~ About the Book ~
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.
~ Excerpt ~
“Good day, Miss Ellison.”
She glanced up. “Lord Hawkesbury.”
The dog began its usual tiresome racket. “Can’t that thing stop its infernal barking?”
Her eyes narrowed. She turned and with a low command, the dog quieted.
Midnight snorted. She stepped farther away. Surely she didn’t dislike him that much.
“Is something wrong?”
He nudged Midnight closer. Her steps shied away again. “Are you sure?”
“I do not like horses, sir.”
“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
She shot him a look of disbelief, but behind the mutinous lift to her chin he glimpsed fear. Guilt shot through him as he recalled her well-deserved reason for trepidation, and he mollified his tone. “Have you been to the village?”
She nodded. “Mrs. Foster, one of your tenants, has been unwell.”
“I trust she will soon recover.”
“She’d recover a great deal sooner if her house were in better repair.”
“Then she should repair it.”
“Precisely how should a poor widow repair her house?” The gray eyes flashed. “Tenant housing is your responsibility, Lord Hawkesbury.”
“Johnson is supposed to check—”
“Yes, well, your bailiff is supposed to do many things.”
“I will look into it.”
“Soon, I hope.” Her voice gentled. “Mrs. Foster is a dear lady, but aged. Another winter in such housing might be her last.”
Weight settled on his shoulders as she walked away. Wonderful. Yet more responsibility. He wheeled Midnight around and followed her. “I believe, even in these parts, that it’s not the usual thing for young ladies to be out walking without any escort.”
Her shoulders lifted in a slight shrug. “So Lady Milton tells me.”
“What should happen if someone should wish to harm you?”
She glanced up at him sideways.”Like carry me off to ravish me?”
“Everyone around here knows me, and I don’t think anyone would dare try.”
“You should be more prudent with your words. Green girls should not be so vulgar.”
“But I am not such a green girl! I am three and twenty.”
His eyebrows rose. Her fresh looks marked her as younger. “Young ladies of my acquaintance do not speak so vulgarly.”
“But I am not such a young lady, and you and I are barely acquainted, so your opinions need not concern me.”
“But your safety!”
She shrugged again. “I have Mickey to keep me company. He’s as good as any person.”
“That thing?” He sneered as the dog bounded across the meadow chasing a butterfly.
Two splotches of red highlighted her cheeks. “That thing can bite, so pray do not misjudge what you cannot know anything about.” She turned and whistled. “Come, Mickey.”
Without a backward glance she set off up the hill again, her marked independence leaving him in a mess of frustration—and reluctant admiration.
~ Review ~
Readers of inspirational Regency romance have much to look forward to with this debut release from Australian author Carolyn Miller. It’s just the kind of unhurried excursion into Regency life that begs you to find a cozy book-nook to curl up in, so that the here and now can fade away for a few hours. And fade it will, for this is an easy story to be drawn into.
Carolyn Miller did a lovely job of evoking the Regency era in the style of her writing, and readers familiar with Austen’s works, particularly Pride & Prejudice, will recognize a few familiar lines here and there throughout the novel. The author also did a lovely job of bringing the country setting to life. I know London has all the glamour and excitement (and we do head that way toward the end of the novel), but there’s something about the English countryside and the lifestyle there that feels so cozy—provided you’re not a poor tenant waiting for necessary maintenance and improvements to be carried out, of course. And therein lies just one of the problems plaguing Lord Hawkesbury when he arrives in Gloucestershire.
Miss Lavinia Ellison makes quick work of becoming another of Lord Hawkesbury’s problems with her forthright opinions, independent ways, and determination to help those in need. And the fact that he doesn’t appear to be very attentive to her father’s sermons certainly doesn’t raise him in her estimation! The banter between Lord Hawkesbury and Lavinia was very enjoyable for the most part, but there were times when they came across as a little capricious and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of them or their relationship. Both characters were aware of this to a certain extent, and I liked that part of Lavinia’s growth as a character was discovering that virtues can become stumbling blocks if we do not take care to examine our attitude, but I still felt that their relationship see-sawed more than was necessary.
The second half of the novel took a surprising turn that I thought could have been more convincing if it had been foreshadowed earlier in the novel. Nevertheless, the story held me firmly in its grasp until the end, and I look forward to reading the next two books in the series as they release later in the year.
I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley. This has not influenced the content of my review.
Release date: 28 February 2017
Series: #1 Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace
Publisher: Kregal Publications
~ Coming Soon ~
~ About the Author ~
I’m an Inspirational Regency romance author who lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia with my husband and four children. I love reading (especially Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer), music, films, gardens, art, travel and food. I really enjoy creating worlds where flawed people can grow in faith, hope and love.