Mercy's Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot's Story

From the Publisher:
Elizabeth Elliot is as beautiful as ever, yet no gentleman of proper stature has requested her hand. Lady Russell claims she is too particular, but Elizabeth begs to differ. She is not about to settle for a gentleman of no distinction like her sister Mary. Nor will she follow her heart and marry a commoner with no title but Captain—that was Anne’s mistake. As for romance and the tender stirrings of the heart, why, only a simpleton would fall prey to such foolishness!
 But when the proud Miss Elliot encounters a pair of smiling Irish eyes in a most unsuitable man of vulgar connections, she is tempted to change her opinion. Almost.
According to Elizabeth Elliot, a man must possess three qualities in order to be considered eligible: good breeding, good looks, and a good income. As her thirtieth birthday draws near, Elizabeth is beginning to wonder if a man can truly possess all three qualities. Surely two out of three isn’t bad…right? As for matters of the heart, one must be a simpleton, indeed, to believe there is a chance of falling in love with a man who bears all of these.

So Rough a Course

Beautiful as ever, Elizabeth Elliot is determined to end this Season with a secure future. But to whom does she set her cap? Her very rich, yet disreputable cousin, William Elliot, who will make her the next Lady Elliot? The foolish and portly Mr. Rushworth with his large fortune and extensive estate? She can’t possibly consider clerk Patrick Gill a suitable match, even with his captivating conversation, and ability to make Elizabeth smile while also properly humbling her, for he has no title or money. Well! Elizabeth’s options are dreadfully limited as Bath is teeming with more vulgar seaman like Admiral Patrick McGillvary than eligible bachelors. And Elizabeth refuses to make the same mistake her sisters have in marrying a plain gentleman, who will one day become a country squire, or a common sailor with no title besides Captain.
Similar to Admiral McGillvary, I enjoy the chase. For a man whose smile gets him nearly everything he wants, McGillvary accepts the beautiful Miss Elliot’s snub as a challenge. However, being a lowly sailor with a reputation might not get him the reception he desires with the oh-so-proper Miss Elliot. But never one to back down, McGillvary faces this challenge, though not in the way originally planned.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hile’s writing. Using Austen’s Persuasion as a backdrop, as well as bringing in the infamous Caroline Bingley, gave the story a sense of familiarity, yet with her original characters, writing style, and humor, Hile was able to keep me on my toes for what was to come next.
I am curious to see where Hile takes her readers in Book Two, So Lively A Chase. While Sir Walter is still a narcissist, his financial troubles are even more severe, the stress of which is causing him several health problems. With the help of his new doctor friend, Mr. Savoy, Sir Walter appears to be on the mend. Yet, something just isn’t sitting right with Mr. Savoy. What is he really up to? As for Elizabeth’s matrimonial prospects, will she keep her promise to one man, or end up the victim of her heart?
  • List Price: £10.00
  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Wytherngate Press (6 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972852972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972852975
From the Publisher: Twelve-thousand a year and an extensive estate can gild a sow's ear, or so Elizabeth Elliot has always supposed. But now that she's fallen for the dashing Patrick Gill, Elizabeth is almost ready to give up Mr Rushworth's fortune. Painfully aware of her bruised pride and vulnerable heart, Elizabeth can only despise herself for loving so common a man. But it has never occurred to her that darling Mr Gill guards a secret of his own--and that he might be responsible for her father's disappearance. So Lively a Chase is book 2 of Laura Hile's delightful series Mercy's Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot's story based on Jane Austen's Persuasion.
As Sir Walter Elliot gets even deeper in financial trouble, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, feels it is up to her to save him. After all, it was she who encouraged him to purchase items beyond their means. Yet, when Captain Wentworth refuses to settle her father’s debts, Elizabeth is left with few options. How can a gentlewoman raise that kind of money? Sell one’s jewelry? Possibly, but that will not cover the vast sums her father owes. Marriage, it seems, is the only answer, but to whom? With Sir Walter willing to sell his daughter in the marriage market, ensuring a settlement that will alleviate his financial burden, will Elizabeth have much say in the matter?

So Lively a  Chase

At every turn, Elizabeth Elliot finds herself surrounded by possible suitors. Her cousin, William Elliot, is in need of a woman who will be a credit to him, one who is both beautiful and accomplished. With twelve thousand a year, Mr. Rushworth looks even more enticing. But can either of these men touch her heart as deeply as Mr. Gill, a man with no title, connection, or money? Can Elizabeth afford to follow her heart while still managing to save her father?
I enjoy watching characters like Elizabeth change and develop as a story progresses. I am always amazed when an author can take one of Austen’s secondary characters, and an unpleasant one at that, and make me like and empathize with them. As Jennifer Becton did with Caroline Bingley, Laura Hile does with Elizabeth Elliot, who moves from being a vain, snobby, self-important lady into one who is kind. We see this as she befriends the lowly clerk Mr. Gill as well as Miss Winnie Owen, the neighbor’s cousin and housekeeper.
Whether it is Austen’s characters or her own, Hile’s characterizations are wonderful. They are so well developed, leaving me feeling empathy, dislike, disgust, annoyance, or disbelief with each of them. While some are dynamic, others remain static creating a great comparison, especially between the Elliot siblings.
At the end of So Lively A Chase, I was left with an array of emotions. It was a good thing I had the final book in the trilogy, The Lady Must Decide, in my possession, as I picked it up immediately! And that would be my advice to you: have book three on hand when you finish So Lively A Chase.
  • List Price: £10.00
  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Wytherngate Press (25 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972852980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972852982

The Lady Must Decide

What is Elizabeth Elliot to do when she realizes Mr. Gill, the man who has stolen her heart, is none other than the revolting Admiral Patrick McGillvary? Elizabeth’s head is spinning with many questions: how does Admiral McGillvary really feel about her? What if he loses interest in her like other men have? Or worse, given his past, what if he cheats on Elizabeth? This cannot be happening. With his good looks, money, and heir to Kellynch and the Baronetcy, William Elliot seems the more reasonable match. Elizabeth would be crazy to pass up the opportunity to become the next Lady Elliot. After all, this has been her dream. Will Elizabeth choose the seemingly safe and secure path with her cousin or take a chance on getting her heart thoroughly shattered?
After breaking off one apparent engagement, and given her father’s precarious state, Elizabeth’s reputation is hanging on by a thread. Now, the gossips’ tongues are wagging with rumors of Elizabeth being Admiral McGillvary’s latest flirt. Elizabeth’s mind is left whirling with much confusion. Was this all a game? She is unsure whom to trust, and her only friend she can trust, just maybe the biggest player of them all. Elizabeth must finally discover her true self and what she really wants in life before she can make the biggest decision of her life.
It was enjoyable watching Elizabeth change throughout this series. While some of her characteristics stayed the same, like her ability to deliver a proper set-down, those that changed- how she views herself as well as others, was refreshing. Even though McGillvary knows the changed Elizabeth rather well, I wish Wentworth, Charles Musgrove, or her sisters could see this gentler side. Yet, they are too busy with their own lives and dealing with Sir Walter’s disappearance to take a step back and see events through Elizabeth’s eyes. Plus, they do not realize the disparity of Elizabeth’s situation. She is living on the charity of her relations, all of whom seem to be drawing straws for the “privilege” of having Elizabeth live with them.
I have said it before, I enjoy it when secondary characters are further developed. In Mercy’s Embrace, Elizabeth’s sister, Mary Musgrove is in high dudgeon. Between her self-pity, self-importance, and “ailments,” there is plenty of entertainment to be had at Mary’s expense.
Mercy’s Embrace is a delightful romp, and has left many readers begging for more from Miss Elliot and Admiral McGillvary. Personally, I hope Ms. Hile publishes Book 4 sooner than later, as I am dying to see what happens next!
  • List Price: £10.00
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wytherngate Press (4 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972852999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972852999

Jakki Leatherberry, former high-school language arts teacher and lover of all things Austen, lives in Georgia where she and her husband moved after graduating from a liberal arts college in Ohio. One of her greatest pleasures is reading and analyzing literature. When she is not chasing around her two children (soon to be three in February), Jakki can be found under a quilt, cup of coffee in hand, reading. She also submits her reviews to Goodreads, Amazon and her blog, Leatherbound Reviews.
On Leatherbound Reviews, in addition to reading reviews, readers can also watch vlogs, where Jakki reads an excerpt from the book reviewed, providing readers with a little teaser of what they may find inside the novel. This September, Jakki will be partnering with Austenesque Reviews for the second annual Austenesque Extravaganza! A month long celebration of Jane Austen (with loads of giveaways!)