The Elusive Miss Ellison, by Carolyn Miller

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

“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.

First Thoughts:

This is the first is a new Regency romance series by Carolyn Miller.

My Take:

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.

Excerpt

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Publication Date: 28 February 2017

Page Count: 304

Read more on:   Carolyn Miller’s Website   Kregel’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

An Uncommon Courtship, by Kristi Ann Hunter

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn’t be happier he is not the duke in the family. Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever.

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister’s shadow–which worked until her sister got married. But even with her socially ambitious mother’s focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she’s been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide’s marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?

First Thoughts:

This is the third novel in the Hawthorne House series, focusing on younger brother Trent.

My Take:

In Kristi Ann Hunter’s latest novel we have the tale of two people getting to know each other AFTER getting married and trying to reconcile their dreams with reality. Trent and Adelaide’s marriage isn’t an arranged one, but is the result of an embarrassing situation. Trent doesn’t think he’s ready for marriage and Adelaide soon realizes how little she knows about running a home.

There are two connected themes in An Uncommon Courtship. The first is that life is unpredictable. The second is that God’s plans are not our plans. The awkwardness of the situation shines through quickly and I was both sympathetic and annoyed with the characters for some of their actions. I felt sorry for Adelaide, given her mother’s treatment of her, and thought she was better off in this difficult marriage. Trent’s family are lovely, even second sister Georgina who was impossible to like at the start of this series. Trent seeks advice from other men, and there’s a good emphasis on the Biblical perspective of marriage. There is a lot of tactful discussion about relations between a man and a woman, and some physical moments described, but the couple concerned is married and there’s nothing to make a reader squirm.

I finished this book hoping there would be one more book in the series. After all, oldest sibling Griffith has yet to make a match. It’s great, therefore, to discover that there will be a fourth title. An Inconvenient Beauty will be released later this year.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary electronic copy of An Uncommon Courtship, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read An Uncommon Courtship? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Author Q and A

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 03 January 2017

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Kristi Ann Hunter’s Website   Bethany House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, by Julie Klassen

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Welcome to the English village of Ivy Hill, where friendships thrive, romance blossoms, and mysteries await. . . .

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

First Thoughts:

Regency romance writer Julie Klassen returns with the first book in her first series.

Read on for my review, bonus videos, and an excerpt from the book.

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