"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.
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.