I'm going to be honest: I'm not typically a huge fan of Regency novels, though I do enjoy them on occasion and have a couple particular authors whose books I always snatch up and devour. That being said, I was intrigued by this book - the title, cover, and I love checking out debut authors, so I decided to give it a go. And while it wasn't a favorite, I did enjoy it. The characters were interesting and it is most definitely a Regency novel. Ms. Miller did an excellent job of making it period correct and it's obvious she studied her craft and made sure the wording and behaviors would be accurate. Despite these things, I think this book simply falls into the category of "just not my cup of tea."
As mentioned, the writing is excellent, but it didn't capture my attention as quickly as I had hoped. I struggled, at first, to connect with the characters and found them a bit annoying. But as the story progressed, I slowly found myself liking them more and cheering them on in the end. It definitely helped to see them grow through the story and become better versions of themselves. One of my favorite things about this story was how the author didn't have them change overnight, but showed them struggling to hold their tongue, or let go of their pride, or not react in the same old manner. It was a great reminder that we're all a work in progress. I know some may dub this book "preachy" because of that very aspect, but I loved the scripture references and spiritual discussions (Lavinia is a rector's daughter, after all) and seeing Nicholas gradually find peace for his past.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Regency romance that challenges the heart.
My thanks to the author and Kregel Publishing for my complimentary copy of this book! I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
"The Elusive Miss Ellison" is a great start to a Regency Brides series by Carolyn Miller. Carolyn's writing style transports the reader back in time to a different time period and a different kind of life and she writes with such vivid details and imagery that it is easy to become completely engrossed in the story and in the characters' lives. Lavinia (Livvie) is so spirited and also has such a kind heart, except toward Nicholas. He is just like his brother and she is not fawning over him like the rest of village. Livvie and NIcholas have many interactions and chemistry as they try to deal with the past and move on from past hurts. I immediately liked both characters as well as the minor characters. The cover of the book is gorgeous as well and I am looking forward to book #2 in the series coming out in a few months!
When a new Regency author enters the Christian publishing scene, I pick the book up with a mixture of delight and fear. If done well, the novel finds a permanent home on my keeper shelf thanks to my BBC induced Regency obsession. If it is poorly written or has historical errors and modern intrusions, I find myself more disappointed than with a similarly written book in a time period with which I am less familiar. Thankfully, The Elusive Miss Ellison falls into the excellent fiction category and I find myself eagerly anticipating further books in this series.
For me, historical accuracy is a must in Regency fiction--I want a story that could have happened during this time in the past, not a modern woman in a gown going to a ball. From early pages, Miller's familiarity with customs and terminology is evidenced and it contributes to the setting, extending to things like dress and how a woman was expected to behave.
Expert word choices immediately call to mind well known passages in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, giving us clues to the characters and situations in The Elusive Miss Ellison. For example, readers will recall the infamous dance where Mr. Darcy calls Elizabeth "tolerable," giving us vital clues to how Nicholas sees himself and those around him. And I felt that I completely understood another character simply from Miller's description of her campaign to get her daughter in the "path" of as many "eligible" men as possible. But while the parallels and comparisons exist, this story is quite original and wholly Carolyn Miller's plot--she obviously knows and loves Jane Austen's story, however, and the nods to that novel enhanced my enjoyment of her own.
The spiritual component is more pronounced in this book than many others, even in Christian fiction, owing in part to the heroine's father being a minister, but not entirely: we get a lot of it from the heroine herself, who is more outspoken than the typical Regency lady. Her upbringing has trained her to contribute to her community rather than gracing it as a fragile beauty, and in more ways than simply through words or a basket sent by way of a servant. Lavinia is a woman of faith in action, part of the reason the aristocracy finds her too forward and opinionated.
This slowly built romance involves changes in both the hero and the heroine, in their thoughts as well as their actions. The believable relationship takes time because each character must gradually overcome mental objections to the other, and only as they witness the other's transformation. The final scenes are well-worth all of the obstacles and misunderstandings to arrive at a shared future and I really enjoyed the resolution and how everything played out.
I would highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy Regency fictional--it is a well-written and unique contribution to the genre. Dialogue and action are balanced well in this interesting, and at some points mysterious, story. Those who enjoy the works of Jane Austen especially will find much to enjoy here and should not miss this exceptional debut.
I received a free copy of this book from the author and the publisher, but no compensation for this review. I was not required to write a favorable one and the opinions expressed are both honest and my own.
What a lovely story of romance and redemption. This regency reminded me of why I love this genre. The rules of station and conduct that restricted people at the time versus true love finding its way in no matter what the barrier. It was a good read. I received this book complimentary as a participant of the Litfuse Blog Tour. I was not required to give a positive review. Full Review at my website.
Ellison, written by Carolyn Miller, is book one in the Regency Brides A Legacy of Grace series. The story is set in Gloucestershire England in 1813.
Lavinia Ellison is the only child of the local minister. She lost her mother to a terrible accident when she was a little girl. Her mother's sister came to live with them and helped raise her. She spends much of her time helping out the local poor families. She takes them food and helps them when they are in need. She also tends to her own gardens and does not rely on servants to do her work.
Nicholas has just become the new Earl of Hawkesbury and has come to check on his property. He suspects something is wrong with the accounting of the property and find out the person in charge has not been caring for the homes of the workers as he should. The homes have been left to deteriorate resulting in many of the families becoming ill.
Lavinia holds many things against Nicholas. She blames him for the poor conditions of the worker's homes and hold her mother's death against him. When she gets sick, it is Nicholas who finds her and takes her to his home to help her get better. While she is staying there, his mother comes to visit. She notices the feeling Nicholas and Lavinia have for each other and does not approve. Nicholas must friend a wife that has a background similar to his.
After Nicholas returns to London, Lavinia's aunt takes her to meet her mother's family. Lavinia's mother was banned from her family when she married Lavinia's father and Lavinia has never know the truth of who she is.
The is a wonderful quick little story to read. The perfect story to curl up with and forget the world around you. It is a Historical Christian Romance but has suspense written within it as well. The author has used easy to understand words to bring the story to life. The story is a reminder to us of how the working class of that time was looked down upon. As well as the expectations of the upper class and what happened when they did not follow them. I enjoyed reading of Lavinia's love and generosity. I look forward to reading more books in this series.
I received a copy of this book from the author through Book Club Network. I have written an honest review.