Jane Bell is torn. Gabriel Locke is back and has made his intentions clear. But Jane is reluctant to give up her inn and destine another man to a childless marriage. Then someone she never expected to see again returns to Ivy Hill. . . .
Mercy Grove has lost her school and is resigned to life as a spinster, especially as the man she admires seems out of reach. Should she uproot herself from Ivy Cottage to become a governess for a former pupil? Her decision will change more lives than her own.
A secretive new dressmaker arrives in the village, but the ladies soon suspect she isn't who she claims to be. Will they oust the imposter, or help rescue her from a dangerous predicament?
In the meantime, everyone expects Miss Brockwell to marry a titled gentleman, even though her heart is drawn to another. While the people of Ivy Hill anticipate one wedding, an unexpected bride may surprise them all.
Don't miss this romantic, stirring conclusion to Tales from Ivy Hill.
About the Author
JULIE KLASSEN (www.julieklassen.com) 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.
Read an Excerpt
Ivy Hill, Wiltshire, England
Mercy Grove could no longer put off the painful task. Her brother had recently married and would soon return from his wedding trip, ready to move with his new bride into Ivy Cottage — the home Mercy and Aunt Matilda had long viewed as their own.
Mr. Kingsley and one of his nephews had already relocated the bookcases to the circulating library's new location in the former bank building and helped return the drawing room to its original purpose. It was time for her schoolroom to follow suit.
The Groves' manservant had carried the desks, globes, and schoolbooks up to the attic, and now all that was left to move was Mercy's prized wall slate.
Resigned to the inevitable, she asked Mr. Basu to take down the slate for her, but the manservant stood, knuckle pressed to his lip, uncertainty written on his golden-brown face. He sent her an apologetic look.
"If it breaks, it breaks," Mercy said, more casually than she felt. She reminded herself she was no longer a teacher, but rational or not, she wished to save the slate intact. Just in case.
She recalled her father's consoling words. "I know you will miss your school. But if nothing else, you might help educate George's children one day." But as George had just married, it would be several years at least until she had a niece or nephew to teach.
As the two stood contemplating the framed slate, the sound of knocking on the front door reached them. Mr. Basu hurried off to answer it, clearly relieved for an excuse to postpone the task.
A few moments later, her aunt poked her head into the schoolroom. "Mercy? Mr. Kingsley is here."
"Oh? I did not know we were expecting him."
"I happened to mention you were unsure how to remove the slate in one piece, and he offered to help."
"Aunt Matty, we have asked too much of Mr. Kingsley already. He —"
Before Mercy could complete her objection, her aunt opened the door wider, revealing tall Joseph Kingsley standing behind her, hat in hand. His sandy hair looked damp from a recent bath.
"Morning, Miss Grove."
Mercy's hand went to her throat. Could he see her pulse beating there? She fiddled with the fichu tucked into her neckline. "Mr. Kingsley. Thank you for coming, but are you not needed at the Fairmont?"
He shrugged his broad shoulders. "Oh, my brothers will get along without me for one morning. Besides, work has slowed to a trickle with Mr. Drake away so much."
Mr. Drake had taken Alice home to introduce her to his parents. Mercy had yet to see them since their return. How she missed the dear girl.
Aunt Matilda backed from the room, eyes twinkling. "Now that Mr. Kingsley is here, Mr. Basu and I will see if Mrs. Timmons needs any help in the kitchen."
Not very subtle, Mercy thought, cheeks self-consciously warm.
When the door closed behind him, Mr. Kingsley stepped forward. "You traveled after the holidays, I understand. I came to call once and found only Mr. Basu in residence."
Mr. Kingsley had come to call? Mercy had seen him on a few occasions since then, and he'd never mentioned it, although his nephew had been with him at the time. "I am sorry to have missed you. Was there ... something you needed?"
"Nothing in particular. Just to see how you fared and if you'd had a happy Christmas."
"That was kind of you. Aunt Matilda and I spent some time with my parents in London, and then we all traveled north to attend my brother's wedding."
"You traveled with only your parents and aunt?" he asked.
He looked down, twisting his hat brim. "I recall that you planned to give your suitor an answer by Christmas."
Embarrassment heated her face once more. Why had she burdened poor Mr. Kingsley with all her woes?
"I did, yes."
"And may I ask what your answer was?"
She gestured around the empty space. "I should think that obvious, as we are dismantling my schoolroom to make way for the new master and mistress."
He winced, and Mercy instantly regretted her sharp tone.
"Forgive me," she said. "I know bitterness does not become me. I thought I had accepted the situation, but apparently not."
"I understand. I did not want to assume. The professor must have been terribly disappointed."
"I don't know. He wrote back to tell me he postponed his retirement for another term. I suppose you think it was foolish of me to refuse him. My parents certainly do."
"Wise or not, I cannot say. I am not sorry to hear it, only surprised. Your mother described him as perfect for you. Educated, well-read, an Oxford tutor. Not many in this parish have such qualifications."
She looked down. "I am not so exacting, I assure you."
"You should be. You deserve the best, Miss Grove."
Mercy was taken aback by his earnest tone. Was he applying for the position? But when she found the courage to look into his face, he quickly averted his gaze.
Mercy swallowed. "And you, Mr. Kingsley?"
"Me? I would never presume to be worthy, uneducated as I —"
"I meant, did you have a happy Christmas?"
"Oh." A flush crept up his fair neck. "I ... yes. I spent Christmas with my parents and brothers, and Twelfth Night with ... in Basingstoke."
"Basingstoke? With your wife's family?"
His eyes flashed to hers in surprise.
She hurried to explain. "You mentioned that was where you met your wife." And, Mercy recalled, where she had died in childbirth only a year after they wed, their child with her.
He reached up and rubbed the back of his neck. "Right." He turned abruptly to the slate mounted on the wall. "Let's see about taking this down, then."
Seeing his obvious discomfort, Mercy was sorry she had mentioned his wife.
He walked closer and ran his fingers over the frame. "I'll do my best, but slate is fragile. There's a high risk of cracking."
"I understand. I trust you. You can do it if anyone can."
"I'll try to live up to that, but I haven't much experience with slate. I will need help lowering it once I begin prying the frame from the wall. Perhaps Mr. Basu?"
"Yes. I will go and ask him to join us."
Mr. Basu reluctantly followed Mercy back up to the schoolroom, padding quietly on his pointed leather slippers. He stood at the other end of the slate, awaiting instructions. Curiosity and keen intelligence shone in his dark eyes as he glanced from Mr. Kingsley to her and back again.
From his toolbox, Mr. Kingsley extracted a crowbar. Then both men looked at her once more.
"You're certain?" Mr. Kingsley asked.
The two simple words meant so much more.
She made do with a nod, fearing if she spoke, her voice would crack, and she wanted no cracks today.
Mr. Kingsley held her gaze a moment longer, then nodded to Mr. Basu.
"Just hold that end steady as I pry around this edge."
The two men worked in silence, communicating with looks and small gestures.
Mr. Kingsley pried slowly and carefully, and Mercy held her breath. As he levered up the last corner, a sickening snap rent the air, and a jagged line snaked up one side.
"Dash it," he murmured.
Mr. Basu muttered something in his mother tongue.
Mercy pressed a hand to her mouth. She felt that crack run straight through her heart.
Mr. Kingsley looked at her over his shoulder, crestfallen. "I am sorry, Miss Grove."
"It isn't your fault. Besides, it is not as though I have any plans for it."
He carefully extracted the loose piece, and then the men lifted the frame. "Where shall we put it?"
"Let's store it in the attic for now." With the rest of my hopes and dreams. Mercy reminded herself that God did not promise ease and happiness in this life. But He did promise peace and joy, and she was determined to hold on to both, somehow.
* * *
The next morning Mercy and Matilda helped the servants begin an early spring cleaning to prepare Ivy Cottage for its new residents. There was a great deal to do and only a few of them to accomplish it.
Becky Morris offered to paint the walls of the former schoolroom, which showed signs of fading once the large slate had been removed. To spare Mr. Basu the task of washing the outside windows — he was not as young as he used to be — Mercy borrowed a tall ladder from Becky and hired one of the Mullins boys to do so. The strapping boy, who was always looking for extra work, also helped Mr. Basu bring down her grandparents' old bedroom furniture stored in the attic these last ten years.
Needing to stretch their household budget after so many added expenses, they economized with simple meals and scant meat while planning a more extravagant dinner to welcome George and Helena home. At her mother's suggestion, they had engaged a kitchen maid to assist Mrs. Timmons. Her father had said he would increase their allowance accordingly but had yet to do so. Mercy hoped he would, especially now that she no longer received any income from her school to help make ends meet.
They worked steadily until the day of her brother's return. The new-married couple was due to arrive at four. By half past three, old Mrs. Timmons was perspiring and red-faced from her extra exertions over a hot stove, and the new kitchen maid, Kitty McFarland, looked about to weep. Agnes Woodbead ran between kitchen and dining room, laying out the best china and silver and arranging flowers from Mrs. Bushby's greenhouse on the table.
Mercy and Matilda scurried about as well, straightening and adding finishing touches to the newly restored master bedroom. Mercy set a vase of hothouse flowers on the bedside table, checked to make sure freshly laundered hand towels were folded neatly at the washstand, and smoothed the lace cover, purchased from the Miss Cooks, on the dressing table.
Soon the room was fresh and tidy, but a passing glance in the mirror told Mercy they were not.
"Aunt Matty, do take off your apron. They shall be here at any time."
Matilda surveyed Mercy as she did so. "And you ought to change your frock and comb your hair, my dear."
"Perhaps we had both better change."
Matilda readily agreed, and in the jerky nod and distracted gaze, Mercy realized her aunt was as nervous about the new arrivals as she was.
The two women retreated to their rooms, helping each other into gowns more suitable for receiving guests. Then Mercy quickly brushed and repinned her hair and turned to her aunt for approval. "All right?"
"Very nice, my dear. Me?"
Mercy regarded the thin flushed face, out-of-fashion primrose yellow gown, and wispy grey curls. She extracted a stray cobweb from her aunt's hair and smoothed an errant tuft. "Perfect. Remember, we must be on our best behavior. We are the visitors now."
Matilda nodded. "I shall try."
When the hired chaise arrived, Mercy and her aunt waited in the vestibule while Mr. Basu went out to meet it, looking smarter than usual in a crisply ironed high-colored jacket over his traditional loose trousers. As always, a soft cotton cap covered his black hair.
They watched through the window as a groom hopped down to lower the chaise step and open the door. Then he returned to the boot to unfasten trunks and valises and hand them to Mr. Basu.
Mercy's tall brother alighted first, reaching back to help his dainty wife down. Helena looked regal in purple-and-gold carriage dress and fashionable hat. She glanced up at Ivy Cottage and, if Mercy was not mistaken, was not overly impressed with what she saw.
Mercy's stomach tightened. She silently asked God to help this first encounter go well and for Helena to approve of the Ivy Cottage servants, who were worried about their future employment if they failed to please their new mistress. A second woman, dark-haired and dressed in serviceable black, emerged next, a stack of bandboxes in hand. Helena's lady's maid, Mercy guessed. She hoped Agnes had remembered to ready the room next to hers as well.
Mercy's heart pounded. Foolish girl, it is only your brother and his wife. There was nothing to be frightened of. Beside her, Aunt Matty clutched her hand.
Mercy reached out to open the door, but Matilda kept hold of her hand, gesturing with a nod for Agnes — in her best dress and freshly laundered apron — to open it. Mercy supposed her aunt was right. First impressions mattered. A woman like the former Helena Maddox would expect a servant to open the door. She would no doubt prefer a tall liveried footman, but short Agnes Woodbead or silent Mr. Basu would have to do. At least for the present. Mercy wondered if, and when, Helena would begin making changes. It was her household to manage now as she saw fit.
As he entered the vestibule, George stretched out his arms, a charming smile dimpling his face. "Well, here we are."
"Welcome home, George." Aunt Matty returned his smile.
George kissed his aunt's cheek and Mercy's, then turned to his wife. "You remember my darling wife, I trust?"
Helena said coolly, "Of course they do, George. We met at the wedding. And I have a name, you know."
"You do indeed, Helena. Although I prefer Mrs. Grove." He winked at his wife, but she ignored his teasing.
"A pleasure to see you again, Helena," Aunt Matty said.
"Yes, welcome to Ivy Cottage," Mercy added. Noticing Mr. Basu still carrying baggage through the side door, she said, "Here, let Agnes take your things."
Helena's gaze swept over Agnes's plain form with a small wrinkle between her brows. Mercy reminded herself not to be prejudiced where her new sister-in-law was concerned. Just because Helena was raised in a wealthy home did not mean the woman would be critical or difficult to please — she hoped.
Mercy smiled at Helena. "Dinner will be ready soon, and I imagine you will want to freshen up first?"
"Dinner ... so early? Ah yes, we are in rural Wiltshire now, with its charming country manners. We are accustomed to dining later. I will need time to rest and change."
Mercy felt her smile falter, thinking of Mrs. Timmons's exhausting efforts to prepare an elegant meal and to have everything ready at just the right time.
Helena directed her next comment to Agnes. "And a hot bath, if you please."
A hot bath — now? When every inch of the stove was covered with cooking pots and simmering sauce pans, and their small staff stretched thin as it was?
George glanced from woman to woman, then spoke up. "My dear, might your bath not wait a bit? I can smell our dinner, and my mouth is watering already. It has been far too long since I've tasted Mrs. Timmons's cooking. Come, my dear. We can alter meal times in future, but if everything is ready now ..."
Mercy's heart warmed to her brother, who at that moment seemed less like the stranger she had felt him to be at the wedding and more like the sibling she recalled.
His wife's eyes shone icy blue. "Heaven forbid you should miss a meal, my dear. If the bath must wait, so be it. But I will need an hour at least to rest and dress." She patted George's waistcoat and looked at Mercy. "Married life agrees with your brother, as you see, Miss Grove. He has gained a stone or more since we became engaged. He ate his way through every city on our wedding trip."
An uneasy smile lifted her brother's handsome features. "And why not? What a delicious opportunity to sample the cuisine of several different regions."
"Sounds wonderful," Matilda agreed. "We look forward to hearing all about your travels."
While the newcomers went upstairs to rest and change, Mercy hurried to the kitchen to inform Mrs. Timmons to delay the meal. Mrs. Timmons grumbled, doubting it would look or taste nearly as good after being kept warm for an hour, predicting the new mistress would send her packing for serving fallen Yorkshire puddings, reheated meat, and congealed sauces.
"She will understand," Mercy said, trying to reassure her. "After all, she was the one who postponed the meal."
At least Mercy hoped she would understand. Kitty and Agnes were still young and could likely find new employment, but if Helena dismissed Zelda Timmons or Mr. Basu, both would struggle to find new positions — Mrs. Timmons because of her age, and Mr. Basu because he was a foreigner in a land sometimes unwelcoming to darker-skinned people. Both were dependable and hardworking. She hoped Helena would come to think so as well.
An hour later, Mercy reached the dining room first and watched as her sister-in-law descended the stairs in a vibrant indigo gown with a high lace collar. The petite woman possessed fair skin and delicate patrician features. Cool hauteur pinched her small mouth, but she had likely been an angelic-looking child with a halo of blond curls. Now Helena wore her hair in an ornate style, with braids from ear to ear and tight pin curls fringing her forehead like curtain tassels.
Mercy felt large, awkward, and ill-dressed in her presence, especially as Helena's gaze traveled over her inelegant form with silent censure, or at least pity.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Bride of Ivy Green"
Copyright © 2018 Julie Klassen.
Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Christian Historical Romance, England 1821. As good as it gets! This is one of those books where you find the characters to be so dear, you don't want the book to end. If you're like me and read the previous books, you remember everything instantly and jump eagerly into this book, savoring every bit since this is the conclusion to the series. If you didn't read the previous books, do yourself a favor and do so. You can still enjoy this book if you don't but it's so nice to have "the rest of the story". Relationships are so important, and these characters have grown as the story has evolved. Love has grown, personal feelings and situations have been weighed, nothing is easy. Very satisfying story. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher and 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.” #TheBrideOfIvyGreen #NetGalley #JulieKlassen #BooksYouCanFeelGoodAbout
The Bride of Ivy Green Book 3 by Julie Klassen was a quaint read. What I thought: I loved the dress shop and various hats with all the frills made available by the shop owner. I thought this added a nice element to the read. I found the matchmaking to be funny. The mad dash of the dog at night for the horse ride was quite freaky. That she was able to keep her calm was amazing. I felt like the characters were believable and I really liked Jane. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This is the third and, I'm afraid, the final book in the Ivy Hill series. This series has been such a delight and I am so sorry to see it end. The series follows three good friends through some really rough spots in their lives and on to joy at the end. And yet, Julie doesn't tie everything up in a nice little bow at the end. There are still lingering hurts and fears and sad goodbyes that are part of real life and I like that. I like that the three heroines got their sweet endings, but also that it wasn't just perfect for them either. This book focuses the most on Mercy, but the other two friends are also an active part as well. I would love to see some more books in this series because I think a few of the sideline characters could use a book or two dedicated to their stories and how they work out in the end as well. Julie is just a really good author and last night after I finished this book, which I think was the fifth or sixth books of hers I have read, I went on our library website to add all her other books to my TBR list. The books are well-written and they are nice and long, which makes a great read for a long cozy evening at home alone. One thing I have just started to do when I read a book is to think of a question to ponder after I am done. I'm not sure how this will work for all my books, but I heard something recently to the effect that all books can teach us something, even books we don't like. Now let me be clear, this book was not a book I didn't like. I will pretty much read anything by Julie Klassen. But the point I am making is that I want my books to linger in my mind after I have read them and I want to learn things from my books. But finding a question to dissect a bit on this review was a bit hard for this book. It basically encompasses the main character of the book: How can I become like Mercy? She lives up to her name so well, she always sees the good in others, is willing to sacrifice even for people who are not that nice to her, and she is so kind and gracious and unwilling to speak ill of anyone. She is the person, who in real life, might almost be annoying because they are so nice. But that is who I want to be, I want to see the good in people and be gracious and kind to all and that is the takeaway I want to take with me from this book. I received this book from Bethany House through NetGalley and was not required to write a positive review.
The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen is a book I requested from Bethany House Publishers, through Netgalley, to read and review. I chose to do this and this opinion is my own. I give this 4 stars out of 5. I enjoyed all the previous books I've read written by Julie Klassen and this is the same. The book was an enjoyable trip back in time. The reason I gave it 4 out of 5 stars instead of 5 stars is two-fold. The first reason is a great deal my preferences in that I do not like the many references to previous books in the series. I knew this was the 3rd book in the series but didn't know how much more enjoyable this would have been if I'd read the previous books. Many authors write series and each book is its own story but this book wasn't exactly like that. It could have been and did get better as the story progressed but still too dependant on previous books. The second reason is that it was in need of more editing. It wasn't horrible but there were a handful of times that the error was, to me, quite obvious and distracting. Overall, this was well written and the story flowed very well. The characters were very well developed and it felt like you had a good grasp on their personalities and if you would or would not like them in real life. This is a Christian book but not pushy or preachy. It is more dependant on the characters showing how they try to depend on God. If you like a good, clean, historical fiction you will enjoy this book. I would recommend it to my friends.
The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen takes us back to February 1821 in Ivy Hill, Wiltshire, England. Mercy Grove and her aunt, Matilda are preparing for the arrival of hew newly married brother, George and his society bride, Helena. Mercy was forced to close her school and have the lending library move to a new location in anticipation of the new occupants. She misses Alice who she wished to adopt until her biological father and hotelier, James Drake arrived on the scene. When Helena makes living in the home uncomfortable, Mercy contemplates becoming a governess. Jane Bell has a big decision to make. Gabriel Locke has proposed to Jane and, while she loves him, it would mean giving up her inn. Plus, she is unable to have children and Jane does not want Gabriel to make such a sacrifice. Then someone Jane never expected to see again returns to Ivy Hill. The dressmakers’ shop is let by a new woman to town who answers to the name of Madame Victorine. She doesn’t share many details of her past and Jane feels she looks familiar. Victorine has beautiful dresses on display, but her sewing skills are not on the same caliber. Will the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society help Victorine or help her new venture fail? Justine, Lady Brockwell, has a matchmaking mother who is intent on her daughter marrying well. Justine’s mother has her sights set on Sir Cyril, but Justine has eyes for a local gentleman. Will Justine give into pressure from her demanding mother? Wedding bells are ringing, but which woman in Ivy Hill will be walking down the aisle? I have enjoyed my visits to Ivy Hill with Tales from Ivy Hill series. I could not wait to get ahold of The Bride of Ivy Green to see what would happen with Mercy, Jane, Matty, and Justine. I was especially looking forward to Mercy’s story because I wanted her to get a happy ending. Tales from Ivy Hill is one series that you need to read in order. Each book in the series builds upon the previous one. The Bride of Ivy Green is a well-written story with a leisurely pace (sometimes a little too leisurely). The setting is quaint with cozy shops and lovely homes (I picture stone homes with thatched roofs). The characters are developed, and their personalities suit the time period. They are all genteel and refined ladies with good manners. I like that the women are close friends who look out for each other. All the characters are friendly and likeable except Helena, George’s wife. Her coldness and arrogance plus her indifference to Mercy’s feelings perfectly suit this unlikeable character. I did not understand why the author decided to introduce Victorine to the story (it seemed too late in the series for this addition). That time could have devoted to Justine’s or Matty’s story. While the storylines did not play out how I would have liked them to (we all have expectations), I was happy with the outcome. Julie Klassen captured the time period with the clothing, books, pastimes, and attitudes. I am giving The Bride of Ivy Green 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). The Bride of Ivy Green is a satisfying conclusion to the Tales of Ivy Hill series. I will miss visiting Ivy Hill and the charming ladies who inhabit it.
Are you in need of a vacation about now? Are you ready to get away from all your responsibilities just for a little while? Then pack your valise (or valises if you're like me and tend to overpack), hop on a carriage, and travel to Ivy Hill in Julie Klassen's newest book, The Bride of Ivy Green. Why was this book such an escape? Well, let me tell you. The location. I seriously want to visit Ivy Hill. It seems like such a quaint little community. Julie Klassen did an amazing job at portraying a picturesque town. It seems like the perfect place to go for a stroll or to meander into the library or the dress shop to chat with a friend or two. Which leads to the next reason why you should travel to Ivy Hill. The friends. There are so many good friend there. After you've visited a time or two, I'm sure they will feel like your friends too. Julie Klassen beautifully gives each character a unique personality. They have flaws; they deal with happy times and hard times; and they seem so real. They make you want to spend much more time in Ivy Hill. The one problem I had with this book? I want more. I don't want to have to leave this quaint little town and all the friends I've made there. At least I know I can go back to visit anytime I want to by picking up a book from the Tales of Ivy Hill series. I would recommend this book to historical fiction fans, to those who have read the first two books in the series, and to those who need a vacation to a quaint English town. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
This is book three in Tales of Ivy Hill and you should read them in order so you are familiar with the characters and events. In this conclusion to my ladies of Ivy Hill I was surprised by some of the twists that didn’t turn out as expected but were done in Klassen style. I loved Joseph Kingsley and his acts of love towards Mercy. Words are easy to speak but gifts from the heart and acts of kindness speak volumes louder than the spoken word. At times I felt it went a little long and wanted it to move faster, but then I realized I was reading Regency Romance and it always moves at a slower pace. Julie Klassen novels are always classy and well written even if we may not always agree with the outcome. Isn’t that what life is, not always getting our way. Which makes it real and identifiable. I’m sad that this became lost in my TBR pile and that I didn’t get to it sooner. I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
This is a book that is part of a series, so that meant me coming in at the last story of the series had me pretty much uninterested. I had an extremely difficult time in starting the book and even completing the story. There was nothing that drew me and captured my interest. The premise of the story was great and that is what drew me in. That and the book cover itself. Plus, having read Julie Klassen books in the past I knew that I was reading from a great author. As much as I dislike being "Debbie-downer" on an author and the hard work they have put upon a book, I just couldn't finish the book.
This is book 3 in the Tales from Ivy Hill series, and the conclusion of the series. This is the first of the series I have read and honestly, I felt a little lost. It did not keep me from enjoying the book, however I feel I would have enjoyed it much more had I started at the beginning of the series and read them all and in order. There is a lot going on in this novel all centered around the town of Ivy Hill. With many different characters whom all interact. It is well written with many twist and turns, some heartache and much more.
First off, I would highly recommend reading or rereading the previous two books in the set before starting this one. I barely remembered who any of these people were and where we left off. And that made for confusion and missed connections for a bit. In the first book, I loved that the romantic choice was not obvious and that it was not even fully resolved. Rather the story was about Jane's growth and dealing with things and putting them to rights herself. The next two books followed suit and now it seems less like a strength and more like a formula: multiple men vie for our female lead's affection, two come out at the top and that keeps the romantic tension going until the conclusion. I felt more frustrated in this book. Too many misunderstandings dragged out. I just didn't have the patience for it. Additionally, it felt weird to introduce Madame Victorine into the story at this point and I just wasn't interested. I was glad Jane finally got a resolution and that it came at an unexpected time in an unexpected way.
This is a satisfying conclusion to the series. I will say I think to fully appreciate this book you should read the other two first. I don’t think this is a book you can just jump into without reading the others and find that interesting. But because I have read the other two I enjoyed meeting up with these characters again and seeing what was going on and their lives continue to develop. I look forward to reading more of Julie’s work in the future. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Each time I savor a book by Julie Klassen I place her in the same league as the classic greats...Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Victoria Holt. The Bride of Ivy Green (Tales From Ivy Hill Book 3) is no exception—set during the Regency era in an idyllic, picturesque, and quaint English village. The gothic vibe that Ms. Klassen is so well known for is not as prevalent in this particular series, but the angsty romance certainly is! Just a hint of secrecy involving an enigmatic dressmaker adds to the mystery of this memorable novel with its charming cast of characters. I recommend reading this series in succession to become better acquainted with each one. I'm quite certain you'll become as completely immersed in their dramatic lives as I was...deeply dreading the moment I must let them depart. One of my fave reads of 2018! I was sent a complimentary copy of this novel from Bethany House and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I have read the entire Ivy Hill series. I loved each and every book. The detail of the time period was like being there. At the end of each book I missed the characters. I just finished book 3 in the series, and I believe it was the final book. When you read truly good books like this series, you cannot put it down until you have come to the end, and then it is sad because it is over. Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors and I would recommend this series to anyone.
This is a beautiful, satisfying conclusion to the Ivy Hill series, one that I both dreaded ending yet couldn't read fast enough to see what happened to my friends. While I am very attached to Jane and loved seeing her story continue here, I was thrilled to see Mercy, who I consider to be the other main character, get so much page time here. Her story is just so lovely and endearing, and after a lot of heartache, it was good to see her happiness. Although there were a few times that I wondered how it would come about, and it left me wishing more for another character, all in all, Mercy's story culminates in just the way it needs to. Jane's story has several new discoveries that kept it feeling fresh and entertaining. I also appreciated that life's stings are still present, as to make everything work out perfectly would have felt a bit unrealistic. It very much has the feeling of taking the bitter with the sweet and appreciating what you're given. I wasn't quite as enamored as the third story line of Victorine, but in the end, it's neat to see where she fits in and solves a significant mystery that harkens back to the first book. I was pleased - more like thrilled - to find out that there will be a Christmas novella. I know who I'd like it to be about, but of course, will be happy just to be back in Ivy Hill again. I have loved this series and am definitely sad to see its end. I do strongly recommend reading this one from the beginning, as so much builds with each book. It's a series that I could read again one day. Now to begin the long wait until another novel by Julie Klassen. Also, if you need a refresher on the characters, there is a list on the Ivy Hills website.
'Mercy reminded herself that God did not promise ease and happiness in this life. But He did promise peace and joy, and she was determined to hold on to both, somehow.' I have sincerely looked forward to Julie Klassen's final of her Tales from Ivy Hill series. I certainly have thoroughly enjoyed reading each book. In fact, I have read all her books, not just this series, and have never been disappointed in one of them. Mercy Grove has lost her precious girls' school and has simply resigned herself to life as a spinster dependent on the kindnesses of her family. When her brother returns to Ivy Cottage with his new wife, things just don't seem like they will guarantee a pleasant future. And Jane Bell is also facing some challenges in her own life. Can she give up her inn if it means marrying Gabriel Locke? Can she doom him to a childless marriage? In the midst of all this, a new seamstress comes to town and all it not as it seems with this lady. Surprises lie in store for many here and dreams are on their way to coming true. I laughed and wept during the reading of this book. Julie Klassen has brought this series to an end in a most admirable, satisfying and delightful way. I enjoyed it tremendously. Highly recommended. *My thanks to Bethany House and the author for a copy of this book. All opinions stated are entirely my own.
Julie Klassen brings the reader back to the beautiful village Ivy Hill in The Bride of Ivy Green. At the end of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, I was eager to hear what would be next for Mercy and Jane. This one picks up those threads and creates a beautiful tapestry with them. We are introduced to several new characters including a new dressmaker and prospective grooms of Miss Brockwell. I love village stories, full of delightful people and multiple storylines, and this is a prime example. To share more of the journey would be to give away the delight of experiencing it first hand but I can say it adventurous, interesting, moving and heartfelt. Life is never straightforward with easy decisions, Julie Klassen captures the tension of decision-making beautifully and brings God in lightly but wisely. The ending is wonderful and I’m sad to say goodbye to this cast and am excited there may be a novella coming yet! If you haven’t tried this series, do! You don’t have to start at the beginning, but it’s worth going through all three! I highly recommend it, five out five on the en-JOY-ment.
Welcome back to Ivy Hill in Wiltshire, England! Another year has passed since we last heard from the ladies of Ivy Hill! Once again we meet up with Mercy, Jane, and Rachel along with many of the other quaint and intriguing characters inhabiting the village of Ivy Hill. Life in the village seems particularly busy at this time and Jane and Mercy play the predominant role in this final story in the series. The themes of love, loss, and changing one’s dreams to fit reality reverberate through the story as Mercy and Jane each work toward finding their personal happy ending. However, happy endings do not come without difficulties and some pain along the way. Read this delightful Regency tale to find out how Mercy and Jane come to terms with their dreams and their lives in the charming little village of Ivy Hill. This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
*** VILLAGE LIFE REMINISCENT OF LARK RISE TO CANDLEFORD*** If you have ever watched the BBC series Lark Rise to Candleford, these books very much remind me of that TV show, with its many different characters, points of view, and various village locations. Ivy Hill, Wiltshire, England, Feb 1821. The third installment of Tales from Ivy Cottage finds spinster Mercy Grove and her Aunt Matilda preparing for the arrival of her brother George and his new wife to return from their wedding trip and move into their home, effectively taking over the cottage. She has already closed her school and her future seems uncertain. Her new sister-in-law seems bothered at moving into an already occupied home and her disposition is rather cool toward the lower class villagers. There are returning characters from the past two books; Jane Fairmont again taking a lead role in the story. There are new characters whose past is a secretive mystery, but nothing of danger or intrigue. As in the previous two novels, there is quite a lot to keep up with as this book has over 50 chapters. If you enjoy quaint village life along with a nod to the hierarchy of the social classes, I would recommend reading all three of the books back to back. Otherwise, it is a bit hard to recall the many storylines. The author provides many interesting tidbits found on TalesFromIvyhill dot com including a character directory (although book 3 is not as well represented on that list), a map of the village, some of her travels to Wiltshire, etc. Favorite Quote: Mercy reminded herself that God did not promise ease and happiness in this life. But He did promise peace and joy, and she was determined to hold on to both, somehow. Tea Quote: “I have a family obligation tonight, but I might wander back here tomorrow evening f you think you might be having a late-night cup of tea?” She grinned. “Yes, I think there is every chance I shall be thirsty by then.” Bethany House Publishing Discussion questions at the end of each book Tales from Ivy Hill Series: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill – Book 1, Dec 2016 The Ladies of Ivy Cottage – Book 2, Dec 2017 The Bride of Ivy Green – Book 3, Dec 2018 I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion with no further compensation.
The Bride of Ivy Green is Jane Austen meets the book The Whole Town is Talking. The story begins with Jane Bell the owner of the Inn and the most eligible Bachelorette of Ivy Hill. Her former gentleman Gabriel Locke returns with big news on the intention of marriage and moving away from Ivy Hill putting Jane in a difficult predicament. Now, with new directions for most of the women in Ivy Hill and new women arriving, whom can they trust and who will be the new Bride of Ivy Green? I can definitely see this becoming a new drama either TV Series or movie that the audience can relate to just like some of the Jane Austen classics. This was the type of book you wanted to keep on reading to find out what happens to each of the characters and of course the answer to the major question, who is the bride of Ivy Green. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
My Thoughts: The Bride of Ivy Green is the happy conclusion that fans of the series have been waiting for. We're back to the cozy Regency setting with the friends that we had made in the previous books. Klassen has several surprises and unexpected turns in store for the readers. The drama unfolds at a steady rate, but I couldn't help feeling like it was stretched thin compared to my favorite Klassen novels. But I appreciated the solid gospel message weaved into the storyline. *This series is a continuation and should be read in order. Rating and Recommendation: I'm giving The Bride of Ivy Green 4 stars and recommending it Christian Regency fans. ~ I received a copy from Bethany House through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one.
Jane Bell knows she loves Gabriel Locke, but she doesn't know if she can marry him; she enjoys running her inn and fears another childless marriage. But when Gabriel is seriously injured, Jane realizes that marrying him is exactly what she wants. Meanwhile, Jane's good friend Mercy Grove's life is in upheaval. Her brother and his new bride have moved back to Ivy Hill and suddenly the only home Mercy has known is no longer the haven it has always been--and there's no room for the school MErcy ran. Given the opportunity to be a governess to her favorite former pupil, Mercy knows that on the one hand, it would be a step down in life, but it would also give her an escape, Victorine arrives in Ivy Hill to set up a dress shop, and while the ladies are initially excited to have a French dressmaker in town, they soon realize that things aren't quite as they seemed, while Victorine realizes she may be further from achieving her dreams than she had planned. I loved returning to Ivy Hill. It such a delightful setting, and I loved seeing how things played out for characters whom I've loved since the first book, as well as getting to meet new characters. I really loved the ending of the book, and it's a satisfying end to the series...and yet there were enough new characters and even an old character or two who still needs a happily-ever-after that I feel like another book wouldn't be superfluous. The writing is terrific and really conveys the feel of small-town life. This is just a really enjoyable series. I read an ARC via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
The Bride of Ivy Green is the third book in Julie Klassen's Tales from Ivy Hill series. The small village of Ivy Hill is filled with characters that will become dear to your heart. Most are selfless and each has their own very distinct skill set and interests, and even the most cantankerous ones have their lovable side. While having multiple story lines, this book focuses on Mercy Grove, a schoolteacher who has lost her school. Thirty-one-year-old Mercy had almost given up hope of marrying for love, but would she settle for a marriage of convenience? After so many years without a suitor, how would she now manage two? These questions will keep the reader turning pages along with the many questions about Ivy Hill's newest resident, Madame Victorine, the new dress-maker. She doesn't appear to be at all what she presents herself to be. Julie Klassen places her readers right into the 1820s, feeling the jolting rides across the fields and the wet walks through the village. She helps them feel like they are a member of the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society, and causes them to root for love to win in many different circumstances. I highly recommend The Bride of Ivy Green. I thank NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review, and received no monetary compensation.