Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.
That's the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister's daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won't take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia's pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother--who stole the most important person in Livvie's world.
Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he's just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there's already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.
That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn't the only heart that needs to change.
These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society's opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.
Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister's daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God's grace and the true strength of love.
Enjoy the entire Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series!
1. The Elusive Miss Ellison
2. The Captivating Lady Charlotte
3. The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey
And don't miss Carolyn's new series Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope, coming in 2018!
About the Author
A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn's novels have won a number of Romance Writers of American (RWA) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers. Her favourite authors are classics like Jane Austen (of course!), Georgette Heyer, and Agatha Christie, but she also enjoys contemporary authors like Susan May Warren and Becky Wade.
Her stories are fun and witty, yet also deal with real issues, such as dealing with forgiveness, the nature of really loving versus 'true love', and other challenges we all face at different times.
Her books include:
Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace
The Elusive Miss Ellison
The Captivating Lady Charlotte
The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey
Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope
Winning Miss Winthrop
Miss Serena's Secret
The Making of Mrs. Hale
Regency Bride: Daughers of Aynsley
A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh
Underestimating Miss Cecilia
Misleading Miss Verity
Read an Excerpt
The Elusive Miss Ellison
Regency Brides A Legacy of Grace
By Carolyn Míller
Kregel PublicationsCopyright © 2017 Carolyn Miller
All rights reserved.
St. Hampton Heath
"Why, Livvie! Whatever are you doing?"
Lavinia Ellison placed down her gardening trowel, swiped perspiration from her brow, and smiled up at her friend. "Good morning, Sophy."
"Oh, er, yes, good morning." Sophia Milton's nose wrinkled as she peered at Lavinia's handiwork: a tall pile of weeds. "But where is Albert? Surely tending the garden is his responsibility. I know Mama would never permit me to do so, let alone without a hat —"
"Albert is tending our old Jersey. She has been rather ill lately." She avoided the question of permission. After all, neither the preparations for Papa's sermon nor Aunt Patience's Sunday school lesson deserved interruption for such a minor matter.
"Oh. That's unfortunate for you all."
Lavinia nodded as she dusted off her skirts. Sally's sad decline was unfortunate not just for their household, but for the poor families in the village blessed by her superior milk production. Still, God would provide. And if He didn't, Lavinia would find a way. She pushed the twinge of worry to one side and led the way indoors, cleaning up quickly before directing her guest to a seat in the morning room. She picked up her embroidery. "So, what brings you here on this glorious sunny day?"
"Oh, Livvie! You'll never guess who is coming tomorrow night!"
She swallowed a smile at her friend's wide cobalt eyes. Sophia Milton was notorious for her passions. "Alas, you are correct. Do tell."
"Father said the new earl has accepted the invitation to our musicale!" The new earl. Lavinia's chest tightened.
Sophia sighed. "I saw him from the window when he called on Papa yesterday.
He's ever so handsome. So tall and dark ..."
Yes, but a handsome appearance counted for naught unless matched by good character and actions. She quashed her uncharitable thought, offered a polite nod, and cast her attention back to her ever-frustrating needlepoint as her visitor continued listing his charms. Why Aunt Patience insisted that Lavinia embroider was beyond comprehension. The list of accomplishments for young ladies was ridiculously long, especially when young men did not have nearly so many requirements.
After Sophia finally stopped for breath Lavinia murmured, "Your mother must be very happy."
"Oh, yes! And Papa, too."
But of course the squire would be pleased. The second-largest landowner in the district had a wife whose social aspirations far surpassed their sizeable income. To receive such a distinction would prove most gratifying. She frowned at the miniscule mistake she'd just made in her stitching. Why couldn't sewing be simple and enjoyable, like music? She swallowed a sigh and glanced up.
Sophia's smile had dimmed. "But Mother has heard he is something of a flirt, so we should be on our guard."
"I hardly think I need be on my guard. I would think the prettiest girl in Gloucestershire should be more concerned about attracting attention." Lavinia gazed without envy at her visitor's artfully styled blond tresses, crimson cheeks, and fresh new muslin, overlaid with embroidered blue flowers. Lady Milton might have her shortcomings, but dressing her daughter to disadvantage was not one of them.
"Livvie, you do not seem terribly thrilled."
"You should know by now that I am quite unwilling to be excited about someone I have never met. But after I meet him, if indeed he does condescend to appear, I shall endeavor to seem excited for you. Will that suffice?"
Sophia laughed. "Must you always talk such nonsense?"
"I'm afraid I must, if only to balance some of the prosiness of ordinary conversation."
The younger girl's brows knit together. "Oh no!"
"What is it?"
"Now we know the earl shall attend, whatever shall I wear?"
Sophia soon swept from the house in a flutter of muslin and ecstasy, leaving Lavinia to open the window, drink in the delightful scent of the late flowering lilacs, and then exchange her embroidery for her sketchbook. As she sketched the glorious rainbow of pansies cascading down the garden's rock wall, she thought on the Earl of Hawkesbury she had once known.
Lord Robert had been as kind as her father: generous, interested in his neighbors, seeking the well-being of his tenants and the local village of St. Hampton Heath. A truly good man. But his death two years ago had precipitated a series of family tragedies. George, his younger brother, had died of influenza within six months of inheriting the title. Less than a year later, while his younger son had been engaged in heavy fighting on the Peninsular, George's elder son, James, had been killed in a hunting accident. Her fingers clenched. His death she could not even pretend to mourn.
A blur of tan-and-white fur leapt through the open window. Mickey barked and jumped onto her lap, as if sensing her disquietude. She hugged him close as her art pencils spilled to the floor. Perhaps Sophia and her parents were right to be excited about the district's new addition. Lately, Hampton Hall had taken on a slightly neglected look, thanks to the bailiff' s less than stellar efforts. And the family's prolonged absence meant the little things Lord Robert formerly noted, such as cottage roof repairs and sending baskets at Christmastime to the poor — services that made a great difference in the lives of the less fortunate — these things had been missed.
"If the new earl fulfills his obligations, he might prove a blessing, Mickey."
He barked his agreement, wriggled away, and dashed through the open window to the tangled underbrush of the rose garden beyond. Tangled underbrush she would resume clearing this afternoon, when Papa and Aunt Patience were sure to be absent and unable to object.
She returned her attention to her sketchbook, working to capture the purple heart of a pansy, until the swish of skirts announced her aunt's arrival. "So, little Sophia hopes to snag herself a Hawkesbury, does she?"
"I don't believe Sophy has any such idea, although Lady Milton may."
An appreciative twinkle lit her aunt's deep blue eyes. Over the past fourteen years, Lavinia had learned many things from this independent, intelligent woman, yet sometimes she still found it difficult to believe that Patience West was Mama's sister. Mama had lived up to her name. Grace had filled everything from her musical voice to her pretty mannerisms and her compassion for others. Patience's forthright, practical ways contrasted as strongly as her dark hair differed from Mama's — and Lavinia's own — fairness.
"That woman would be far better off teaching her daughters useful accomplishments and knowledge rather than filling their heads with frippery and empty dreams." Aunt Patience smoothed her severe gray dress, which matched Lavinia's.
Lavinia gestured to the discarded needlepoint. "Useful accomplishments?"
A thin smile escaped her aunt's lips. "One of these days, my dear girl, you will realize that not every worthwhile endeavor can be as enjoyable as writing letters to The Times."
Memories arose of the past week's efforts to bring solace to two poor tenant families, endeavors of far greater worth than needlepoint, and far from pleasant: The sour stench of sickness, only slightly alleviated by the aroma of the hearty beef stew she'd brought. Dark, dank cottages filled with a dense chill no fire could chase away. The sad-eyed desperation of wee children who seemed to suspect their mother might die soon. The old ache rippled across Lavinia's soul. Tears pricked. She blinked them away. The earl simply must help.
Her aunt patted her arm. "Worthy endeavors are most often rather less than enjoyable."
Lavinia nodded. Good deeds were not about personal pleasure but pleasing God: visiting the sick, biting one's tongue, rooting out envy, forgiving enemies.
And allowing the past to remain buried in the churchyard.
* * *
The seventh Earl of Hawkesbury leaned back in his saddle. Fields of sun-ripened barley waved golden in the June sunshine. The scent of fresh-dug earth filled his nostrils as a light breeze ruffled nearby hedgerows. In the distance, the village of St. Hampton Heath reposed peacefully, watched over by the gray-stoned church. Such an idyllic pastoral scene, yet its peace did little to ease the tension edging his heart.
Fourteen years since that disastrous day. Fourteen years filled with study, travel, and then war. Fourteen years spent avoiding this upcoming interview. Sweat beaded his brow as it had the first time he faced cannon fire. He swiped at the moisture, disciplined his limbs to remain still and not turn his horse for home.
Midnight snorted and stamped his hoof, impatience pulling at the bit.
He patted his horse's neck. "There, there, boy. This surely cannot be as bad as Burgos."
The great horse nickered, as if remembering the chaotic withdrawal of allied troops from that Spanish fortress amidst rain and cold.
Nicholas's jaw tightened. Too many good men had died or been captured in that campaign, back when he'd been plain Captain Stamford. Thank whatever gods may be for his horse whose faithfulness had brought him safely to Ciudad Rodrigo. He stroked the glossy mane with tender affection.
Midnight lowered his head, tugging at young grass.
"At least we have food now, don't we, boy?"
Midnight's ears flickered. No French cavalry had chased them harder than starvation, the pangs of hunger carving deeper than the bullet wound in his thigh.
No, the only thing chasing Nicholas now was his conscience.
He shook off the memories and squared his shoulders. "One can only hope this mission proves as unexceptionable as the first, eh?"
Small hope of that.
After wading through the paperwork his bailiff had prepared, his first port of call had been to visit the local squire and baronet. Sir Anthony's delight at his impromptu appearance had been cast in the shade by his effusive invitation to some local assembly, which made him wonder how many unmarried daughters the man had. All soldierly assurance had fled, replaced by mealymouthed capitulation. This visit would be equally trying, but for very different reasons.
"Come. We best get on, before someone overhears me talking to you, questions my sanity, and insists I be sent to Bedlam."
He tapped Midnight's flanks and rode down the drive. They soon arrived at a modest, red-brick manor house, surrounded by oaks and fruiting trees. A servant girl was kneeling in the adjoining weed-strewn garden.
"Excuse me," he called. "Is your master at home?"
The girl squinted up. Dirt smeared her face, her hair tucked under a monstrously ugly mobcap. He nudged Midnight closer. Her gray eyes widened and she backed away. Poor simpleton.
"There is nothing to be afraid of. He is a good horse."
She raised a hand to shade her eyes but said nothing. Perhaps she was a mute.
"I am the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury." How strange it felt to say so, like he was defrauding the world, just as his brother had defrauded his creditors. He swallowed bile. "Now, can you tell me if your master is within?"
The pink staining her face as he announced himself gave way to something rather less maidenly as she lifted her chin. "I cannot."
"I beg your pardon?" Who was this chit to refuse a major's command? To refuse an earl's command? He put iron in his voice. "Tell me, is your master home?"
He jerked a nod, wheeled Midnight around, and then paused. "Wait. Do you mean to say he is not home, or do you merely defy me?"
A trace of a smile flashed across her face before her features settled into coolness. "If you are enquiring about Mr. Ellison, he is at home. As for my master, I cannot be expected to own what I do not have."
He blinked. Perhaps he was the simpleton, after all. The most unusual servant girl picked up her basket of weeds and disappeared around the side of the house. He stared after her, until Midnight's restless nickering recalled him to his mission. He secured his horse, rapped on the heavy wooden door, and waited. Apparently the rude maid had neglected to inform anyone of the visitor. What kind of servant was she? And what did she mean by saying she had no master?
A rattle of locks dragged him from his musings. Another servant greeted him, wide-eyed with the customary awe his rank and fashion usually merited, and ushered him inside. Nicholas was announced and led into a cluttered drawing room, lined with bookcases.
An older gentleman looked up. "Lord Hawkesbury! Welcome back."
"Thank you." He sat at his host's request and studied the reverend. Deep lines creased a face topped with graying brown hair. He would have been somewhat plain save for a pair of shrewd gray eyes that gave cause to wonder just how much the older man saw.
"The village trusts you will enjoy your stay here."
"I hope, Mr. Ellison, those are your sentiments as well."
"Of course, sir."
Nicholas glanced away. A pianoforte stood near the window, stacked with an untidy pile of papers. "I never had the opportunity to say how very sorry I am for the incident of years ago."
Which was a lie. He'd had the opportunity. Uncle Robert had begged, cajoled, even threatened both of his nephews with banishment, but the pride running so deep in his mother had forbidden either of her sons to apologize.
He steeled himself to meet his host's justifiable recrimination — but saw compassion instead.
The shame doubled and redoubled, twisting his heart into knots. He forced himself to remain still and not squirm like a child. Many years had passed since anyone had made him feel quite so uncomfortable.
The reverend steepled his fingers and leaned back in his leather armchair.
"It was my understanding that it was your brother and his friend who were responsible."
He gave a small shrug, dropping his attention to his highly polished Hessians. "For the actual incident perhaps, but I fear my words goaded them. For that I am truly sorry." His gaze lifted.
"And I am truly sorry that you have carried this weight for so many years." Something like peace and acceptance suffused the reverend's face.
"You and your brother were forgiven a long time ago."
Nicholas swallowed. "By yourself?"
"Aye. And my daughter."
Memories flashed of the slight, golden-haired girl keening over a broken, bloodied body. He dragged guilty thoughts away and nodded stiffly. "Thank you, sir."
He glanced up at a lovely watercolor of St. Hampton Heath's old Norman church. The square stone tower and small curved windows had spoken of assurance for countless generations. Peace teased the restlessness within him.
"You will attend services?"
He suppressed a groan. Yet another duty he had no wish to perform. "Perhaps." The wise eyes seemed to search his soul, prompting a more enthusiastic, "I will try."
The reverend nodded. "I believe it will be a great blessing for our little village to have one such as yourself take an interest." He smiled gently. "I trust your time here will also prove a great blessing for you, my lord."
His throat cinched. The undeserved warmth and kindness filling the drawing room seemed to almost choke him. He couldn't take another jot. He rose. "Thank you, Mr. Ellison. Good day, sir."
After exchanging a slight bow with his surprised host, he exited the room and strode down the dim hall to the front entrance, fresh air, and freedom.
He dragged in great cleansing breaths as he untied Midnight, his heart hammering its insistence that he get away. His fingers seemed clumsier than when he was a boy in short pants.
From somewhere inside, a door slammed.
As he mounted his horse, a dark gleam of gold flashed through the apple trees on the manor's southern side. A small beagle appeared, yapping at Midnight's heels, drawing a dismissive snort from the great beast. Nicholas wheeled his horse around, down the dusty drive, back toward the lonely three-storied stone pile that was the countryseat of the Earl of Hawkesbury.
His inheritance. Not a blessing, like the reverend seemed to believe, but both a burden and a curse.CHAPTER 2
Lavinia clasped the leather hand strap as the carriage wheels rumbled over the uneven drive. She glanced at her aunt, seated opposite, whose jerky movements mimicked Lavinia's own.
"I declare, for a man of Sir Anthony's means, he keeps this road in shocking disrepair."
"We're almost there, Aunt Patience."
"I'm sure the only reason Cornelia Milton insisted we attend tonight was to show off her overdressed house and overdressed daughters."
"And to welcome back the earl," Papa offered mildly.
Excerpted from The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Míller. Copyright © 2017 Carolyn Miller. Excerpted by permission of Kregel Publications.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What a luscious book! It would be excellent made into a movie, with Benedict CumberBach playing the Earl. Benedict has perfected that look down your nose look intermixed with tender vulnerability. This story is faith filled, with the explanation of deliverance. It also intricately weaves the life of a poor church girl with the ton, making clear where true importance is. If you love Recency Christian novels, put this at the top of your list. It will not disappoint.
I absolutely love this story about Lavinia and her Nicholas. I only wish their wedding was part of the story as well as an epilogue.!
One of the best i have read in awhile
I’m be no means puritanical but it’s refreshing to read a Regency novel that relies on writing and story telling rather than bodice wrapping ever other page.
"The Elusive Miss Ellison" by Carolyn Miller 2017 Debut novel Book One in Legacy of Grace Series I picked this book off the library shelf because I loved the dress on the cover. I know that's not a good reason to read a book but I found Carolyn Miller's writing to be so very interesting. This is an inspirational historical novel. Nicholas, the Earl of Hawkesbury has inherited his title after his brother had died. He returned to St Hampton Heath to get away from London and the match making mamas. The first thing he did was to go to the Reverend at the local church and ask for forgiveness. When he was fifteen, he had egged his brother into racing a friend. His brother had traveled down the village road without care and ran down the vicar's wife who died because of the accident. The vicar's small daughter had witnessed it. Lavinia, the vicar's daughter, sees Nicholas as the brother of the man who killed her mother. Nicholas was intrigued by the elusive Miss Lavinia Ellison. She challenged him at every turn to look into his heart and learn to forgive himself. This brought him to find comfort in turning to the Lord. Lavinia comes to the understanding that she too has to find strength to forgive and not judge Nicholas. Secrets abound. The story goes to London. But can Nicholas and Lavinia's differences be too much to overcome? Will God give them the gift of Love? I'd tell you more but that would spoil the story for you. This book is well worth reading. Happy reading!
The first book of the Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series begins with a comfortably traditional approach to Regency romance. The country setting, character dynamics, and storyline gave me the initial impression of a lovely faith meets Pride & Prejudice inspired tale. Lavinia Ellison's passionate concern for and service of the less fortunate leaves her frustrated with those who have greater resources yet fail to meet even the basic needs of their dependents. Nicholas Stamford is a well-rounded character with his military background and willingness to learn and consider other perspectives. Despite my high expectations, I found this story to be much more than everything that I hope for in a Regency romance! The historical, spiritual, and relational elements, the overall story flow, plot, and characters… everything about this story is exceptional.
The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller is book one of the series, Regency Brides, a Legacy of Grace. This is a light, entertaining historical romance set in Gloucestershire, England and later in London, in 1813. Lavinia Ellison, very attractive daughter of a village minister, demonstrates her faith by caring for the poor and needy and seeking to alleviate any burdens that they bear. The seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, Nicholas, whose father had overseen his duties and assisted the less fortunate under his care, was handsome, tall and dark. Yet, Lavinia told her friend Sophia that a handsome appearance counted for little, if not matched by good character and deeds. Nicolas Hawkesbury seemed aloof to the problems of the people under his jurisdiction. Their first encounter did not go well. Nicolas mistook Lavinia for a poor simpleton when he saw her working in the garden and asked her if her master was within. That careless introduction coupled with the horrendous incident from years ago did not bode well for a friendly relationship. Many twists and turns in the plot lead to an engaging story. This novel is a well-crafted story with intriguing central characters and several minor characters that add depth and entertainment. I look forward to book two, The Captivating Lady Charlotte. I recommend this book which I received through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
If you have ever read Jane Austen and enjoyed her writing, if you have ever read Georgette Heyer and enjoyed her books, then you need to read 'The Elusive Miss Ellison'. Fans of the Regency era now have a new author to enjoy and new books to look forward to because this is the first book in a new Regency series by Carolyn Miller. Lavinia (Miss Ellison) and Lord Nicholas Hawkesbury are complex characters with both strengths and flaws and this is what made them so real to me. Lavinia has great faith and tremendous concern for the poor but she is a proud young woman who finds it hard to forgive. Nicholas is proud also but his pride borders on haughtiness because of his social standing. The courage and leadership that Nicholas displayed as a soldier both seem to be missing as he begins to fill his role as the new Earl of Hawkesbury. From their first meeting we are able to witness the romantic tension between Lavinia and Nicholas as they spar with words and the dialogue between them is very humorous. We soon see, however, that 'The Elusive Miss Ellison' has so much more. It also has the elements that fill a classic Regency drama. We see the rules that define each social class and the expectations that each person will remain in their own class. This book, however, has the underlying theme of forgiveness, both human and divine. As we witness these characters' spiritual journeys we are reminded that it is through God's grace that all of us can be forgiven! I received a copy of this book from The BookClub Network and the author. This review is my own opinion.
Regency romance is not my usual reading preference but The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller was a joy to immerse myself in. Its fast pace and rich period details made this a tough book to put down! I learned so much about the social conventions of the time period. My only wish as I read was that there had been illustrations of the gorgeous dresses Ms. Miller describes so eloquently. Lavinia Ellison has grown up believing that a man's heart is far more important than his wealth. As the daughter of the town vicar, she spends her days caring for the poorest in her town or making life a bit easier for their aging servants. She is unimpressed when her best friend gushes the news that the new earl is in residence at the Hall and he's not only young, he's also very handsome. Livvie's first concern is, will he finally fix his tenants' housing? She has no interest in the earl. After all, his brother's recklessness stole one of the most important people in her. world from her. Nicholas Stamford, Earl of Hawkesbury, is used to being fawned over by beautiful girls and their mothers. When he meets Lavinia and she treats him as misbehaving equal, he is intrigued. The more he gets to know her, the more he sees her sincere heart and strong faith. As his regard for her grows, she challenges him in ways no other has. Can he stand, though, against what society expects of him in order to pursue the love he wants? I loved the push and pull that the earl and Lavinia had going on in this book. They spoke to each other at such cross purposes sometimes that I wondered if they were ever going to figure out the reasons for their jealousies. Many of the secondary characters were also so well drawn that they nearly stepped off the page - in particular, Lady Hawkesbury, the Earl 's mother, and Livvie's friend, Sophy. Fans of Regency romance will definitely want to pick this one up but I think any romance reader, even if you prefer another era, will enjoy this. There is a strong faith element for the Christian romance reader, as well. This is a quick, beautiful read that is easy to get into with a strong, honorable hero and an equally strong, principled heroine. If, like me, this is a new author, don't let that scare you off! You won't regret picking up The Elusive Miss Ellison!
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.
Oh my goodness. Where do I begin? This novel is beyond anything I imagined. The characters are so exquisitely written, the plot completely engaging, and the wit! The wit is so well executed. I love this story, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a well-written Regency-Era story. This novel is a page-turner; when I had to put it down, I was sad to do so. I am very excited for June to come because book 2 in this series will be available. I cannot say enough positive about this book. So good! Ms. Miller is a fantastic writer, and I hope she will continue writing amazing stories for years and years to come!
I loved this story by Carolyn Miller! It transports you back to the Regency period that so many of us love and adore after reading books by Jane Austin. When the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury returns to the village after being gone for fourteen years many of the town folks are excited and impressed by him, but Lavinia Ellison finds his mannerisms off putting. They soon develop a witty banter when they see one another, but both of them soon feel led by the Lord to find neutral ground and make peace while finding similar interest and causes. The more they are around one another the more they both realize how they have misjudged each other and their feelings soon change, but being from different stations in society makes their relationship uncertain. I was given an ARC from the author/publisher. All conclusions are mine and mine alone.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller, © 2017 Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace, Book 1 Regency England 1813 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..." --Romans 1:20a 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!
4.5 Stars THE ELUSIVE MISS ELLISON was a joy to read from the very first page! With a very Austenesque feel, charming characters, plenty of romantic tension, and a plot with a few twists here and there, it is sure to keep readers intrigued and ready for more from this new promising inspirational author. I loved these characters! I loved Lavinia with all her honest, although sometimes cutting, remarks. She was so willing to help others and to also let those around her shine. A good friend. A good daughter and niece. She also had to wade through her conflicting world to find what was true and where her happily-ever-after would be. I also loved Nicholas. He was such a contradiction at times, but really just a slightly tortured and lost man with all his brooding looks and high-societal charm. Very Darcy-like. There was a lot more to him than first impressions and looks. Together, they make for some entertaining banter and some nice sparks. I also appreciated that the religious element felt authentic and natural. I enjoyed this aspect of the story quite a lot. I also appreciated that the author let her characters waver and doubt, not only with regards to their faith in some places, but also as to trusting their hearts and other people. Some aspects were a little too perfectly tied up or unrealistic, but not enough so that they hindered my enjoyment of the story. In the end, was it what I wished for? Yes! I loved how this story made me fall in love with these characters and brought out all the feels. It was sweet, heartbreaking, frustrating, and beautiful in equal parts. I can't wait for the next book in this series, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, which is to be released in June! Content: Clean Source: Received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity, which did not require a review nor affect it in any way.
Delightful clean Regency reading... The Elusive Miss Ellison Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace #1 By Carolyn Miller 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.
Delectably sweet and genteel and a highly recommended read for teens and adults of any age. The author takes the reader back to a gentler, nobler time and shows the differences between the haves and have nots and how one sweet pastor's daughter seeks to help the have nots. The story is infused with a budding romance between the Earl and the pastor's daughter although their society's mores coupled with Miss Ellison's strong minded will and contempt for the arrogance she perceives in the Earl (Nicholas) seems to doom it from ever blossoming. A serious illness coupled with Miss Ellison falling ill and collapsing along the path home during a raging winter storm brings the two together although it still looks as though a relationship is doomed. I am looking forward to reading more from the author, Carolyn Miller as she carries us further into the lives of those who lived during this period of history. DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review of my personal opinions which are freely given.
I thoroughly enjoyed Carolyn Miller’s 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 Heyer’s 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 God’s 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. There’s 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.
I received a copy of THE ELUSIVE MISS ELLISON by Carolyn Miller from Kregel in exchange for an honest review. It is the first installment in the Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series. This book is delightful! I have been sick since February (a cold that just will not go!), so I settled down on the couch thinking to read through this over the space of a few days. Imagine my surprise when it sucked up my entire day and left me wanting more! The Regency world comes alive for Carolyn Miller. I’ve read Regency romances before, and they have never transported me the way THE ELUSIVE MISS ELLISON did. It is strongly reminiscent of Jane Austen’s works. When compared to those other Regencies I’ve read, I found these characters had more depth and dimension. The personalities are vibrant. They weren’t just focused on the romance. This book is also free of smut. (It can be considered Christian fiction) Granted, I knew what I was getting with some of those other Regency Romances. The covers involved a shirtless man in most cases. Without the smut, I found this book to offer much more adventure and heart. I have a friend with the last name of Ellison, so I pictured her as Lavinia Ellison while I read.
Oh be still my Regency-loving heart! With shades of Austen and Heyer, Carolyn Miller’s The Elusive Miss Ellison had me swooning and holding my breath and chuckling and smiling and even tearful a couple of times. If you love the battle of wits between Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, you will adore Lavinia and Nicholas. Lavinia’s sharp comebacks and strong opinions combined with Nicholas’ brooding arrogance … their conversations are delightfully droll, though you may find yourself wincing a time or two at the sting. Perhaps my favorite thing about this book (besides the romance and vocabulary – more on each later) is the way both of these characters develop and grow from beginning to end. Both are humbled along the way, their hearts softened, and (dare i say) their pride and prejudices chiseled away by God’s grace and truth. The Elusive Miss Ellison is a fantastic addition to a regency fan’s library. The characters for the next books are minor characters in this first book, piquing our interest and ensuring we will be waiting eagerly for their stories. Lavinia and Nick are both flawed, purposefully so, and this makes them relatable as well as increasing the tension between them – both emotional and romantical. A delightful book from start to finish! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.)
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.
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.
2.5 It’s always fun to get the chance to read an author’s debut novel. A new voice to the mix keeps things fresh. That’s one reason I decided to join in and review Carolyn Miller’s 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). I’m 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 wasn’t sure why Nicholas didn’t 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 that’s always a good thing. Plus, I’m curious what will happen in the next two novels. Also, if you prefer stories with strong faith conversations and scenes, then this is one you’ll 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/
First, isn't the cover just beautiful? That alone made me want to read this book. So, I will be honest, it took me a couple of chapters before I liked this book. The first chapters didn't grab my mind and I was sure I wasn't going to enjoy this story. But I kept reading and I am glad I did. I really did enjoy this story very much. The cast of characters are all unique and the town in which it is set becomes very clear and endearing. It almost has a Pride and Prejudice kind of feel to it. Both Lavinia and Nicholas are so stubborn. Just when one begins to soften then something happens to make them not be able to stand each other. The give and take to this book was timed perfectly to push the reader forward and into the lives of these characters. I will be anxious to read the read of this series. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.