Review of “The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey” (Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace #3) by Carolyn Miller

Miller, Carolyn. The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-0-8254-4452-4. $14.99 USD. 

4.5 stars

It can be hard to make an antagonist from a prior book likable, even sympathetic, but Carolyn Miller does just that with The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey. While it was evident in the prior books that a lot of the machinations were due to her mother, I got a greater isense of how her mother’s plans for her and the events of the past two books affected her, to the point of being at her lowest when we meet her in the opening pages of this book. I loved seeing her grow from someone who was lost and didn’t really have a purpose to someone who had a new appreciation for life.

I loved Benjamin as a character almost immediately, because I felt that he loved his family, and he had a great sense of what was the right thing to do, as displayed by his actions in the Navy. And while he is given the cliche reward of title and money at the end, meaning he is a suitable marriage partner for Clara, it is not as important as the fact that they’re both good people who have grown and changed, and love each other.

I must also commend Miller on writing wonderful supporting characters. I was rooting for the romance between Lord Featherington and Tessa to work out, and I’m glad it did, even though it did feel a bit unrealistic for the times.  And as Miller has been compared to Jane Austen (and rightly so), and I feel like the comparison remains justified, with her writing commentary regarding the importance of a person’s character over their material goods, which sets it apart from the many rich, alpha-duke romances on the market today.

 

Review of “The Captivating Lady Charlotte” (Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace #2) by Carolyn Miller

Miller, Carolyn. The Captivating Lady Charlotte. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-0-8254-4451-7. $14.99 USD. 

4 stars

Carolyn Miller’s second book, while not as great as the first, is still a wonderful read in offering flawed, but intriguing characters. , in taking two characters who aren’t that likable on the surface and making you sympathize with them.

In the vein of Austen’s Marianne Dashwood, Charlotte is an immature heroine at the beginning who is absorbed only in what she wants, and is blind to the hero’s good qualities because of her fascination with someone else. But the novel shows her come of age, growing out of her youthful infatuation with a highly unsuitable man and growing to respect and love the Duke of Hartington.

William has his own issues, and there are definitely moments when he doesn’t come off as that sympathetic either, but he is a great match for Charlotte. And while occasionally he can seem a bit self-righteous (not to mention the way this book incorporates the Big Misunderstanding), I did enjoy him as a character. And there is a lovely conversation at one point about his interesting in doing charity with the less fortunate, because it’s the right thing to do as a good Christian, that when juxtaposed with the hedonistic behaviors of the ton, this idea resonates even today.

One thing that did bug me was the constant references to his age, when he is mentioned as being at most thirty years old. I know it was a different time, that a decade older can seem like a lot for a woman of around eighteen or nineteen, and that this was meant to draw comparisons to Marianne’s disparaging of Colonel Brandon, which also seems illogical. While life expectancy in those times wasn’t as long as it is today, considering that men married a bit later than women, and widowers were encouraged to marry again if their wife died, especially if they did not yet have an heir (as is addressed in the book), it did feel a bit odd to have the age gap constantly brought up.

On the topic of children, it is a refreshing that we get to see the realities that women faced, both then and now, when it came to the struggle to have children. So many romances end on a happy note, and if it’s a series, a couple from an earlier book will turn up wrapped in marital and parental bliss. To see an author depict a couple dealing with hardship and having to work through it is incredibly inspirational.

 

Review of “The Elusive Miss Ellison” (Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace #1) by Carolyn Miller

Miller, Carolyn, The Elusive Miss Ellison. Grand Raprompids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-0-8254-4450-0. $14,99 USD. 

4.5 stars

The Elusive Miss Ellison is a sweet first romance in the tradition of Austen and Heyer. And while Miller does make some allusions to both authors in her basic plot and characterization, there are other ways in which she develops the story to make it stand out in an incredibly popular genre.

Lavinia and Nicholas are both complex, sympathetic characters. And while the story begins with a tragedy in their past that has led to animosity between them, fueled by their differences in station and ideals, you get a sense that they develop an understanding of each other as the story progresses prior to romance even being a consideration, as they both begin to change and develop a greater understanding of each other.

While Miller is a bit inconsistent with some of the intricacies of the aristocratic world (such as forms of address and courtesy titles), she does manage to surprise even a  seasoned Regency reader like myself with a few unexpected historical tidbits.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a great, sweet Regency romance.