Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
TYPE OF NOVEL: Regency Romance, Historical Fiction
SETTING: 1820 Wiltshire, England
- Jane Fairmont Bell: A refined gentleman’s daughter who surprisingly married an innkeeper.
- Thora Bell: Jane’s no-nonsense mother-in-law who has lots of experience working as a landlady of an inn and doesn’t have the best of relationships with Jane.
- Patrick Bell: Jane’s charming brother-in-law, who at times seems self-serving and sneaky.
- Gabriel Locke: Quiet and helpful, Mr. Locke has been serving as the inn’s farrier for about a year, but his past is something of a mystery.
It’s been a year since she inherited her husband’s inn and Jane hasn’t done much to take assume the duties and responsibilities of landlady. But now she learns that payment on the large loan her husband took out is long overdue. And since the inn isn’t making much of a profit these days this financial situation is very dire. Jane must decide if she wants to try and save the inn from being foreclosed or free herself from a life of chaos and hard work and sell the inn for a loss…
NOTE: This is book one in Ms. Klassen’s Tales from Ivy Hill series. Book Two, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, is scheduled to release December 2017.
WHAT I LOVED:
- A Charming English Village: This book introduces Ivy Hill, a picturesque English village, and the coaching inn, The Bell, which is of great importance to the village as it provides work and livelihood for many of its inhabitants. With descriptions of each street, building, and business and a helpful detailed picture map at the beginning the reader is really able to visualize and feel the authenticity of this bustling and charming village. I’m so very glad that there will be more books that take place in this little town.
- A Wonderful Host of Characters: Since this book is part of series, readers are introduced to an abundance of new characters with interesting personalities and pasts. Readers meet characters that work for the inn, are long-time residents of the area, and some that are newcomers to Ivy Hill. I loved learning about everyone’s past in this story, especially Jane and her friends – Rachel, Mercy, and Sir Timothy. And I loved all the distinct personalities we meet in this series – some of my favorites are the flirtatious and charming Charlie Frazer, the kind and compassionate Mercy Grove, and the crotchety Lord Winspear! And I loved the more complex characters like Gabriel Locke and Thora Bell.
- Intriguing Secrets and Unanswered Questions: One of things I love and appreciate most about Julie Klassen’s writing is how she never reveals all the information readers need and want. It is fun to be in the dark and dying to know all the answers! This story, more than any other I’ve read by Julie Klassen, has a lot of unanswered questions and secrets that are slowly revealed. I was dying to know: What happened to the loan money? What kind of mischief Patrick was scheming? What happened between Rachel and Sir Timothy? What was John Bell up to before his death? So much going on in this novel, so many questions swirling in my head!
- Unique Relationship Focus: I really enjoyed the unique focus on the relationship between Jane and her mother-in-law, Thora. Especially since it was a tense relationship filled with misjudgments and insecurity between two independent and discordant women. Both characters have their flaws and jumped to the wrong conclusions often, but I love how real their relationship felt. I know many women who have similar relationships with their mother-in-laws!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- It’s Hard Being Patient: Oh! This is the hard part of reading a multi-book series! Not all the questions were answered and not every conflict was resolved. I know there is the promise of these things happening in Book 2 of this series, but it will be hard to wait!! And with how one relationship looked like it was on the precipice become something more, it gutted me to see it end on a bit of a cliff! Must. Have. Patience.
Filled with endearing characters, history, and intriguing developments, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is a delightful and heartwarming introduction to the Tales from Ivy Hill series. I cannot wait to visit Ivy Hill again and follow the stories of these charming and likable characters!
The lovely people at Bethany House are hosting a grand giveaway for this blog tour! The winner will will receive a $20 Teavana gift card and a package of four inspirational British romances from four different eras (The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen, A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell, The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White, Not by Sight by Kate Breslin). Doesn’t that sound wonderful?!?
To enter this giveaway leave a comment and fill out the rafflecopter form below. Make haste! This giveaway will be ending soon!
There are 10 copies of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill up for grabs on Julie Klassen’s website for this series. Be sure to check that out and enter to win a copy of her lovely new book there!
Thank you to Amy Green, Julie Klassen, and the people at Bethany House for putting this tour together! I’m so happy to take part!
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill Blog Tour Schedule
December 5: Author Q&A on Pemberley to Milton
December 6: Excerpt on My Love for Jane Austen
December 8: Review on Laura’s Reviews
December 9: Book Spotlight on More Agreeably Engaged
December 10: Review on A Bookish Way of Life
December 11: Review and Excerpt on Delighted Reader Book Reviews
December 12: British Show Inspiration Guest Post on Living Read Girl
December 13: Historical Background Guest Post on English Historical Fiction Authors
December 14: Review on Calico Critic
December 15: Excerpt on So Little Time
December 16: Review and Author Q&A on My Jane Austen Book Club
December 17: Review on Just Jane 1813
December 18: Excerpt on Babblings of a Book Worm
December 19: Review on Austenesque Reviews
December 20: Guest Post on Jane Austen in Vermont
December 21: Review on Luxury Reading