28 February 2017

Review: The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

Debut Regency Romance

Amazon Description

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.

My Review

The Elusive Miss Ellison is everything a good Regency romance should be: it’s consistent with the writings of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and features plenty of wit and sparkle in the dialogue, especially that of the titular Miss Lavinnia Ellison. She reminds me of a combination of Austen and Heyer heroines, and there is a definite nod to the BBCs Ehle/Firth version of Pride and Prejudice in terms of the characters.

The plot isn’t P&P (thankfully), but again has echoes of Austen. The big difference (improvement?) is that The Elusive Miss Ellison is clearly Christian fiction: Livvie is a minister’s daughter with a real faith in God, and unwilling to be romantically involved with any man who doesn’t share her faith. Especially not the man she holds responsible for the death of her beloved mother, and who appears to hold too little regard for the wellbeing of his tenants.

Nicholas obviously has his own personal and faith journey, and I think his is the stronger story—he’s the one with the obvious character faults which need to be changed through the influence of a good woman. And perhaps her love as well ...

I’m a big Regency romance fan, so very much enjoyed the authentic Regency voice and attention to detail. Some of the writing was a little shaky, and the pacing was somewhat uneven. Parts of the novel sparkled with wit, but others felt as though the sparkled had been scrubbed out.

All the same, I’ll be keen to read the sequel, The Captivating Lady Charlotte (love the title!). Recommended for fans of Christian Regency romance.

Thanks to Kregel and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Carolyn Miller at her website

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