“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.
This is the first is a new Regency romance series by Carolyn Miller.
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 pre-ordered.
Thank you to Kregel for my complimentary copy of The Elusive Miss Ellison, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read The Elusive Miss Ellison? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 28 February 2017
Page Count: 304