Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story, Book 1: So Rough a Course, by Laura Hile – A Review & Giveaway!

Mercy's Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot's Story Book 1: So Rough a Course, by Laura Hile (2009)Review by Christina Boyd

In a sea of Darcy, Darcy, Darcy, I regret to admit that I may have over-indulged this winter and now suffer from post-Pride and Prejudice fan fiction fatigue.  While perusing a generous stack of novels sent to me from our blog mistress, Laurel Ann, I was delighted to discover a follow-up story to Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Persuasion, entitled Mercy’s Embrace, So Rough A Course, Book 1 by debut author Laura Hile.  I was instantly intrigued, as I have always wanted to know what happened next to these Austen’s heroes, Captain Frederick Wentworth and his wife Anne – only to realize that this wasn’t their story at all – but that of Elizabeth Elliot.  Elizabeth Elliot?!  Anne’s pretentious, vain, selfish, and thoughtless older sister?  What?  No one likes her my subconscious whined.  Jane Austen gave her no redeeming qualities.  She’s awful.  So I put it back in the stack and read something else.  What-what? (Bear with me… I’m getting to it.)  Weeks later, after working my way through the stack, I came upon Hile’s book again, and with reluctance, gave myself up to chance.

And lucky I did, too.  Yes, we all know Austen’s Elizabeth Elliot to be despicable, unkind and a grasping social snob, but Hile’s Elizabeth, although still all of that, shows us inside Elizabeth’s mind and why she comports herself as she does.  I hate to excuse anyone’s bad behavior but in knowing her better, her disposition is better understood.

The novel opens shortly before Anne is to wed Captain Wentworth, and we learn that Sir Walter Elliot’s finances are as dire as ever.  The beautiful yet dissatisfied Miss Elliot must manage her feckless, frivolous father whilst attempting to make a most auspicious match for herself.  Even her companion Mrs. Clay has run off to Lord knows where… In no time at all, I found myself cheering for this dauntless woman and even laughing out loud at her own snarky sense of humour. “Mary’s letter must be sent first, before others and by express.  If only she could manage to inform her through more reliable means! It would be very like Mary to pretend she hadn’t received a word and come to Bath anyway.  Life without a companion might be dull, but a fortnight’s visit from Mary would be intolerable!” p. 45.

Hiding from his creditors under the guise of illness, Sir Walter Elliot forces Elizabeth to shift for herself.  She moves in with the newly married Wentworths and as she struggles with her less than desirable situation, plots how to distinguish herself again amongst society’s elite. Unfortunately, suitable prospects on the marriage mart are meager at best for a woman of Elizabeth’s standards and wants.  “A man needs three qualities in order to be considered a matrimonial prize, Mr. Gill.  Good breeding, good looks and a good income.  And he should not be too old.  My father and I disagree on that last point.” p. 137.   While entertaining the usual prospects, including the newly divorced but obscenely moneyed and well-connected Mr. Rushworth, (yes, THAT same Mr. Rushworth from Austen’s Mansfield Park!), Elizabeth meets the virile, rich, eligible, and self-satisfied Admiral Patrick McGillvary from a noble Irish family.  Although he does not fail to turn her head, it must be noted he comes with the most unseemly reputation.  As she has Rushworth dangling on the hook, she cultivates an unlikely friendship with a lowly, humble clerk, one Mr. Gill, who by the way happens to have the same lovely eyes as McGillvary, and has a knack for bringing forth her humility and honor.

I read this first in the series in almost in one sitting… well after midnight in fact.  I must confess that the amazing hanging-off-the-cliff-by-my-fingernails-ending compelled me to search through THAT stack of books from Laurel Ann again, find and continue on with So Lovely A Chase, Book Two.  Fortuitous I had it on hand, indeed!

Laura Hile humanizes Elizabeth’s plight without making her some ridiculous martyr.  She maintains Elizabeth’s general haughty appearance and pretensions but delves deeper into the woman, allowing us further insight.  Might she be Austen’s female Mr. Darcy in the midst of redemption?  Hile is respectful of Austen’s original characters all the while making them and this story all her own.  So Rough A Course was enjoyable from beginning to the last page of the third book. This treasure should be read sooner than later.  My apologies to the author, in allowing my own prejudice against this Elizabeth to suspend my reading (and enjoyment) of her novel for so long.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story, Book 1: So Rough a Course, by Laura Hile
Wytherngate Press (2009)
Trade paperback (220) pages
ISBN: 9780972852975
NOOK: 2940013802605
Kindle: B0043EVAM6

Grand Giveaway of Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story

Enter a chance to win one of three (3) copies of Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story Book 1 – So Rough a Course, by Laura Hile, or one (1) full set of the trilogy which also includes Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story Book 2 – So Lively a Chase and Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story Book 3 – The Lady Must Decide, by asking Laura a question about her series or by sharing your reaction to any of the three reviews posted during our month-long author event each Saturday in May.  Entrants will qualify for a chance at the drawing of one (1) copy of book one, or one (1) each of the entire set. Both print editions and ebooks are available. Contest ends at 11:59 Wednesday May 30th, 2012. Winners announced on Thursday, May 31st, 2012. Shipment internationally. Good luck!

Christina Boyd lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two youngish children and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Bibi.  She studied Fine Art at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Salisbury University in Maryland. For the last nine years she has created and sold her own pottery line from her working studio. Albeit she read Jane Austen as a moody teenager, it wasn’t until Joe Wright’s 2005 movie of Pride & Prejudice that sparked her interest in all things Austen.  A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list.

© 2007 – 2012 Christina Boyd, Austenprose

86 thoughts on “Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story, Book 1: So Rough a Course, by Laura Hile – A Review & Giveaway!

  1. When Laura told me she wanted to write Elizabeth Elliot’s story before anyone else did, I thought two things: No one will EVER want to write EE so there’s no real hurry, and spending that much time with such a disagreeable character would be … challenging. She managed to write the book and bring EE into a clearer light. She’s a pain, but an amusing pain.

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    • See, the thing is, I am Elizabeth Elliot.

      Or I would be if I’d been beautiful. She’s brave enough (or arrogant enough) to say the cutting things I’d like to —if I’d thought of them in time! —to a charming-but-dangerous man whom I could only dream of attracting!

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  2. I understand there is to be a 4th book. Will that end the series? The review of book 1 seems to end without a conclusion. Are all 3 that way? I love series books, but want each one to come to a conclusion in case I never can find more of them.
    Beverly Abney

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    • There is a book 4– but the way 3 ends, even though some subplots seem open ended, you aren’t left hanging-off-a-cliff by your fingernails like in Book1 and 2; there’s no way you can read the first book without wanting to read the whole series. Most satisfying. I think the series worth both your time and money. I was surprisingly entertained by Elizabeth Elliot and all those around her.

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    • I understand your frustration with series books, Beverly. When the last Mercy’s book was released, I smilingly said to myself, “Good. Now I can die.” Ha!

      These three books were originally written as one. But a tiny publishing company falls behind the big houses when it comes to printing. The cost of putting out a single 900-page volume would have been prohibitive.

      So I attempted to compensate by packing in as much entertainment value as I could into each volume.

      There will be a fourth book, my summer project. My goal is to make it a stand alone story—no cliff hanger ending! —although what began in the first three will continue.

      The trouble I’m running in to now is that I have way too much material for a single book! So there will probably be a 5th. We shall see.

      Thanks for your interest!

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  3. Great post, thanks. We all do that at times, we overlook a book and then we pick it up and think: “God, if I had known, this book is great!”. Your evocation of a possible Austen’s female version of Mr Darcy in the midst of redemption is most intriguing and the idea of telling Elizabeth Elliot’s story is very original. It sounds like a great read indeed.

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    • The whole time I was reading this, I felt like she reminded me of someone… And although the comparison isnt perfect, she is handsome, a snob, and does experience a (or number of) humbling that makes her see things differently. And in reading this, I see her differently too. Best I can compare is how Lauren Willig might write one secondary character in one book with not many redeeming characters and then will write an entire book next about that same character and you love her… Philippa Gregory is gifted like that, too.

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    • I agree, Catherine. That female version of Mr Darcy comparison that Christina made is a stunner. Never once had the thought occurred to me.

      And I have certainly done my fair share of overlooking excellent books!

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  4. Persuasion has always been my fave, so i’m delited to see an entire series Laura! and as a debut?! WoW! ambitious…

    i really couldn’t fathom spending the hours required with EE to put her story into play with the rest of the delish romance of A & F – definitely kudos to you!

    how long did it take you from conception to conclusion? what inspirited you in the telling? the motivation to continue once underway? hmmm…

    that you’ve made her palatable intrigues me enough to add this series to my MUST Reads ~ not just TBR ;) !

    ConGrats my friend and every success on your writing career !

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    • faith hope, you don’t want to know how long this series took me! Seven summers—seriously, not a day less! And if my on-line readers were lucky, an additional chapter at Christmas and at spring break. Truly, I have the most loyal fans ever.

      Susan Kaye’s Patrick McGillvary was part of the inspiration. Here was a fellow “timbered up to Elizabeth’s weight” (as Georgette Heyer would say), and vice versa. As to Elizabeth, she and I share too many traits! And wouldn’t I love to take on a man like McGillvary?

      The other part of the challenge was a personal one. Could I write a romance that was exciting enough and compelling enough to hold the reader’s interest without having the hero and heroine hop into the sack? Because falling in love, to me, is encountering a kindred spirit more than finding a fellow with a hot body. A meeting of minds and hearts … that delicious sparkling conversation … finding loyalty and trust and security.

      When you’re able to read Mercy’s Embrace, do let me know if I succeeded, okay?

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      • Goodness, that’s early as long as the space between the two courtships Austen gives Anne and Captain Wentworth. That seems apt. I am intrigued to read the books now – Persuasion has long been a favourite, and while I am disinclined to ever forgive Lady Russell, I’m perfectly prepared to try with Elizabeth. Also, I like the borrowing of Mr. Rushworth. It has a touch of Barbara Pym, the redistribution of other characters, and given how Austenesque Pym can be, I find it gratifying to see the compliment reciprocated as it were. I wonder, in the time you haven’t got, would you ever consider writing about Elizabeth (or indeed any of the others) prior to Persuasion? It is a bit of the story that fascinates me.

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        • Hi Alinya,

          You know, Susan Kaye (who writes Frederick Wentworth) and I have discussed whether either of us should take on Persuasion’s back story. Like you, she has a particular interest in Frederick and Anne’s first courtship. My reluctance stems from the ending, which would be anything but heartwarming. Sir Walter, who comes off as an annoying-but-comic figure in Mercy’s Embrace would certainly be seen for what he is—the villain of Persuasion

          Speaking of villains, he’s not the only one. We’d have such treats as watching William Elliot ruin Mrs Smith’s husband, shrug off his death, and break young Elizabeth Elliot’s vulnerable heart. And go courting solely for financial gain, gloating when his miserable wife dies an early death.

          (Oooo. Tabloid talk show hosts—if there were such a thing in the Regency— would surely fight to bag the exclusive interview with Mr Elliot!)

          I am not familiar with Barbara Pym’s work, and on your recommendation I’ve added her to my wish list. Ah, the ideal Mother’s Day present: a Kindle gift card! Thanks for the kind encouragement, Alinya :)

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  5. I loved Captain Wentworth. He was second only to Darcy and a close second at that. I’d love to hear what happens to him and Anne.

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    • Robyn, I’m with you there. Sadly, I do not write him nearly as well as my friend Susan Kaye does. Check out her Frederick Wentworth, Captain novels. Wentworth plays only a cameo role in Mercy’s Embrace.

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  6. I thoroughly enjoy the review. Maybe after all, there is a redeeming quality in secondary characters that are portrayed in a bad light. I do not object to reading Elizabeth’s story if I do get the chance.

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  7. I have to say – I want to read this series!!!! :)) Persuasion is my favourite and I was not sure how I´d like to read about Elizabeth Elliot that much, but after reading this first review, I sooo want to read it!
    Looking forward to it.

    Laura, what drew you to writing Elizabeths story?

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    • Katrin, here’s hoping you win!

      Truth be known, I am a very poor businesswoman. See, I would love to give away books to each and every person who comments. I smile as I take the packaged books to the post office…

      As to being drawn to Miss Elliot, part of it had to do with the fact that Austen fiction was crowded with stories about, you know, the other Elizabeth. So I decided to strike out in an unexpected direction. What would happen, for instance, if I threw an intelligent, likable, handsome-but-ineligible fellow in Persuasion’s Elizabeth’s way? A man who conversed with her as if she were intelligent and valued her opinions? Would her cold heart begin to thaw? Enough to fall desperately in love?

      Then too, in the sea of Pride and Prejudice stories, there was the challenge of writing a novel to which no one could guess the ending. Would Elizabeth be happy in the end? Or not?

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  8. Thanks for a very compelling review of Book 1 of Mercy’s Embrace. It’s intriguing. I look forward to reading Elizabeth’s story. Also, thanks for such a fantastic giveaway!

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    • A compelling review, indeed. Tell you what, Christina, I am blown away by how much you enjoyed the books. Austenprose is known for cutting it straight with reviews, so I was kind of shaking in my boots! :)

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      • The simplest reviews to write are for the books I reeeeeeealy loved or the ones I really despised. I do hope people pick up this series– it’s a gem!

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  9. I’m really interested in stories that redeem characters that, in canon, have been rejected as irredeemable. When I write fan-fiction (yes, I’m guilty), this is the sort of thing that I do so love to do. So I’m pleased as punch that you, Ms. Hile, have done the same. And I’m curious – was it difficult for you to write a Miss Eliott that readers would come to love, or did Miss Austen aid you with her writing… that is, was there a lot of inspiration for you in the original novel, or did you have to do a lot of reading inbetween the lines?

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    • Reading between the lines, and little things Jane Austen let drop, allowed me to work with Elizabeth. Her conscience troubled her, as did the approaching thirtieth birthday, an event that her self-absorbed father never seemed to notice.

      And why should he? She was his lovely escort at social functions and the hostess at his dinners—and until he could arrange a truly splendid match (one that would bring him credit), he was content to have it so.

      It also appeared to me that Elizabeth conspired with the solicitor, John Shepherd, about retrenching in Bath. Here was a clue that she had had enough of her father’s management.

      Then too, she was the eldest daughter of a truly fine woman (Elizabeth, Lady Elliot, whom Lady Russell thinks Anne most closely resembles). This means that while Elizabeth might behave badly, she knows better. I’m assuming that Lady Elliot was a devout woman, and would have brought up her daughters to think properly. Except for Mary, who was raised by others (Lady Elliot was ill for a number of years, and Mary was sent to school).

      She was also isolated, and not as smart as she thought. Unlike Anne, she was genuinely taken in by Penelope Clay, and her defection was a personal blow. This showed me that Elizabeth did not have much experience with friendship and was likely quite lonely.

      More then enough white space for constructing a story! And I’m encouraged to hear that you are writing, too. Even if it takes years—I can only think when I’m not teaching, it seems—don’t give up!

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  10. Ok, so my question is…. Is it hard to write from the point of the view of “the villian”? Did you find it easier to revamp the Persuasion story, or did you try to explain Elizabeth’s actions and words? Hope this question makes sense–I can’t wait to read this!! :)

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    • Okay, Joy Andrea, here goes.

      It is wretchedly easy to write from the point of view of the villain! I need only access my inner Selfish Pig and go from there, you know? The key is figuring out how the villain thinks, his reasoning. Because bad buys aren’t stupid. What they do and why they do it makes sense—to them. It’s twisted! And I fear it is a public commentary on the snarky avenues my mind sometimes travels! (I’ve spent too much time cooped up with thirteen-year-olds, perhaps?) After someone has read these books, what he or she knows about me is a lot! :)

      Persuasion is basically my launching platform for Mercy’s Embrace, so it’s not a retelling of Jane Austen’s story. I take up the secondary characters, give them elevated roles with new challenges, and then send them on a joyride! They’re moving forward, in other words, in an original work of fiction.

      Although Elizabeth is the heroine, Mercy’s Embrace is an ensemble piece, with several intertwining story lines. Even now I cannot figure out how I managed to keep so many plot “plates” spinning!

      Have I answered your questions? Thanks for asking, by the way. One of the things I most wanted to do was to write for an intelligent, thinking reader.

      After you read the books, do let me know what you think!

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  11. Pingback: Mercy’s Embrace Review and International Giveaway at Austenprose | Jane Started It!

  12. I’ve been thinking about reading these books for a while but I haven’t yet. This review has me wanting to read them again! I love it when an author can make me like a character I previously disliked! And to like Elizabeth Elliot would be amazing! ;) Thanks for the chance to win a set or copy!

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  13. I have to agree with Christina… Who would want to read about Elizabeth Elliot!! But now I’m really tempted to give it a try! Thank you for the helpful review! :)

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  14. When our dear Christina hangs a 5 on a review, you can bank on it being a deserving read. Another beautifully crafted review, Christina. One wonders where you find the time.

    I don’t think any author in all of literature spawned more open-ended opportunities to fuel sequels, redemptions, mash-ups and retells more than Miss Austen…

    Among Austen’s characters I have a particular affinity for her “bad girls:” Caroline Bingley, Elizabeth Elliott, Isabella Thorpe, Mary Crawford, Maria Bertram, and Lydia Bennet. There is something VERY appealing about the chance at redemption isn’t there?

    I’ve read some dandy “mash-ups” where the characters of two separate Austen novels are brought together. I’m very curious how you handle the married life of Capt Wentworth and oh-so deserving Anne.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t desire a shot at your series. Thank you for the generous offer and for sharing your creative processes with us.

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  15. Over the last couple of months, I have enjoyed this blog and the reading recommendations so much. I love how the Austen characters have taken on a life of their own and how each new author we meet brings out more personality and makes us love them all the more. Elizabeth has not been one of my favorite characters, but I cannot wait to see how you change my mind in this series. Do you have another character in the world of Austen that you would like to “change” our minds about planned the future?

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    • Donna, I need to think about that one.

      Key to Elizabeth’s “redemption” is the character of her mother, whom according to Lady Russell, Anne most closely resembles. This gave me material to work with, a foundation of sorts.

      Mary Musgrove has the same foundation. But for the life of me, I cannot bring any positive changes into that woman’s life! She clacks on and on and on!

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  16. I understood Christina’s reluctance to read anything about the horrid Elizabeth Elliot, not a favorite character as she was such a mean spirited sister to Anne. So I was quite surprised at her revised opinion, and even I was convinced that I should read this book. Persuasion is one of my all time favorites, so I am looking forward to Ms. Hile’s book. I trust the reviews on Austenprose, so I know I will not be disappointed. Congratulations, Laura! Thanks to Christina for the review!

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    • Ritamaie, thanks for the kind words! I do understand your misgivings about Elizabeth. Every Austen lover feels the same. Here’s hoping you win!

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  17. I have read the entire trilogy and have only one complaint – I want it to continue! Laura actually made me like Elizabeth Elliot while remaining true to Elizabeth’s character. Impossible you think? Read it yourself and see what I mean!

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    • Lynn, are you reading the books? Thank you!

      Elizabeth won’t outgrow her natural arrogance, but she will learn. A few things. I think of her as a Regency Lucy Ricardo. Always hatching schemes, but not quite as smart as she thinks!

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    • (Jane Greensmith is another Austen writing friend. She has been my longtime supporter during the years Mercy’s Embrace was being written, summer by summer.) Thanks for the props, Jane! :)

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  18. Hooray for a Persuasion based-story. The reviews have convinced me that perhaps Miss Elliot does have some actual redeeming qualities.

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  19. Thanks, Christina, for such an intriguing review. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the series.

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  20. I have heard a lot of good things about this series. They are at the top of my “To Be Read” list. If only I didn’t have to work, then I could get all the books on that list read. 

    drcopeland(at)Hotmail(dot)com

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    • If only I were independently wealthy, Danielle, then I would have both the time and all that lovely money, and could read, read, read! OH well, off to work we go…

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  21. “Hanging off a cliff by your fingernails”!!??! OMGoodness… I LOVE that expression and can’t wait to dig into this book! I really enjoyed reading this review & it has definitely got my curiousity piqued… adding the series to my list ;)

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  22. Pingback: Elizabeth, Elizabeth… | Austen Authors

  23. Persuasion is also my favorite and I would love to read a continuation of that with my beloved Captain. Thanks so much for the freebies.

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    • Hi elaine! I’m afraid Captain Wentworth is a secondary character in my series. Do check out Susan Kaye’s Frederick Wentworth, Captain books. She writes him better than I could ever hope to!

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  24. Ah, technology …

    Doesn’t that make you nuts when a post disappears? I know I ought to “save” before I push the post button, but I don’t. And even when I do save a file properly, other things happen.

    Like the time my laptop crashed … and the manuscript I’d been editing went down with it? Ah, but I’d save it all on a flash drive! And then I lost it. Gone!

    Like you, I took a deep breath and began again.

    Thanks for your interest in Mercy’s Embrace, Man-Fan. You are secure in your manhood indeed, to not be put off by the very pink cover!

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  25. She moves in with the Wentworth’s?! What?! Can Anne never be free of her? Oh, I have to know now.

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    • Oh, I agree, Amanda. Isn’t that the worst?

      The trouble with Anne is that she shows best against a crisis. (And besides, novels are supposed to be exciting, right?)

      Although this isn’t Anne’s story, you can take comfort in the fact that she isn’t facing Elizabeth (and Sir Walter) alone. She has Frederick. Happy thought indeed!

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  26. I am intrigued. I always thought there should have been some sort of transformation in her character after the desertion of Mr. Elliot and Ms. Clay. Do those 2 make an apperance?

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    • Hi, Sally. Yes, you will see William Elliot and Penelope Clay’s story, woven in among the others. So many fascinating characters and situations Jane set into motion! Thanks for your interest.

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  27. Laura, I would truly love to win a copy (dare I wish for the whole set?!) of your novels. As I live quite some distance away (in Australia) it isn’t often that we have to chance to enter into such wonderful competitions so I’m both thankful and excited. My question is: what would you consider to be the most important element when writing a Jane Austen-esque novel eg the language, the characters, the setting and how did you ensure your books succeeded in that area? Also, any advice to unpublished writers would be very much appreciated.

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    • Hi, Joni! Hey, thanks for the questions.

      The most important element for a Jane Austen novel is, I think, how you handle her characters. As for language, I give up! Try as I might, I can’t manage Jane’s beautiful prose. (Then too, modern readers expect events to happen at a somewhat faster clip). As to the setting, because Jane’s characters are so well drawn, even in a contemporary story they can resonate.

      But borrowing another author’s characters is a tricky business—as you’ve not doubt discovered—and so I tread carefully. Her characters are beloved, and readers have expectations. So, for that matter, do I! I don’t know how you feel, but I become annoyed to read an “Austen novel” in which only the names are Jane’s.

      Have I succeeded as a writer? Frankly, Joni, I don’t know. The decision to feature such a loathed heroine sort of works against me, you know? :) Basically, I wrote the kind of story I myself would enjoy: an ensemble piece, with sparkling conversational sparring between hero and heroine, intertwined dilemmas, and surprises—the reader can’t guess where the story is headed. And sprinkled throughout, I hope, are important truths about life. Call me old-fashioned, but I like a tale with a moral.

      Advice to writers? I’ve found that writing is a self-taught skill, gained through observation and practice. It’s a long and winding road, but the company is excellent. Austenprose is a prime example of the wonderful fellowship to be found on the Internet! :) And, Joni, you’re more than welcome to “hang out” with us at my blog, Jane Started It! We’re Austen writers, struggling to cope with life in the modern world, while longing to be in Jane’s!

      Have I answered your questions? Thanks for your interest.

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      • Laura, you have indeed answered my questions, so thank you very much. However, your answer did surprise me a little. I would have bet the barouche that you would have said that language was the most important part; making the decision to copy Jane’s idiom or opting for a modern version is what I think could make or break an Austen-esque novel. Unfortunately it’s a catch 22 situation: Austen fans love Jane’s language and want more of it but if it’s not done right then it proves to be a huge turn off.

        Many thanks for your invitation regarding your blog. I bookmarked it as soon as I read your reply, so you may hear more from me.

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  28. I think if you can make Elizabeth Elliot likeable, you can redeem any of the “bad” characters of Austen! Any thoughts for another series with someone like Mary Crawford?

    Looking forward to reading this series!

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    • Yes write Mary Crawford. She is my absolute favorite “Austen villain.”I totally get her– I think like Elizabeth Elliot, she would be great to redeem– I see so much back story and potential!!

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  29. You have me intrigued. I find myself really enjoying books with a snarky main character. I suppose I have a bit of a character like that who lives in my head too. Sadly, it doesn’t get a lot of expression, since the twin 2-year-olds I have aren’t very appreciative…
    Thanks for a chance to win!

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    • Danae, I spend my days in a classroom surrounded by thirteen-year-olds. I love them, actually (Christian school, nice kids), but cheerful snark is one of my coping mechanisms! :)

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  30. Glad to find out about this series. So Captain Wentworth and Anne are minor characters in this series? I’ve read Captain Wentworth’s Diary by Amanda Grange. Someone suggested you write about Mary Crawford. In the book Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd Mary Crawford is good and Fanny Price is bad and gets murdered.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Michelle.

      Check out Susan Kaye’s Frederick Wentworth, Captain books. She’s the master at writing our Frederick.

      I haven’t read Murder at Mansfield Park yet. Fanny Price is a favorite, though often misunderstood, character.

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  31. Pingback: Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story, Book 2: So Lively A Chase, by Laura Hile – A Review & Giveaway

  32. I find it interesting to find out how the elliots fared after wentworths got married. I’m really excited to get my hands on this series now .

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    • I’m sorry, Patricia, I missed seeing this! (I could blame school and Teacher Brain Burn out, but …)

      From what Jane let fall at the end of Persuasion, if Captain Wentworth had anything to do with it, he and Anne would be avoiding the Elliots as much as possible. But, without problems there is no story so I dumped Elizabeth on their doorstep!

      Thanks for your kind interest!

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  33. This sounds like a very good read. I always enjoy reading books where some of the more minor Austen characters are fleshed out, and I always like a story where a character has a chance at being redeemed.

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    • Haliegirl, you and I like the same kinds of fiction! Minor characters are easier to write because reader expectations are less. Whereas with Captain Wentworth and Anne, they’re scary high. What if I don’t deliver?

      So Elizabeth and the supporting characters give more freedom. :)

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    • Sylvia, thanks for the kind words. I love giveaways, even the going to the post office part–such fun to send books on their way. But I am not a very good businesswoman, alas, because having winners also means having losers. I become disappointed for those who did not win, and wish I could send out a book to everyone. Here’s hoping you win!

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  34. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel and I’ve always wondered about all of the other characters in it. What happened to them after Persuasion ended? What happened to them before the book began to make them the way the are? I wondered how the three girls grew up together and were so different. I’m so glad to know that someone has written a series about Elizabeth. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

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    • Hi grace! I’m sorry to be so tardy in answering your comment. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel too, and it’s been a kick to continue the tale using the minor characters. Is it the way Jane would have told it? Oh, probably not! :) One thing led to another, and Mercy’s Embrace became an adventuresome romp.

      The difference in the three Elliot sisters—and the five Bennet sisters of Pride and Prejudice—is puzzling, yes. I have three sons, and in many ways they’re opposites! But they are also similar. I have no sisters, so I don’t know. Perhaps with girls things are different.

      I built my story on the foundation of how a mother parents her eldest, which is with particular care. Elizabeth and Anne Elliot—and Elizabeth and Jane Bennet—benefited greatly. The younger sisters? I’m thinking Mom was tired. Elizabeth, Lady Elliot, was probably ill, as well, so Mary probably raised herself. She shares Sir Walter’s self-absorption and does not seem to feel guilty for the trouble she causes. But Austen tells us, almost as an aside, that Elizabeth’s conscience bothered her …

      An Aha! detail I pounced upon.

      Thanks for your kind interest in my books, grace. Here’s hoping you win!

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  35. Pingback: Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story, Book 3: The Lady Must Decide, by Laura Hile – A Review and Giveaway « Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog

  36. I agree with this review, as much as I love Darcy, I definitely have Darcy fatigue. It is nice to read about some of Austen’s other characters, especially if they are based on Persuasion. I love the cover art for these three books. They sound wonderful and I can’t wait to read them!

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