Publisher: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Buy Link: http://a.co/eMkyeMp
Blurb: Pride, prejudice and forgiveness…
Hampton Hall’s new owner has the villagers of St. Hampton Heath all aflutter–all except Lavinia Ellison. The reverend’s daughter cares for those who are poor and sick, and the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury definitely does not meet that criteria. His refusal to take his responsibilities seriously, or even darken the door of the church, leave her convinced he is as arrogant and reckless as his brother–his brother who stole the most important person in Lavinia’s world.
Nicholas Stamford is shadowed by guilt: his own, his brother’s, the legacy of war. A perfunctory visit to this dreary part of Gloucestershire wasn’t supposed to engage his heart, or his mind. Challenged by Miss Ellison’s fascinating blend of Bluestocking opinions, hoydenish behavior, and angelic voice, he finds the impossible becoming possible–he begins to care. But Lavinia’s aloof manner, society’s opposition and his ancestral obligations prove most frustrating, until scandal forces them to get along.
Can Lavinia and Nicholas look beyond painful pasts and present prejudice to see their future? And what will happen when Lavinia
My Review: I got this book from NetGalley (typically they tell you NOT to start with this information because readers will think your review is skewed…apparently I don’t care…), and it was a bit of a surprise actually. I think I was just browsing the shelves of NetGalley one day and I have a rule – I can request 3 books at a time. Once those three books are cycled through, I’ll go request 3 more. This keeps me from over-committing myself. I hate when I do that and find myself in a rebellious (to my self) cycle of hating everything I’m reading simply because I obligated myself to read it. It’s silly..but it happens. ANYHOW, I don’t remember requesting this book, but I’m sure I did. I do love a regency novel now and then, and the mere mention of Pride and Prejudice probably would have me hitting “request” pretty quickly. And I find the lavender in the cover rather pretty, I’m sure that helped some too. But when I got the email, I was like, ‘what is this madness??’
What I Loved: The setting of course is a given, I loved both Gloucestershire, and the small-town life and community. I also loved when the book picked up again in London, and all her glory. I so enjoyed Lavina and her strong-willed ways. Nicholas and his teasing and sarcasm. I truly enjoyed all of the characters in this book, even the characters who didn’t have redeeming qualities because they played their part in the story as a whole.
I do love the growth of the characters, especially Lavina, as she learned that her self-sacrificing ways were also a huge pride issue for her that had resulted in a prejudice, and judgmental spirit as well.
Another surprise for me was that this turned out to be a Christian novel. I’m sure I knew that when I requested it, but since I just started reading without looking at what I was reading again, I was like..oh, okay. I don’t always grab Christian novels because I find a lot of them to be a bit over ‘preachy’ – which I find unnecessary because well…Christians are the most likely to pick up a Christian novel. However, this book had a surprisingly good sermon included. The best I had ever read in a novel such as this. It was so good I took a few screen shots and posted it to social media. I was convicted as much as the characters of the story were. Surprise-surprise. I love when books buck my own judgmental ways!
Not So Much: I’m the first to tell you that I love a good re-tell. I seek them out, actually. But when I first started reading this, I kept wondering if it was supposed to be a Pride and Prejudice retell or not. Actually, I do think it was supposed to show reflections of the classic story, but it was a story all it’s own too. I’m still a bit confused on this issue.
Okay, so our main characters were so confused for almost this entire story. I felt like they did a lot of not-talking about what was going on, causing all kinds of misunderstandings. I am all for misunderstandings and reconciliations, but the number of times that Nicholas had to apologize started to get a bit ridiculous. I was at about 85% when this ball dropped again and nearly put the book down in frustration. There were plenty of other conflicts, in my opinion, that could have been expounded on, that this misunderstanding each other one needed to be laid to rest at some point.
The Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Even though I admit to having almost put it down, I am so glad I did not. As I was wrapping it up last night before bed, the ending of the novel left me with that happy glow of an excellently executed HEA. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to remark on how clean the novel was…but it is squeaky, and STILL a fantastic despite my small misgivings.