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!
If you are looking for a delightful way to pass the day as you enjoy a spot of tea you've found it in The Elusive Miss Ellison.
Lavinia Ellison has no use for the nobility of England who live off the toil and suffering of those who are under their "care". And unfortunately for Nicholas Stamford, the newest Earl of Hawkesbury, he already has a strike against him in the opinion of Livvie, one from which he may never raise in her estimation.
Lavinia, as the local minister's daughter, offers a helping hand to those within the village of St. Hampton Heath and she's determined to see that Lord Hawkesbury do his duty by the villagers and his tenants. But a quiet country life caring for the needs of others isn't what Nicholas seeks. He's searching for a way to heal from the horrors of war and from the guilt he's been carrying for far too long. Lavinia's wit and intelligence might prove to be a distraction to that will make a permanent change in his life, but the daughter of a country reverend could never tempt his heart, or could she?
But when Lavinia and Nicholas have a chance to get to know one another they come to realize that first impressions are not necessarily a true likeness of who a person truly is. But a long-held family secret is lurking in the past, one that could change everything. And it could end any thought of friendship or something more before it ever begins.
This book is a delightful blend of a unique story with a subtle nod to the talent of Jane Austen. Fans of Regency and historical fiction can enjoy this newest offering that promises a meeting of personages that will rival that of Elizabeth Bennett and Mister Darcy. Even better this is but the first book in a new series.
I thoroughly enjoyed Carolyn Millers debut novel, The Elusive Miss Ellison. The Regency romance is one of my favorite genres and while many reviewers allude to Jane Austen, my love for this genre is entirely due to the prolific writing of Georgette Heyer. The Elusive Miss Ellison is well written with a vivid sense of place and period authenticity, and blends Heyers witty dialogue with a strong foundation of faith.
Beneath all the witty repartee, manners and social status is a story of humility, forgiveness, and the vastness of Gods grace. Nicholas and Lavinia are well-drawn, with a complexity beneath the surface. Nicholas had a war background that showed remarkable character, courage, leadership, and compassion, yet those qualities were missing in the new Earl of Hawkesbury. Lavinia had a deep faith and concern for the poor, yet she struggled with a pride and unforgiveness that until it is destroyed, we cannot see clearly (Nicholas). Both of these characters are flawed and have a spiritual journey to make. Theres plenty of romantic tension and I especially liked that they had a lot of screen time together.
The Elusive Miss Ellison is exactly what a Regency should be and I eagerly anticipate book #2, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, which releases in June.
Recommended to all who enjoy Christian Regency romances.
I was provided a free copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. - Henry David Thoreau
We all know that one woman who doesnt dance to the same music as the rest of us. When the world says she cant, she says she can. The Elusive Miss Ellison is such a woman, she dances to the beat of her own drum.
The Elusive Miss Ellison is the story of Lavinia Ellison, a ministers daughter who doesnt always play by the rules. She isnt above getting herself dirty in order to help those less fortunate and she is known for her outspoken opinions. When Lavinia meets the Nicholas, the new Earl of Hawksbury, their personalities clash. Lavinia believes him to be arrogant with little regard for the welfare of his tenants on his estate.
Guilt, family obligations and the legacy of war have called Nicholas home. He never believed that his cursory visit would turn his world upside down. Lavinia challenges him see the need of his tenants and look past his preconceived notions. Can Lavinia and Nicholas look beyond painful pasts and present prejudice to see their future? And what happens when Lavinia learns a family secret that alters everything shes ever known?
The Elusive Miss Ellison written by Carolyn Miller is set in St. Hampton Heath, Gloucestershire, England in 1813. A time when class distinction was clear. The story makes us question do we help others because we want to, or simply to help ourselves? As Nicolas learns, when he helps those on his estate he in turn helps himself. And so it reflects in our own lives. When we help another who needs it, something in us changes. Our hearts change and we begin to see others in a new light.
The story shares a message of forgiveness and Gods grace. Lavinia needs to look inside herself to forgive those she feels responsible for taking away the person she loved the most. Nicholas needs to learn to forgive his brother and himself.
With vivid descriptions of the English countryside and London and intriguing historical detail, Ms Miller, transports you back to Regency England. You will find yourself lost in a story of forgiveness, love and Gods grace.
I received a complimentary copy of The Elusive Miss Ellision from Kregel Publishing in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% my own.