Friday, November 18, 2016
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
Who would have ever thought I would be a fan of Traditional Regencies? But after watching Downton Abbey I was addicted! Both in the lives of the wealthy and also those of the common folks as well. Something I think I would fall into if I had been born a long time ago. One thing is certain, the rights of women have definitely come a long way. In those days if a woman was married but her husband died, all of her property, wealth and assets went to the next male in the family. Either a brother, cousin, son or even second or third cousins that may have no knowledge of that family whatsoever.
Best-selling author Julie Klassen takes readers into a new series, the Tales of Ivy Hill in her first novel, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. It is here that we meet Jane Bell who is still mourning the unexpected death of her husband John and has been left to care for a dilapidated coaching inn, known as the Bell. She has no means to bring it back to its former glory and somehow she finds it odd that her husband would have left the Inn to her over his brother Patrick. When the bank informs Jane that her husband took out a loan of 15,000 pounds and hasn't paid a penny of it back, they give her 90 days to find a way to begin making the necessary repairs to the Inn, come up with a business proposal to show how she might turn a profit in the coming year, or pay off the loan.
Jane's mother-in-law, Thora returns to the Inn without realizing the trouble Jane is now facing. She has no way of being able to help Jane and her reputation within the town is less than stellar knowing how difficult and stern she can be. John's brother, Patrick has offered to take over the Inn for Jane so she doesn't have to deal with trying to figure out the logistics of what she will face, but is encouraged by the staff of the Inn and those who work with them, to figure out a way to keep it going. It means the livelihood of town's residents by keeping the Inn operating and to sell it would mean that they would all lose their sources of income as well. All the businesses in town are interconnected in one way helping one another out. When an unexpected guest arrives at the Inn, Jane believes her future might just change, she just isn't sure if it's for the best or worse.
I received The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Net Galley. The one thing I enjoyed the most about this novel is that Julie Klassen wasn't in a rush to finish the first novel and took her time exploring the complex relationships that Jane and Thora have. From the common people Jane's Inn employs from the coachmen to the maids, and even those she does business with like the butcher and laundress. In a time when it wasn't easy for a woman to make it, I love how well both Thora and Jane dig in to find resources they can utilize when they lack the experience to pull off this endeavor. While I was hoping for more romance between Jane and Gabriel, I am optimistic it may happen in a future novel in this charming and heartwarming series set in England. I definitely learned quite a bit about the coaching inns and how they contributed to the financial well being of the town. I would rate this novel a 5 out of 5 stars and anxiously await the next one!
For more information about The Innkeeper of Ivy Hills, Julie Klassen, or where to preorder a copy of this novel due out in early December of 2016, please click on the links below:
You can find Julie Klassen on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, please visit Bethany House Publishers.