From the desk of Christina Boyd:
Author Laura Hile’s So Lively a Chase, Book 2, in her lovely Mercy’s Embrace trilogy, continues with Miss Elizabeth Elliot struggling to manage her feckless, frivolous father and dwindling finances, all the while contriving to make a most propitious match for herself. In this follow-up to Jane Austen’s Persuasion, our unlikely heroine Miss Elizabeth Elliot, painfully aware of her dangerous situation of being put “on-the-shelf” and no fortune of her own is conflicted. Should she accept the hand of a fleshy, bungling yet obscenely rich suitor who she is certain she could easily lead by the nose, or follow her heart’s devotion with an obscure man into a humble, common existence?
Living on the kindness of her sister’s hospitality, she continues to resist the attentions of the clumsy Mr. Rushworth and her scheming cousin, Mr. Elliot, while believing herself to have fallen in love with a kind, comely and clever, however entirely unacceptable clerk, Mr. Patrick Gill. All the while the handsome, moneyed Admiral Patrick McGillvary is struggling with his own self-inflicted troubles – knowing full well, the truth of his identity will surely bring on the wrath of Elizabeth, only to lose her forever.
‘I am thoroughly sick of lies! I shall never tell another’
He regarded her solemnly over the top of his menu. ‘Never’
‘Not if I can help it,’ she said seriously. ‘And let come what may! Lying is… cowardly!’ Her words made him wince. ‘Not everyone tells lies out of perverseness, Elizabeth.’ he said quietly. ‘Sometimes a lie begins as a simple jest, which then gets out of hand and grows.’ (81)
The newly married Anne and Captain Wentworth return to Bath, and find they now have a full house. Not only is Elizabeth under their roof and protection, but sister Mary Musgrove, her husband Charles, and their children have also arrived. Sir Walter, still feigning illness whilst hiding from his creditors, is soon to be thrown into debtor’s prison, however, Lady Russell contrives an astonishing rescue. The Musgrove’s marriage turns topsy-turvy when Charles finds himself enamored by a neighbor’s spinster sister. And the household is all-curious as to Elizabeth’s mysterious comings and goings… as well as her altered behavior.
‘What I think,’ said Anne, ‘is that you have been reading too many novels, Cousin Estella. And that is not what you were invited here to do!’
‘But- what else was there? I could hardly accompany your sister to her love-trysts!’
‘Her what?’ cried Anne.
Mary’s ringing laughter was even worse. ‘Love tryst?’ she crowed Elizabeth? ‘I don’t believe it for a minute. Anne, she is jesting – she must be! What man in his right mind would have Elizabeth?’ (13)
These amusing, well-developed ancillary plots helped drive the story; each so engaging and fast-paced, I could hardly believe how quickly I was turning pages just to keep up with all the action. Hile’s masterful depiction of Austen’s pretentious, vain, selfish, and thoughtless Elizabeth Elliot is undergoing a glorious transformation before our very eyes as she experiences her own tribulations, humiliations and disappointment. And if you thought the cliffhanger from Book 1 was unforgivable, be forewarned. This ending will leave you breathless with anticipation! Better to simply by the series in it’s entirety with one full sweep of the credit card. Brava! Again, 5 stars.
5 out of 5 Stars
ADDITIONAL BOOKS IN THE SERIES
- Read our review of Mercy’s Embrace: So Rough a Course, Elizabeth Elliot’s Story (Book 1)
- Read our review of Mercy’s Embrace: The Lady Must Decide, Elizabeth Elliot’s Story (Book 3)
- Mercy’s Embrace: So Lively a Chase, Elizabeth Elliot’s Story (Book 2), by Laura Hile
- CreateSpace (November 25, 2009)
- Trade paperback & eBook (300) pages
- ISBN: 978-1984015471
- Genre: Austenesque, Regency Romance
We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image courtesy of Laura Hile © 2009; text Christina Boyd © 2012, austenprose.com.