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The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

4.2 37
by Julie Klassen

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JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance


JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The financial future of the English village of Ivy Hill rests largely upon the success of The Bell, the coaching inn formerly run by innkeeper John Bell, but now by his widow, the reluctant and inexperienced Jane. When she discovers a large loan is imminently due, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, the former mistress of The Bell who knows the business. Together they must face and overcome old hurts while assessing new methods to turn the business around. The appearance of several men, old friends and new, showing interest in both the inn and the women add mystery and emotional depth to the Jane and Thora’s struggle to save their heritage. Readers are left to wonder which of Thora’s suitors can convince her to chance love again, and if Jane can embrace or deny her new role as innkeeper. With her signature insight into the human heart, Klassen (The Painter’s Daughter) draws readers into the deceptively quiet English countryside of Austen’s day, a world of complicated yet joyful, messy yet faithful, lives of regular people who choose to truly live despite their difficult circumstances. Readers will rejoice that this is only the beginning of her new Tales from Ivy Hill series. Agent: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such (Dec.)

Product Details

Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
Tales From Ivy Hill Series , #1
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com.

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The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
BrittanyMc 4 months ago
I have to admit that this novel started out very slowly for me. I have truly enjoyed many books by this author in the past, so I felt that I needed to persevere and see if the story picked up for me. I am very glad that I did so! The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill was beautifully written and I found that I connected with the story and events once I passed that halfway mark. Although it took me awhile to get the feel for the community and to begin to care about the people who lived there, I really enjoyed how things began to develop. I now find myself very invested in these characters! There were a few different possible romantic interests woven gently through the story. The author did a great job of keeping me guessing about how certain romances would progress. I am looking forward to returning to this community and seeing what is happening in the lives of certain characters in book two. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
parmilespages 4 months ago
Jane Bell inherits The Bell, a coaching inn, from her late husband. She cannot fathom why her husband, John, has bequeathed the inn to her. She has no desire to be involved with the daily activities and responsibilities of managing the inn. When she learns The Bell is in financial difficulties, she makes the decision to do her best to make the needed improvements to save The Bell. It is a daunting task and one Jane feels unequipped to handle especially with her critical mother-in-law looking over her shoulder. This book isn’t just about Jane and her act of trying to save The Bell, it is about the entire town of Ivy Hill and the significant people who play a role in the life of the inn. Since this book is the first of a series, it sets the tone for the dynamics between the characters and gives background information about the town’s inn, a central focus of Ivy Hill. For me, the book started a bit slow but as I became better acquainted with the characters, I enjoyed the story more. I liked how Jane changed and became her own person. Her character was one that tried to see the best in people and to trust others. Ms. Klassen is a master storyteller in how she reveals a person’s character through small circumstances in the story, such as she did with Jane and the mouse she found in the Lodge. The other characters in the book, each had a distinct personality, voice, and role in the story as well. I appreciated how each character added a different detail about the plot or Jane’s past, whether it was about a past relationship, a past situation, or a foreshadowing of the future. I would recommend reading this historical fiction book. I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
DarleneLTurner 2 days ago
What friendships await in the quaint and cozy English village of Ivy Hill? What is life like there when all seems lost? Jane Bell is about to find out. When her innkeeper husband dies and leaves her in charge of The Bell, she finds herself stumbling in the business world. How can she run the Inn let alone save it from a loan threatening to foreclose? And then her mother-in-law, Thora Bell, shows up unexpectedly. Will she make matters worse? As Jane and Thora work through their differences and come up with a plan to save The Bell, they soon find themselves entangled in the lives of the town residents and one mysterious newcomer. Can they restore their empty hearts as well as the dilapidated inn? The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is book one in new Tales from Ivy Hill series from author Julie Klassen. This author certainly knows how to spin a tale of delightful portions. This book doesn’t disappoint in regards to her masterful storytelling abilities. I have to admit though this was not one of my favourites by this author. I found the story hard to grab my attention and somewhat confusing at the beginning. The plot moved slowly. However, the richness in imagery, dialogue, and characterization certainly held my attention and made me move forward to want to find out what happens. I could picture everything in this quaint little English village of Ivy Hill. It’s a place I’d love to visit! Each character was well-rounded. I found myself having to warm up to both Jane and Thora as they had their own little quirks, especially Thora. She was downright rude at times. But that is a sign of a great character. You dislike them at one moment and like them the next. It’s evident this author did her research when it came to the historical aspects of the novel. I loved that. Well done. All in all, I enjoyed this book as it is very well written. I give The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill three stars. If you like historical fiction, this is a good one to put on your shelf. **Book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.
Heidi_Reads 9 days ago
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is a cozy book to sink into and enjoy at an unrushed pace. Before reading it I had heard that it was different from Klassen's other books, and I agree- but definitely not in a bad way. There is less suspense, but still a good amount of intrigue. The story is told from the perspective of three main characters: Jane, the innkeeper; Thora, her mother-in-law; and Rachel, Jane's estranged childhood friend. There is a wide cast of community members that interact with the ladies, but not too many to keep track of, especially since they are introduced gradually and each is so individual. I loved the steady weaving in and out of the story and relationships and how each flawed character grew and progressed through the challenges they faced. The workings of the countryside inn reminded me of other favorite books with a similar setting (Doing No Harm by Carla Kelly and Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt) and it was so skillfully represented that I was fascinated by the historical details without being overwhelmed by them. The romance and potential for romance is subtle but definitely an undercurrent. I am so glad I gave this book a chance and am looking forward to continuing the series! Highly recommend! (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
coramdeo540 16 days ago
The Inn Keeper of Ivy Hill Julie Klassen Book Summary: The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to 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 find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora's wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them--and her future--in a different light.With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love? Review: For me I had a hard time getting through this book. I really did not like Jane in the beginning and found Thora to be an imitation of Dame Maggie Smith’s character from Downton Abbey which fell flat for me. I really like Julie Klassen’s books, but for me this was difficult to get through. Jane started out weak. There were way to many secondary characters introduced in a short period of time to keep up with. It took too long The fighting was more than I would like. I finally gave up trying to enjoy the book. I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone. 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.
ARS8 17 days ago
Julie Klassen has written a novel fit for The Masterpiece Theater. In her newest and the beginning of a series, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, we meet a host of characters in and around the floundering coaching inn, The Bell. The two main characters would be the widow Jane Bell, now innkeeper stated by her husband’s will, and her very uncompromising mother-in- law, Thora Bell. As Jane is just beginning to come out of her fog of mourning, she has received some devastating and surprising news in regards to The Bell and its financial future and any future for it at all. Jane realizes that she cannot continue as she has been and sets out to revive the inn. Seeking reluctant help from her brother-in-law and Thora, she also reaches out for advice from three very different men: Simon, longtime childhood friend who could have been something more, the mysterious Gabriel Locke, who works at the inn, and finally James Drake who is the newest proprietor of an incoming inn and the now competition. We not only get Jane’s journey but Thora’s and a bit of Jane’s childhood girlfriends; Mercy and Rachel, who are dealing with their own tough situations as well. This novel has a little bit of romance and mystery, and not everything is wrapped up neatly by the end. I appreciated the intricate workings and customs that Klassen weaved into her novel and how they really give us a sense of the culture during the time of the 1820’s in England. While this book is different than other Klassen novels and romance does not have the biggest role, we do get a real feeling of community. I look forward to continuing this series and seeing how the ladies of Ivy Hill will navigate their lives from henceforward. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions and views expressed are my own.
slm76 20 days ago
The year is 1820: the Napoleonic Wars are over, George IV now reigns in his own right instead of as Regent for his father, and the first railways are just around the corner. The country is changing, and The Bell Inn will need to change with it if it’s to stay in business. Jane Bell is too wrapped in grief to pay attention at first, but a visit from the local bank manager wakes her from her malaise. As Jane takes an interest in the inn, she makes discoveries not only about the business but also about herself. Thora, initially unlikable, also comes to realize a few things about her life. There’s a mystery wrapped into the narrative, however, as both women are puzzled by certain events in the inn’s recent past, events about which they’d previously had no knowledge. Jane and Thora aren’t the only women in this story. Also featured is Rachel, the daughter of the recently deceased Sir William Ashford of Ivy Hill, and Mercy who is a spinster school teacher. At one point they were both friends with Jane, but time has estranged them. Then there are the women of the village who face challenges regarding their positions in life. The Innkeeper at Ivy Hill is an engrossing novel about the lifeblood of a small English village. It was interesting to see how the various businesses depended on each other. As well as the mystery mentioned above, there are elements of humor and romance. The book is enhanced by the map of Ivy Hill in the opening pages, although a character list would’ve been helpful. Discussion questions are included for reading groups at the end. A website has also been created to support the Ivy Hill series and, from that, it appears there will be at least three books in the series. The next one, called The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, is due out in December. It’ll be a long wait. Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Debragg 25 days ago
"The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill" by author Julie Klassen is an about an inn where people like to stay. The Bell has just had it's innkeeper pass away and the new landlady is his widow. Jane Bell does not want to take over but she has no choice. She has to learn fast or her inn as well as the town will be no more. Thora Bell who is her mother-in-law is still around and is also grieving. Thora has 2 men that want to go out with her but Thora is not interested. Will she change her mind? Jane is very busy trying to save the inn. Will she be able to, before everything is lost? I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book for a review by Bethany House and all opinions are mine.
EmilyAnneK17 3 months ago
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is the first book in a new series by Julie Klassen. It centers on the Inn that is at the heart of a little coaching village in nineteenth century England. Jane Bell has been the new innkeeper for a year now, ever since her husband’s death, but she has been in too deep grief to take much care of it. Just as it falls deeper into disrepair, she becomes aware of a large loan that her late husband had taken out without her knowledge. Jane now has a mere three months to repay the debt or she will lose everything. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is the story of a village full of charming characters, rather than a tale centered one only one or two characters. In that way, it is like the TV shows Downton Abbey, Poldark, and Little House on the Prairie. Each character has their own story and part to play in Jane’s story, but it is not exclusively about Jane. They are all connected as inhabitants of the town and have some connection to either Jane or the inn that the entire town depends on to some degree. Several different romances and love triangles develop among the characters, friendships are created and mended, and discoveries are made. The book had a quaint, cozy feel to it, though it was interspersed with a little bit of drama and excitement. The characters and the setting had great development and truly portrayed the small town experience. I don’t usually choose to read book like this because they tend to be a little slow and I prefer for the focus to be on only one or two characters. Because this book is like that, I did not enjoy it as well as I had hoped, coming from an author I adore. However, it was very well written and I enjoyed it enough to look forward to the second installment and would gladly recommend it to people who do enjoy that kind of novel. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
RobinWillson 3 months ago
The first book in a new series, setting up the stories to follow. You’ll enjoy getting to know the characters and want to read more to see how their lives and their community progress, somewhat reminiscent of the Mitford series. The Bell Inn was left to Jane by her husband, who had died suddenly. Jane came from an aristocratic background with few skills to run an Inn. While married, her husband did not encourage her to participate in anything to do with the Inn. His mother and brother were his partners. Theora, his mother, grew up in the family that had run the Inn for years and it was part of her. When her son left the Inn to his wife, she decided to go to her sister’s house to stay, but that didn’t go as expected so she returned to the Inn she knew and loved. On return she discovered that the Inn had fallen into disrepair and was losing business. Add to that a local banker suddenly claiming there was a huge loan on the Inn – an amount that was practically impossible to repay – which would be a benefit to Patrick (the brother) who wanted to take the Inn over and turn it into something else. The man who delivered the news to Jane of her husband’s death offered to stay on and work for the Inn and became a valuable asset. As the story progresses Jane has some leads to follow concerning her husband’s whereabouts when he was killed – or possibly murdered. A rival Inn owner purchases Jane’s old home to turn it into competition as an Inn, but he also offers several suggestions to Jane about improving The Bell. The whole town enters into a competition between the two Inns for the right to have the Royal Mail delivery. Love interest, deceit, intrigue and mystery. A great book on its own, but I can’t wait for the second book in the series to see what happens next! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Bethany House Publishers - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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”. http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.
Fitzysmom 3 months ago
There's really not much more delightful to me than reading a series set in a small village that revolves around ordinary people living their everyday lives. If you've read Jan Karon's Mitford series or Miss Read's Fairacre Chronicles you know exactly what I am talking about. To say that I was excited to get my hands on Julie Klassen's first installment in the Tales From Ivy Hill series is an understatement. I have long enjoyed Julie's historical fiction books and I knew that she would be the perfect author to give us a new village and people to love. By the end of the book I felt as if I had made new acquaintances and looked forward to getting to know each of them better. The book starts with one of my favorite things . . . a map of the village! I love being able to picture the layout as the story progresses. When we first dip into the story we meet Jane Bell who is a recent widow and has suddenly and unexpectedly become the new innkeeper for The Bell. Much to her dismay her late husband left the coaching inn for her to run. The problem lies in the fact that before this Jane's husband insisted that Jane lead a life of a genteel lady and as such she really had very little to do with the inn. The next central figure that we are introduced to is Thora Bell. She's Jane's mother-in-law and the two of them have a very strained relationship. The Bell coaching inn has been in Thora's family for generations so Thora is a bit territorial when it comes to all things concerning the inn. The problem is that the decisions are no longer hers to make. There are other friends and family that we meet but I would say that this installment centers around these two women. I found the storyline to be very easy to relate to. Even the best of daughter-in-law and mother-in-law relationships have a tension about them. Jane and Thora are leary of each other but they also need each other. Watching the barriers come down and the trust factor go up was a delight. As I said earlier this is a gentle read but it does have a bit of mystery involved. I'm delighted to say that I was completely wrong about who was behind the deception. In this case it was so nice to be wrong! There's a bit of everything to entice the reader. There's relationship issues, both romantic and platonic, there's mystery, and there's also some very intriguing history. You just can't go wrong with this read. Let me close with my favorite quote from the book. It comes from Mercy, a dear friend of Jane's, and it comes at the beginning of the book but it sets the tone for the rest of the story. "Manage the inn, Jane; save it. Have a mission in life. Discover that work worth doing is about more than profit and toil. It's about using the gifts and ability you've been given to serve your fellow man and please your Maker." (pg. 130) I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
BookLover16 3 months ago
When I first started this book I wasn't sure if I was going to love it as much as Julie Klassan's other books. I try not to judge a book by it's cover but I do judge it by the back cover's description and first chapter. And if they don't pull me into the story right from the get go... well, it's seems that I either slowly drudge through the book or sometimes don't finish it at all. So because the description and first couple chapters weren't very exciting to me I expected to be disappointed in the author's latest novel. BUT I wasn't! After just a couple more chapters I was completely engrossed in the story. I, like Jane, didn't know who I could trust and that kept me in anticipation for the turn of every page. And when I had finished the book I could barely wait for the next installment in this series! I'm so glad Julie Klassan is finally doing a series because her side characters are always SO well written that I'd wish for them to have their own story too. Now my wish has come true!
BlueJeansAndTeacups 3 months ago
•°o•:*:•.CHARMING.•:*:• o°• Ivy Hill, Wilshire, England, May 1820 A small English village is such a charming place to visit. It draws you in, and welcomes you to stay, find community and become invested in its people. That is how I felt in Ivy Hill, while slipping out of my every-day-life and between the pages this story centered around. Jane Fairmont Bell (age 29) has inherited her husband’s coaching inn, The Bell, after his sudden death. She lives her life in a daze, wearing her “widow’s weeds”, relying on the staff to see to running the inn, until one day, its needs can no longer be ignored. Her brother-in-law, Patrick, has returned to help and eventually her cantankerous mother-in-law, Thora Bell, also returns to shape things up. There are many problems at hand. The inn has fallen into disrepair, the bank reveals a large loan that is past due, many people don’t believe Jane can handle the responsibility of being a business woman; particularly the abrasive cook Bertha Rooke, and mystery lies in wait. Additionally, as the story progresses, three potential suitors hint interest at Jane. Personally I am rooting for Gabriel Locke, the Bell’s horse farrier. But, book 1 is not about Jane finding new love, but rather learning what she is made of, and how to rely on her neighbors. A favorite storyline was the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society, where local business women meet to discuss business concerns. –Ch.14 “So the knitting is merely a guise?” “Basically,” Mercy agreed, eyes twinkling. “What about the tea?” Jane asked. “Heavens no. Tea is mandatory. What would a clutch of women do without tea?” There is an entire patchwork quilt of characters in this story, much like a real village. I got to know them, enjoyed some, wanted to punch others, fellowshipped in their faith, grieved their losses, and in the end was so delighted to share in their lives. The author has some lovely pictures, character directory, map of the town, etc. all found under Tales From Ivy Hill dot com. I enjoyed this story very much and recommend it to others. I received a copy from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. Book #1 © December 2016 Bethany House 444 pages with discussion questions Book 2 – The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, due out Dec. 2017
MeggAnne 4 months ago
I got this book in exchange for my honest review from Bethany House Publishers. Julie Klassen has been one of my very favorite authors for a few months now. So, when I saw this book was up for a chance to review it I was thrilled. Like the rest of her stories it is written beautifully and draws you into the story right from the start. If you've ever wanted to know what it is like to run your own inn, read this book. It goes through the ups and downs of being in charge of an inn, even talking about learning to cook if your cook quits and how to find help outside of where you may normally look. All in all, I feel like this story had a few too many characters. It was a tad bit tedious to try to place each of them and understand why they were important. However, I figure it is probably going to be explained in other books in the series as this is the first in the 'Tales from Ivy Hill' collection. Thora and Talbot were my favorite characters. I loved their storylines and actually found myself searching for the bits about them over the others. Julie Klassen still remains one of my very favorite authors, even if this one isn't one of my favorites of hers. There wasn't anything bad about it as it was a great story with lively characters, but it failed to grab me like some of the others have. I give it four stars because it is written well, the characters are good, and the storyline is intriguing.
Virginiaw 4 months ago
This will be the book to beat this year. I loved this story. I did not want to put this down. The story was fantastic and the characters came alive. It will be hard to wait till December for the next book in this series. It was hard to decide which woman character that I liked best. I did not like Patrick since he always seemed to be trying to lose Ivy Hill. I loved Thora, Jane and Rachel and Mercy. These are all strong women characters. I received this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest opinion.
mackenzie_carol 4 months ago
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is the first book in Julie Klassen’s first ever series, Tales From Ivy Hill. I have read every single one of Julie’s novels, so it was a no-brainer for me to preorder this one! However, I was very disappointed…to find that the end of this story leaves me hanging and the next one doesn’t come out until next December! Julie wove her magic just like always, but this time, the story left me hanging in a way I did not appreciate! In all seriousness, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is completely fantastic, and I’m soooo glad I added it to my growing collection of Julie Klassen novels. The only reason I’m complaining like this is because Julie didn’t tie up all her ends for a one-novel “happily ever after,” meaning that must be coming in the next novel or two, which is normally fine, except for that fact that I have to wait a year for it! Each and every of the characters in this novel are wonderful! I fell in love with them instantly, and I kept trying to figure out who would be paired of in the end. I still have my suspicions, especially since two of the characters we read a lot about have yet to find their heroes. That just makes me even more excited for the next book, because I can’t wait to see if they end up with the men I want them to end up with! Plus, I still want to see what happens with the inn. All in all, I really loved this book, just like all of Julie’s other novels, and I can’t wait to read more in this series! I am so glad that Julie finally decided to start writing series, and I would definitely say that she has done a very good job of it! I can’t imagine not giving this fantastic story anything other than all five bookshelves, and it also has a permanent place on my all-time favorites list. I highly recommend this novel! (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
MelissaF 4 months ago
What an engaging book and I'm so excited for this series and the chance to spend more time in Ivy Hill and with these characters. I can't wait to see what Julie will cook up next. It seems like each chapter just added another layer of tension and unease to the book. I kept wondering who Jane would fall in love with and who she could really trust. Even though Jane didn't like her mother-in-law I could see the good in her. Of course that came because she was a point-of-view character and we knew she didn't want anything bad to happen. However, someone does, but how exactly? That is the questions. And what did Jane's husband do with all that money he borrowed. So many questions. A wonderful read that I am sure fans of historical fiction will eat up. of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
BronteCO 4 months ago
With the death of her husband, Jane Bell finds herself unexpectedly thrown into the roll of Innkeeper, quite uncommon for 1820s England! Jane grew up in a wealthy household, and has no idea how to run a business. At first Jane seems rather meek and dull, but as the story progresses, readers start to see a little fire and determination inside. It's as if Jane has always been asleep, but now, circumstances have changed, and she's forced to stand on her own two feet. As the story progresses, Jane must fight for the Inn itself, and uncover the mystery surrounding her husband's death. I loved the addition of this mystery. It really added to the suspense of the story, and pushed me toward the final chapters. The secondary characters were also quite interesting. Some of their back story is left rather hazy, building up for future books in the series. At the end of the story, I was left wanting more. I'm really looking forward to book 2, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage. Overall, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill was a beautiful story of a woman coming into her own, finding strength in herself, but also forming some new, unexpected friendships. I hope you enjoy it!
Anonymous 4 months ago
As the first book in the Tales from Ivy Hill series, author Julie Klassen delivers a compelling novel I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill introduces us to Jane, the reluctant new owner of the local inn. A recent widow and a gentlewoman by birth, Jane was not involved in the daily operations of The Bell while her husband lived. Faced with making changes to secure the future of the inn, Jane has a lot of learn and plenty of people offering advice. With a full range of memorable characters, Klassen’s novel is reminiscent of the best of Charles Dicken’s storytelling where characters find themselves intertwined with each other for better or for worse. I loved the range of strong female characters we follow throughout the novel, and the unexpected plot twists that kept creeping up throughout the novel which kept us guessing about characters’ motives. This was a poignant story of loss and love, loneliness and strength of community. I look forward to reading future books in this series. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen for my candid review.
artsybookworm 4 months ago
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen is the first book in the series Tales From Ivy Hill. Isn't the cover gorgeous?! It looks so peaceful and calm. This book reminds me of Cranford so if you like shows like that you will definitely like this story. The story itself is very well done and keeps you guessing who will be with whom and if the characters are good or bad. Jane Bell has been widowed for a year and is still in shock that her husband left her in charge of the coaching inn, The Bell. Then when she found out that her husband had taken out a loan without ever telling her and they are about to lose the inn, she is propelled into trying to save the place. But they only have three months to come up with a plan to prove to the bank that they can make enough to pay it off. Will they be able to or is all hope lost? First off, I want to say that it was hard for me to get into this book at first. The story moved differently and you read from several perspectives which has never been my favorite way to read a story. But after the first chapter, I became interested in the characters and really felt for their predicaments. Honestly, this book has become my favorite from this author simply because it had so much depth and mystery and realistic struggles with relationships and life in general. Even if you don't typically read stories from this time period, I highly recommend you try it out. It is just so good from the plot to the characters and to the myriad of problems scattered throughout the story. I was rarely bored or disinterested; instead I was invested in what would happen to the characters and couldn't put the book down. I was given this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
Britney_Adams 4 months ago
Julie Klassen is an exceptional historical author, and she completely charmed me with The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. I loved the picturesque English village and delighted in the compelling characters who reside there! As I began reading, I became immersed in Jane’s world and the complexities of living and working at The Bell. “Can Jane bring new life to the inn, and to her heart as well?” I can’t wait to continue the Tales from Ivy Hill series and find out! I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
Nicnac63 4 months ago
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is the first book in the Tales From Ivy Hill series. The charming English village setting is illustrated with a neighborhood map in the front of the book making it easy to visualize the neighborhood. I sunk into this setting and time period rather easily. I cared about the Inn, and was able to relate to the two widows, Jane and her mother-in-law, Thora, but there were so many secondary characters that I found it difficult to focus or become dedicated to any one person in particular. The pacing was also rather slow, at least in the first half of the story, so my interest tended to wane here and there. I am not giving up on the series, but hope the next book is more succinct and faster paced. All in all, this is an interesting read with interesting characters, but moved along slower than I prefer. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.
ConnieT1982 5 months ago
love reading historical fiction books - so I was thrilled when I got this book to review. I had read other things by this author. My favorite book by Julie Klassen is: Lady of Milkweed Manor. Description of the book: First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen! On a rise overlooking the Wiltshire countryside stands the village of Ivy Hill. Its coaching inn, The Bell, is its lifeblood--along with the coach lines that stop there daily, bringing news, mail, travelers, and much-needed trade. Jane Bell lives on the edge of the inn property. She had been a genteel lady until she married the charming innkeeper who promised she would never have to work in his family's inn. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Jane finds herself The Bell's owner, and worse, she has three months to pay a large loan or lose the place. Feeling reluctant and ill-equipped, Jane is tempted to abandon her husband's legacy and return to her former life of ease. However, she soon realizes there is more at stake than her comfort. But who can she trust to help her? Her resentful mother-in-law? Her husband's brother, who wanted the inn for himself? Or the handsome newcomer with secret plans of his own . . . ? With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane struggles to win over naysayers and turn the place around. Can Jane bring new life to the inn, and to her heart as well? My Review: This book took me awhile to get into. While the book is very well written, this was not my favorite book from this author. The characters are very well developed and well written - but it was hard for me to see my self standing there watching everything unfold. One of the things that I did enjoy was the well thought out research in regards to Inn Keeping during this time period and the Postal service. I really enjoy getting a history lesson while I am reading. Overall, This is not one of my favorite books. I had a hard time getting into the book and the plot was slow moving. However, as stated above, the book is very well written with good character development. I do feel that she sets the stage for future books. I do like the work and description that has gone into the residents of Ivy Hill. My overall review: 3.5 stars out of 5. I received a complementary copy of this book through the Bethany House blogger review program, but opinions stated are my own.
KimPotter 5 months ago
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is the first book in Julie Klassen’s Tales from Ivy Hill series. When the story first started, I thought, “Oh no, another helpless, clueless female that has no idea what is going on around her!” But Jane Bell didn’t stay downtrodden. She rallied and became aware that life wasn’t just about her losses. She had to save the inn, not just for herself, but for her husband’s legacy and the good of the town. Of course, there’s a villain who wants to see the inn close. So, Jane must race to save her inheritance with help from some old and new friends. Can she make it before she loses everything? That’s the final question. I can’t wait for the next installment! If you like Regency Romance with history throw into the mix, then this story is for you. Ms. Klassen did a great job.
Christy41970 5 months ago
If you are a lover of Regency Romance, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is a book you’re going to want to add to your TBR piles. Jane Bell has been spending her past year just existing. Her husband, John, along with his mother Thora, had been in charge of running The Bell, a coaching Inn, before John’s untimely death. John shocked everyone by leaving The Bell to his wife Jane. Jane knows nothing of business since she was reared in the genteel society. When a loan that Jane knew nothing about comes due, Jane is forced to make a decision: either sell The Bell or make changes which will bring in business. Neither of these choices is easy. If she sells, many people will lose their jobs. If she keeps the business, it will take money for improvements. Jane takes the wise council of the inn’s farrier and decides to keep The Bell. In the meantime, her mother-in-law returns. Jane thinks Thora doesn’t like her, but she finds that they are more alike than either of them think. I really enjoyed the storyline in this book, though it really just lays the foundation for the series. It’s more a story of village life than one person’s story. There is some romance in the book, but it doesn’t play a major role. The story leaves you wondering about the future romances which will certainly follow in the coming books. I like the quirky characters that the author includes. They add life to the story. The book is slow moving in some parts, but that is reminiscent of regency novels. It has a bit of intrigue and a bit of conflict, but it is mostly just the story of one family’s efforts to keep their business…with some side stories thrown in. I do think that fans of Julie Klassen and regency novels will enjoy this one very much.