Monday, July 29, 2019

Review: "Underestimating Miss Cecilia" by Carolyn Miller

I'm always excited to get my hands on a new Carolyn Miller book. And—bonus!—this book got me out of my reading slump!

Will a shrinking violet and a prodigal son come together to better their world?

Cecilia Hatherleigh has many secrets in her shy, sweet heart⁠—but none bigger than her unrequited love for Edward Amherst, the earl's son next door. Her love has persevered over many years, even when he grows to be a bit of a rake. Yet despite his fondness for females, he never seems to see her as anything more than the quiet younger sister, and nothing Cecy does has changed that. Rather than pining after his perhaps unworthy love, she decides to turn her focus toward living out her newly found faith. Now she's determined to follow God's leading to make a better world for the poor and dispossessed around her. 

A London riot awakens Edward to the responsibilities due his family name. It's time to turn his life around to please his noble father—and that means restoring his abandoned legal career and making a marriage of convenience. Neither will be easy, given his past and the prejudices of the upper echelons of society to which he belongs. 

When misadventure strikes at a house party, these two are thrown together even as their lives are upended. If Cecy can't trust God, overcome her shyness, and find her inner strength, the good work they've both done may be for naught--and neither will ever find true love . . . 

Well known for her authentic Regency romances set against less-explored, true historical backgrounds, best-selling author Carolyn Miller continues her newest series with a clean, wholesome tale sure to please her many fans.

This book ... was not what I expected! This is largely due to the back cover copy, which led me to believe the story would go one way, but it went another. (I have a love-hate relationship with back cover copy; in this case, it's completely accurate, but it's vague enough that I assumed one thing would happen, and I was way off.) Fortunately, I didn't mind the direction the story went in (though I did spend an awfully long time trying to figure out when ______ would happen, only to find it never did). That confusion was a product of my own assumptions ... and a prime example of why I often don't read book descriptions!

This is the second book in Carolyn Miller's Daughter's of Aynsley series. While it connects to previous books and directly follows the events of A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, it can be read as a stand-alone novel.

I went into the book not liking Ned (Edward), due to his actions in prior books in which he appeared. But here, he quickly won me over, thanks in large part to the change Christ made in his life. I also loved Cecilia and her kind and steadfast heart. While Ned and Cecilia's slow-burn romance kept me flying through the pages, I also loved their joint concern for society's outcasts; they approached this problem in different ways that ended up complementing each other.

One criticism: There are now so many characters in Miller's regency world, many of whom have two names (their given names and their titles), that it's difficult to keep track of them all. So when Lord So-and-so shows up, I often struggle to remember just which story he belongs to and what his given name is. A character list at the beginning of the book would be oh so helpful!

Underestimating Miss Cecilia fits in well in the regency romance world, and I can't wait to continue the series with Verity's story soon! 4-1/2 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Miller's The Elusive Miss Ellison (4 stars), The Captivating Lady Charlotte (4-1/2 stars), The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey (5 stars), Winning Miss Winthrop (5 stars), Miss Serena's Secret (4-1/2 stars), The Making of Mrs. Hale (3-1/2 stars), and A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh (4 stars).

Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn's novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. I've seen this one popping up in several places. The marriage of convenience aspect always sucks me in! Might have to add this to my TBR. I've not read this author before.

    1. Definitely read it--but not for the marriage of convenience aspect. That's the part that maybe isn't what it seems ;-)


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