About the Book
Shy, sweet Cecilia Hatherleigh has always been in love with Edward Amherst, the boy next door. Yet he’s never seen her as anything but the quiet girl in the background as he flirts with the other vivacious women of the ton.
When a near tragedy brings Edward’s attention to his family duties, this prodigal son decides he needs to settle down with a proper wife. Cecilia hopes to convince him to choose her—but God may want her to forget the wayward nobleman and put her future in His hands alone.
These two try to find their way toward happiness, but prejudice, political riots, and the changing face of England’s societal structures begin to block them at every turn. Can their struggles turn to triumph—or will their paths permanently diverge?
About the Author
Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s previous novels have won several contests, including the 2014 RWA “Touched by Love” and 2014 ACFW Genesis contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy.
I have read every novel Carolyn has published, so I feel like an expert who can say that Carolyn Miller is the #1 Regency-era writer of modern times. I’m blown away by Underestimating Miss Cecilia; it’s such a fantastically penned romance. It’s sweeping, it’s heartbreaking, it’s frustrating, it’s sweetly romantic, and it’s filled with timely lessons. Suffice to say, Underestimating Miss Cecilia is an exquisite read!
One of the most interesting and authentically thought-provoking concepts weaved throughout the narrative is that of idols. Cecilia has loved Ned her entire life. It wrecks her spirit that Ned never notices her as anything more than a little sister. Why can’t he see her?! I have to admit, I didn’t see anything wrong with Cecy’s love for Ned at first. To me, she is just a girl in love with a clueless man. She doesn’t do anything crazy to try to get Ned’s attention. She is respectful and considerate and kind. But the more I read, the more I realized that Cecy is a bit obsessed. And then a conversation takes place between Cecy and Lord Abbotsbury that rocked my world. Lord Abbotsbury states to Cecy, “We too often put our trust in people and treat them like gods, when really we would be better served seeking such approval from the One whose principles never change, and is ever infallible” (230). Boy, did this comment change my mind about how much Cecy “loved” Ned!
This comment also forced me to take a good look at myself. I have truly believed myself to be a woman who has tossed over her “idols” and given herself wholly to the Lord, but I have been struggling a lot lately, and now I think I know why. About a month ago, my daughter was diagnosed with petit mal seizures. My husband and I are working with a really good neurologist who is helping us to find the right medicine + diet combo for Bella. I didn’t think I was too messed up by this bump in the road, but then I got to talking to a couple of my friends the other day. In a fit of tears, I confessed that I am afraid of losing my daughter. This seed of fear has been growing since Bella was born. Bella’s birth was insane. We almost lost her three times. God 100% is the only reason she has reached her 7th birthday. I think that I’ve always treated her with kid gloves because I know I can never have any other children, so adding a seizure diagnosis has thrown me into a fear cycle I am not sure how to overcome. I cannot lose my kid! I have confessed this fear struggle with God, but the fear isn’t going away. I think, like Cecy has done to Ned, I have turned my sweet little girl into my idol. I think this is why I’m still struggling with fear even though I’ve confessed the fear to God. My real issue is that I haven’t confessed my actual sin — idolatry.
When this thought first stuck me I gasped and said, “NO!” I mean moms are made to love their kids fiercely. But then I considered my fear: I do NOT want to lose my child. To me, my child dying is a pain I am not sure I could ever overcome. But this is where I have gone wrong. This is how I have made my child an idol. Psalm 106:36 (ESV) states, They served their idols, which became a snare to them. The piece of this verse that resonates with me, and I dare say would resonate with Cecy, is the idea of the snare. A snare is a trap. I never meant to be trapped in this type of idol worship, and neither did Miss Cecilia. I just thought I was loving my child, and Cecy believed she was loving the man God made for her. But the truth is both fictional Cecy and very real me stopped trusting God. Instead of going to God for help, I became the one who would find the answers. I’ll figure out the medicines. I’ll watch Bella like a hawk. I’ll stay up until two in the morning worrying. It became all about me, me, me! I have become so wrapped up in my daughter that I forgot she is actually God’s daughter. I lost sight of the fact that God sets Bella’s steps in this life, not me. As Abbotsbury puts it to Cecy, I made Bella a god and I did not seek out the One who knows best.
I am SO grateful for Underestimating Miss Cecilia. Carolyn Miller has penned something more than just a Regency-era novel. She has crafted a fictional place that allows the reader the opportunity to wrestle with various internal struggles and hopefully come out the other side stronger in relationship with God. Yes, the plot is engaging. Yes, the characters are well-written and endearing. Yes, the happily ever after is satisfying. But it is the timely themes that make this novel stellar. I highly, highly recommend Underestimating Miss Cecilia. Purchase a copy today. You will not be disappointed.
I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via her publisher, Kregel Publications. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of Underestimating Miss Cecelia by Carolyn Miller. The giveaway begins today, 7-23-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 7-28-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!
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