(Tales From Ivy Hill, Book 1)
Bethany House Publishers
Paperback ISBN: 9780764218132
Welcome to the English village of Ivy Hill, where friendships thrive, romance blossoms, and mysteries await. . . .
The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.
Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?
As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?
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I regularly obsess over British TV. I'm a major fan girl when it comes to series’ like Downtown Abbey, Cranford, and Lark Rise to Candleford. When the final episodes ran, I think I cried for days after. I have yet to find a new series to replace those old favorites of mine, but thankfully author Julie Klassen has given me a reason to rejoice with her latest novel, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. It's like those favorite shows have all been combined into one delightful book and given the magic touch that only flows from the pen of Ms. Klassen.
To be honest, this story does start off a little slowly. The introduction of so many characters leaves one’s head spinning! I wasn't completely sure if I would like any of the residents of Ivy Hill. It was a bit of a jumble, but eventually the direction of the story becomes clear and Jane and Thora and all the employees at the inn are people you root for. Fair warning: This book does contain many loose ends, but from the details given concerning book two, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, I have every confidence that the author is going to address those gaping holes as the series progresses.
For the above reason and the fact that I am completely enamored with more than a few of the gentlemen in this story, I just bet this book is the start of one of the best Regency series I’ll have read. Even though this book is more of a family saga type read than romance like her previous books, there is just a touch of romance that is so subtle and sweet, you will swoon. ~Looks for fainting couch.~ As I’ve matured (*cough cough* I won't say I’ve aged.*cough cough*), I've found sometimes the subtle love and friendships really make for the best romantic storylines over the all consuming, knock-your-socks-off stuff. Julie Klassen has mastered the sweet romance game. Overall, I am pleased with this novel and patiently await book two.
~ My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ~
* I receive free books from authors, publishers, and/or publicists. I am not required to write positive reviews. All opinions expressed are my own.*