The Elusive Miss Ellison was a delightful regency era story that surrounded my senses with all that fascinates me with the time period. This story moves a little bit slower so that we are truly immersed in Lavinia Ellison and the Earl of Hawkesbury, Nicholas's life and town. We have two very different people coming from two diverse world views seemingly separated all the more by money and class. We are treated to a slow build up from a friendship turned romance that painfully at times seemed doomed from the beginning.
I would consider this book like a miniseries. We walk through so much with the characters, see how their lives are lived in regards to the challenges each face, and the changes that happen to both as they get to know one another and their feelings begin to blossom into something more. And frankly, Ms. Miller can write an excellent romantic story that seems to literally leap off the pages with all the pride, stubbornness, and tension these two had between each other. There were times I was holding my breath and wincing as they bantered and sparred with the sting that their words could bring to one another.
There is so much packed into this story that you must simply experience it for yourself.
I am very pleased with this book and I consider it my favorite regency read this year. And I have read some pretty good ones.
My thanks go to Kregel Publications for providing me with a highly entertaining book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all the views and opinions expressed are my own. I look forward to next two in this series.
If you like a bit of Jane Austen, you'll probably enjoy The Elusive Miss Ellison. Early on, we read of a mother "whose social aspirations far surpassed [her husband's] sizable income." This description brings to mind a certain mama in Pride and Prejudice. We also learn that Lavinia has a dislike of embroidery and is far more content to extract weeds from flower beds. She plays the piano and sings, but she's no demure lady. She attends social events, but is not considered the belle of any ball. The new lord of the manor finds these soirees most tedious, especially since he's expected to soon choose a bride. His aloofness is seen as snobbery, but he's recently returned from battle against Napoleon's army in the Iberian Peninsula and is scarred from his experiences.
This is a novel of the haves versus the have nots, and the benevolent versus the selfish. Throughout the narrative, Lavinia gets to experience both modest and affluent ways of living. There's a side story about Lavinia's family which I felt was unnecessary, but it does show additional situations where love triumphs over wealth. I did like that Lavinia tried hard not to like Nicholas, and had to acknowledge every occasion when he did something positive in her eyes, such as carrying out small kindnesses to the villagers.
The Elusive Miss Ellison is the first in a series called Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace. While it's possible the next two can be read out of order, they do feature women who were introduced in this first book. They're due out in June and October and can already be preordered.
Thank you to Kregel for my complimentary copy of The Elusive Miss Ellison, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
The title of this book piqued my interest. When I first began reading it, I kept looking to see why the book was titled the way it was. I figured it was a little like some other books I had read, where the main character might have been partly elusive but was quickly won over by the man and then everything else was predictable in the book. I was quite excited to see that was not the plan of Miller's new book.
In fact, there were some sections of it that reminded me a little of Pride and Prejudice, which is probably one of my favorite books. It was neat to see a few comparisons, even if she didn't intend for this book to be like that one.
Lavinia is definitely elusive, but she has a good reason for being that way. Her mom died when she was young and it wasn't of natural causes. She has to work through completely forgiving, even though the pain is very real. It makes it even harder for her to do so when she is reminded of that day in many different ways.
The new Earl of Hawkesbury might be cute, but he's hardened his heart for completely different reasons than Lavinia. He can't really marry for love. It has to be of convenience because she has to be able to meet his mother's high standards. However, he's always been one up for a challenge and when Lavinia puts up a challenge before him, he can't help but take it. He's not truly aware of all the reasons Miss Ellison has some hard feelings toward him and his family so they must acknowledge the pain before any friendship can form.
I am looking forward to reading more in this new series by Carolyn Miller. Her second book, A Legacy of Grace, shouldn't be too far behind this book!
I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group and Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.
One of the best debut authors of Traditonal Regency romances!!!
March 21, 2017
I can't say for sure what inspired my love for traditional regency romances. Maybe it was Downton Abbey or any of Jane Austen's novels, but I love the life of the ladies of that era. Responsibilities were much different as was a woman's role. Not so much subservient but one had to hold her tongue and avoid saying what she thought, especially if one held some financial gain that would make her an agreeable match to the right man. It was much different for someone in service, because that was their lot in life and would look for matches in the same line of work as they were. Never did most of those relationships intermix with upper crust and those of servants. That is until Miss Lavinia Ellison, the daughter of the local Reverend and charitable do-gooder among those in the village of St. Hampton Heath in England.
The only way most of the town's residents life would improve was if the new Earl of Hawkesbury took a personal interest of those who serve his estate. Yet one could hardly be expected to answer that call personally even if Lavinia could inspire such a visit or plead her local charity case. However without his necessary funds to make the most basic repairs, it seems as if the revenue the Earl was anticipating would not be as healthy as he would hope.
It is Lavinia who challenges him to see the needs of those who depend on him, that they are not taking advantage of his good intentions and that in the long run, it will only benefit him. But since they come from two very different sets of circumstances, it is hard for them to see past what they only know of their own circumstances. Lavinia is determined to help those she deems less fortunate even if Nicholas, the Earl of Hawkesbury can't or won't. He is trying to see her side of things but unfortunately for Lavinia, he ability to temper her words with grace, doesn't make it easy for Nicholas to hear her truest intentions. Is there hope for either one of them? Time will tell.
I received The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller compliments of Kregel Publications. This is Carolyn Miller's debut novel into the Traditional Regency Romance, and I can tell fans of the genre will absolutely LOVE Lavina Ellison's gumption, grit and sass! The attention to detail instantly transports readers back to Gloucestershire, England of the early 1800's. I can't wait to see what will happen when Nicholas' mother gets a dose of Lavinia to see if she will applaud the girls determination or will issue the ultimatum most mother's made of their sons at that time in history. For me, this one was a welcomed 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
Its always fun to get the chance to read an authors debut novel. A new voice to the mix keeps things fresh. Thats one reason I decided to join in and review Carolyn Millers The Elusive Miss Ellison.
While I liked the idea of this novel, with its hints of Pride and Prejudice and a Jane Austen type heroine, there were some parts that were a bit overdone for me with the characters. I think they were too much of what they were supposed to represent (if that makes sense at all). Im all about a strong and independent lead, those are my favorite but many times, instead of spirited, I thought Lavinia came across as a bit too pushy with her opinions to Nicholas. On the other hand, sometimes I wasnt sure why Nicholas didnt reach out to Lavinia. I thought as the novel went on, the interactions and development improved though.
While this may not have been a favorite of mine, I admit, I still wanted to know how it ended and thats always a good thing. Plus, Im curious what will happen in the next two novels. Also, if you prefer stories with strong faith conversations and scenes, then this is one youll want to pick up.
What debut are you looking forward to this year?
(Thank you to Kregel for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)
Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2017/03/21/elusive-miss-ellison-carolyn-miller-book-review-giveaway/