National Book Lover's Day is finally upon us!!!
Which means that....
THE REBELLIOUS WRITING PAGE IS UP!!!!!
I know, I'm celebrating late. I couldn't help it, I didn't get my post done before this morning, which meant that I had to wait until after I got off of work - which was late, go figure.
But...that means I can give a stats picture!!! We already have a grand total of 20 followers and 620+ page views...in 14 hours!!!! AHHHHH....so exciting!!!
Seriously, go check it out our website and our kick-off post with all the founders!
Seeing as how this is National Book Lover's Day, I decided to not just do an announcement post, but also a book review post! I've hinted about this in my last post, but I didn't expect the timing to work out to do it today!!!
So. last week, I was snooping around my Kindle bookstore (as I do every couple of weeks or so) looking for the latest freebie kindle book to snag.
And I struck book gold by finding not just one, but two really awesome period drama books written by Carolyn Miller. They were the first two books of a series called Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace. This is a new series - Book 2 (The Captivating Lady Charlotte) came out this past June and Book 3 is set to come out this October.
Being the rebel that I am, I ended up reading the second book first. Actually, to be fair, the second interested me more than the first one. And the second one made me decide to get the first one. I will say though - there are spoilers for the first one in the second one. So read the first one first :).
In this post, I'll be reviewing both Book 1 (The Elusive Miss Ellison) and Book 2 (The Captivating Lady Charlotte). I'll give my synopsis of the work, what I liked/disliked, and #RebelliousWriting ratings (swearing, abuse and lust ratings, overall rating, and movie/age ratings).
The Elusive Miss Ellison:
|From Amazon.com. Check out the book HERE|
Lavinia Ellison is the only maiden that is not besotted by the new 7th earl of Hawkesbury. And with good reason. Besides her family's long-standing dislike of the family, Lord Hawkesbury has a seeming disdain for the poor tenants on his estate - a crime that Lavinia finds unacceptable.
Nicholas Stamford, Earl of Hawkesbury and recent war hero, is finally coming home to take over his uncle's estate, complete with emotional baggage - not just from the recent Spanish wars, but also from the irresponsible actions of his relatives years ago. Bored with all the coquettish airs of the local girls, he finds himself annoyed with (and attracted to) the literary and downright sassy minister's daughter.
When Lavinia's generosity suddenly puts her life in mortal danger, long-buried secrets and feelings threaten to be revealed....but will it be a hope or a detriment to Lavinia and Nicholas's future?
What I liked:
- Anybody that knows me knows that I love sass. Lavinia is definitely a sassy young lady, especially in the beginning. Her initial conversations with Lord Hawkesbury remind me of the initial conversations between Elizabeth Thatcher and Jack Thornton in When Calls the Heart.
- This book really brought out a Catholic principle that doesn't get a lot of attention: the upper classes having the responsibility of helping the poor (especially tenants). A lot of period drama seems to scorn the lower classes, focusing on balls and "other flippery" if I may quote Lavinia's Aunt Patience. It's refreshing to see the poorer people enter into the story for once.
- The romance developed slowly. It was much more of a "stuck on you" romance than a quick burst, which I really liked.
- Like the romance, the change in Lord Hawkesbury's character was also slow. Carolyn Miller really did a good job of showing changing emotions and feelings as they truly happen.
- Lavinia is a modest young lady and Lord Hawkesbury appreciates her as such. Fangirl worthy for me!!
What I didn't like:
- Some of Lavina's "disappearances" were a little off to me. I get that she isn't a typical early 1800s lady, and she visits a lot of the poor and thus remains elusive that way. But disappearing in a house while she sick and then shrugging it off as a habit? Jarring, to say the least.
- There were some rather obvious references to Jane Austen's works in some areas. While she did a good job of hiding most of them, one stuck out like a sore thumb. (Hint: haircut).
- There was, at one point towards the end, a seemingly small but somewhat major editing mistake. Lord Hawkesbury is notified of certain events by one of his servants, Giles. Giles leaves. Lord Hawkesbury almost immediately calls him back, tells Giles all that he told his Lordship before, with the servant acting as if he didn't know, and then the story continues as normal. Now, I think that Miller may have intended to put another servant's name in there the second time instead of Giles (Edwin would be a good guess), but it never happened. Whatever the case may be, it was still jarring.
- Little incidents that didn't have enough foreshadowing to make sense in the bigger narrative (Dora).
- The "redemption" plotline. While handled better in this book than some of the others I've read and liked, it still has a cliche feel to it. And to be honest, I have problems with redemption story lines because a lot clash with Catholic doctrine, which makes me uncomfortable.
- I came into this book looking for answers on how that feud between the Hawkesbury and Salisbury families (remember, I read the second one first, so I was a little confused). I got some, but not enough.
Swearing: None spelled out (alluded to)
Abuse: Alcohol is certainly mentioned, but there is no drunkenness.
Lust: Towards the end, there is a scene where immodesty leads to an assault.
Movie/Age Rating: PG, but I would recommend 14+ (due to the assault).
The Captivating Lady Charlotte
|From Amazon.com. Check out the book HERE|
Lady Charlotte Featherington, daughter of the Marquess of Exeter, is experiencing her first Season, and is quickly realizing that being a debutante is not just attending balls. Despite the fact that she is infatuated with a striking young lord, her parents (especially her silly mother) wish her matched to the Duke of Hartington - not only an unhandsome and boring recent widower, but one shrouded in scandal, no less!
William Hartwell, Duke of Hartington, has had enough of the ill-hidden whispers concerning his first wife. He finds relief in the compassionate eyes of the marquess's daughter, and further interactions with her kindles a longing attraction to her captivatingly vibrant personality. But malignant forces, both physical and emotional, are draining his confidence and his sense of security.
Will Charlotte put her feet upon the ground, or will William be forced to always look at reminders of his shattered past?
What I liked:
- Again, Carolyn Miller captured the emotions of each character spot on. Everything from Charlotte's giddiness with a crush to the Duke of Hartington's crashing despair at losing his wife.
- Speaking of which, can I just applaud the way that Hartington remained faithful to his unfaithful wife? Or how his relationship with Rose changed? (Sorry guys, I can't give too much more because of spoilers).
- This book really showed how gossip can really hurt people, which you don't see often either.
- The culprit behind the mysterious "incidents" really did remain mysterious until the climax.
- The Duke of Hartington is a progressive farmer and backer of innovation. You normally don't see these in a period piece like this. I found it fascinating (then again, I am a farmgirl at heart)
- The dry humor, like the first, is excellent.
- Hartington is the sweetest, most attentive, most kind, most patient man EVER. Just goes to show that looks don't always reveal the character, and that men CAN be emotional - hide it as they may.
- I loved watching Charlotte and William fall in love with each other.
- The book cover is honestly prettier than the first one :) I love the peacock blue and the white.
- Some modern colloquialisms did sneak in.
- I noticed a theme of similar names between the books. I wish the author had been a bit more original and done completely different names, but that is just my opinion.
- Bella (a horse) is portrayed as being a very young horse (less than 2 years old) but already broken enough for a lady to ride. To me, that's a little farfetched. I would have believed 2 1/2 years, not less than 2.
- There was some instances where unnecessary drama was put into the story.
Swearing: None, not even alluded to.
Abuse: strained family politics, but no explicit abuse situations.
Lust: Some unwanted advances, wife's infidelity mentioned several times.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩ (4 1/2 stars)
Movie/Age Rating: PG-13 for adult situations.
So ends my reviews for these two awesome books! I could literally fangirl about these books for much longer though....the characters especially!!!
Have any of you guys read these books? Is the Rebellious Writing website as good as what you thought it was? Tell me, I'm curious!