar), the novel is very well polished, edited, and produced. In all honesty, I was surprised that this book was not released by one of the larger Christian publishing houses, due to the sheer caliber of the story. While it may be slightly more challenging for some readers to find, I believe that this novel is well worth the effort to track down through a local library or bookstore.
Nicholas Stamford ~ the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury
Miss Lavinia "Livvie" Ellison ~ the reverend's daughter
This was an exquisite story! Two people unlikely to continually meet ~ the new landowner of his inherited property, Hampton Hall; and Miss Ellison, the noteworthy tender of St. Hampton Heath's villagers with dire needs, poor tenant families cared for by her mother before her.
The dialogue is fantastic as the antagonists spar back and forth with words ~ which becomes a distinct fascination of quick wit between them. Out of the ordinary of aspiring ladies he usually meets, he is quickly drawn to her while she doesn't appear to be interested in his arrival at all. Not coyly, but ... not interested.
Meet Miss Ellison's companion and chaperone allowing her to venture through the hillsides without an escort ~ her sweet beagle, Mickey, alerting her of trespassers in their domain and an excellent purveyor of true interests.
Such a beautifully written story encompassing regrets, introspection, forgiveness, compassion, amid the realization of a love that surpasses all boundaries set by man.
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen..."
I hope we will continue to glimpse Nicholas and Livvie in the forthcoming stories, featuring a closer view of secondary characters introduced in this debut novel. I loved the adventures of God's grace received in a humble life turned to Him.
This story is so strong as the realization of our own pride and merits we expel on someone else. So reminiscent of Psalm 139. We are known and seek to know who we truly can be. Accepted in the beloved.
***Thank you to Kregel Blog Tours for inviting me on the tour for Carolyn Miller's novel, The Elusive Miss Ellison, and for sending me a copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
I look forward to reading the continuing stories in the series of Grace by this author!