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.
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.