Author Archives: Laura Hile

About Laura Hile

I'm a middle school teacher and a moonlighting author. My genre? Regency romantic comedy. It's fun, escapist reading for thinking readers like you.

Pride & Precedence: Mind-Numbing Numbers

A continuing series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove

I ought to “work on accounts” Charles says.

Meaning, I must look after the household money for the butcher, the shops, the wages of our servants, and whatnot.

So now, in addition to everything else I do around here, I must attend to finances.

Charles says that he is weary of my complaints. He wishes me to see for myself how much it costs to run a home.

I will have you know that making suggestions is not complaining!

But I digress. Charles has given me a newspaper clipping with hints about managing household accounts. A budget? What a laugh. I feel like that tight-rope walker we saw perform in Bath. Disaster is inevitable!

Here are the highlights:

  • Do not guess at monthly costs. Of course I must guess! The barefaced truth is absolutely depressing, because who can afford to live? By live, I mean live graciously.
  • Track all spending. Of course I do not “track” – whatever that means. Must I account for each penny? Look, if I waited until we “have the money,” I  would never have any new clothes.
  • Maintain an emergency fund. Like we know in advance that I will be ill and need the services of Mr. Jones? No one wishes to be ill, and I do understand the need to be prudent. Still, this is no reason to let unused money pile up. Besides, sometimes a new pair of gloves is a desperate and necessary emergency.
  • Include fun money. I very much agree, but how does one define fun? A new hunting gun is not fun. An elegant landaulet of my very own (such as my sister Anne has), or a winter holiday in Bath, or April spent in London’s exclusive Mayfair district – these are fun.
  • Beware of classifying wants as needs. Again, it depends on who is doing the wanting. A cit in London — the sort of person who reads newspaper articles like this — hasn’t the same needs as a baronet’s well-born daughter.
  • Avoid Lifestyle Inflation – living a life you cannot afford. Like anyone can afford to live! My father never has, but does this stop him from commanding the elegancies of life? Moreover, the Young Squire has a reputation to uphold. We cannot serve watered-down soup to dinner guests or expect them to gnaw dry bread crusts, simply to stay on-budget.

I can sum up the problem quite easily: Not Enough Income!

Well. This budget is doomed to failure. Charles knows I am hopelessly bad at maths. It has been this way since I was in school.

It has to do with subtraction. I would be a dab hand at accounts if all I had to do was add.

Most cordially,

Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, Bart.
Future Mistress of Uppercross
Laura Hile (1)


Get your Beach Read on!

If you haven’t discovered Robin Helm’s Understanding Elizabeth, you’re missing out.

Don’t miss out!

Here is a wonderful opportunity to pick up the Kindle Edition for a great price.

Springtime weather is taking hold. I am ready to start packing that beach bag, for sure.

And Robin’s lovely Pride and Prejudice romance is the perfect book escape …

Understanding Elizabeth at Amazon

And it’s also at Ereader News Today, where it is the featured book. Yay!

Pride & Precedence: Book Clubbing

A continuing series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove

Buried in the country as we are, the only thing to do is READ. So dreary!

Here in Uppercross Village, the only “clubbing” to be had is “book clubbing.”  Or as Mrs. Brock calls it, The Uppercross Ladies’ Literary Guild.

She has the Guild part right. Guilds were medieval workhouses, were they not? And let me tell you, our Literary Guild is work.

For one thing, we never get enough copies of the book. So we either have to share, or we must listen as someone reads aloud that week’s selection. Let me tell you, this puts the duh in dull.

So there we sit, knitting lace or doing needlework or whatever, while the most boring reader drones on. I am then taken to task — usually by Mrs. Poole — for not bringing my work bag. As if I even own a work bag!

Of course I have not finished the book — who could?

One can never speak reasonably to a person like Mrs. Poole. “I prefer lace made in Paris,” I told her once, as nicely as I could. And then, for her benefit, I added,  “That’s a city in France.” Mrs. Poole refused to speak to me for the remainder of the meeting. 

When I do own the book, I must pretend to have read it. I mean, seriously. Who has time for reading? 

Bless me, the titles these ladies choose! Who would want to slog through all of The Castle of Entranto? I was told it was wonderfully exciting and tragically romantic. Well. To borrow one of your modern expressions, NOT. That first chapter was what the soldiers call heavy going. On his wedding day, a sickly young prince is crushed to death by a falling helmet. As if this would ever happen!

It is the same old story, and I am weary of it.  Those of us who are ill–as I very often am — are ignored or pushed aside. We are left to to die, like poor Prince Conrad, forsaken by uncaring friends and family.

But when I shared my disgust — for are not book clubs about honest opinions? — one of the members burst into tears and ran from the room. Apparently The Castle of Entranto is her favorite book. Can I help it if I did not like the first chapter?

And I ask you, weeping over something as paltry as a book? Tears ought to be reserved for financial crises — such as being unable to purchase a darling pink parasol or a much-needed pair of dancing slippers.

I trust that your book club meetings are more tolerable than mine.

Most cordially,

Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, Bart.
Future Mistress of Uppercross
Laura Hile (1)

And the eBook winner is … Jen Red!

Cat looking on as names are ready to go into the hat …

Congratulations, Jen Red!

Jennifer, Redlarczyk, you are the winner of our Friday the 13th Darcy By Any Other Name giveaway!

Happy Dance!

Contact me on FB messenger with your email — or your friend’s — and I will send the eBook right out.

Happy Reading ahead, that’s for sure!

Thanks to everyone who entered.



“Friday the 13th” eBook Giveaway

Friday the 13th.

Tradition tells us it’s a “freaky” day, when bad things can easily happen.

According to Disney, even a body swap!

Let’s bring on some good luck for a change. Like an eBook giveaway.

That’s right. I’m offering Darcy By Any Other Name — my lighthearted Darcy-Collins body swap — to one lucky winner.

This giveaway is limited to USA residents only. To enter, leave a comment here before midnight, Friday, April 13, 2018. I’ll draw names out of a hat and will announce the winner on April 14th.

Me, unlucky?  But I’m so cute and fluffy!

Do you already own a copy? Enter anyway! If you win, I’ll be happy to send the prize to a friend of your choosing.

Here’s my question for you. Which “Friday the 13th” superstition creeps you out the most? 

  • black cats crossing your path
  • don’t walk under that ladder
  • bad luck comes in threes
  • don’t break the mirror
  • beware of those sidewalk cracks
  • don’t spill the salt
  • no umbrellas inside

Or perhaps you have another bad luck tale? Do tell!

Lia London and her daughter made this fun Freaky Friday Darcy review.


Pride & Precedence: Make Do and Mend?

A continuing series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove

Of all the irksome tasks allotted to a lady — and there are many, believe you me! — needlework is the most unfair.

Oh, the hours I have spent embroidering elaborate designs on something useless, such as that set of cushions for our parish church. And to what purpose? So that someone’s hind end will be more comfortable while he or she listens to a sermon? Please.

I would rather be doing something productive.  Like paging through the latest fashion periodical. Or taking a nap.

Now that I am a mother, I am expected to help with the mending. Me, darning stockings! Making repairs to torn breeches! Replacing lost buttons and frayed cuffs! Heavens.

Who says I ought to be the one to mend? Yes, I am a mother and the lady of the house. Does this mean that I must work like a serf?

As an Elliot of Kellynch Hall, I well understand the importance of clothes. See here, I cannot go about announcing my exalted ancestry always. I have beautiful clothing for that.

Yes, exquisite garments are society’s Town Crier, calling forth the best places at dinner parties and respectful service in the village shops. Nothing says Well Born quite as effectively as spotlessly clean, stylish attire.

But young boys make “clean” impossible to maintain!  My poor nerves. My sons climb trees and scramble across stiles, and they engage in rough-and-tumble play with my husband’s dogs. If I keep the boys with me in the house, they are never still. They spill strawberry jam on themselves at breakfast, and later they open my writing desk and upset the ink pot.

Am I a serf?

Then too, my sons are continually growing. It’s like a joke of cosmic proportions. Once their wardrobe needs are met, overnight they must shoot up two inches in height. And do not speak to me about their too-tight shoes!

Charles merely laughs and says growing families are like this, as if torn and stained garments are a joke. It costs good money to hire a needlewoman — and we need a fleet of them!

Therefore, I must make do without a new gown this month — again. Because the Young Squire’s sons cannot go about in rags, it seems that I am forced to do so.

I trust that your needlework obligations are more tolerable than mine.

Most cordially,

Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, Bart.
Future Mistress of Uppercross
Laura Hile (1)

The Ides of March … and Christmas too?

Robin, Barbara, and I are celebrating today, together with our good friend, author Wendi Sotis.

Our A Very Austen Christmas anthology made Janet Taylor’s 2017 Favorites list at More Agreeably Engaged.

What a lovely surprise!

To be honest, everything about this book has been wonderful — from the designer’s beautiful cover and the quality of the stories (who knew?) to the enthusiastic reader responses.

We thought this book would only sell copies at Christmastime. We were wrong!

These favorites lists are the best way to discover some really good reads. Have a look: More Agreeably Engaged’s 2017 Favorites