MY NOVEL THOUGHTS:
The last time I read any historical fiction was in the third grade when my teacher made all us girls read the Dear America books. So to broaden my horizons, I've been trying to get back into historical fiction and in all honestly I'm really happy this was my first historical novel in a while.
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is about a young widow who has been entrusted with her husbands inn-The Bell. With no business experience and a pressing bank loan due, Jane Bell has trouble coming to terms becoming the new land lady of The Bell. In hopes of saving her dear husband's inn, Jane enlists the help of her bitter mother-in-law, Thora. Jane trusting that as the former lady of The Bell, Thora will be able to help turn things around in their favor.
"She isn't the landlady you were, Mrs. Bell. She's of no earthly use that I can see."
But as Thora works with Jane new love is discovered, friendships are formed, secrets are revealed and promises are broken. With the help of Jane's and Thora's friends, Jane is able to implement new methods of work and do repairs on the inn despite the banks pressure and a curious new man in town. The question is, can Jane restore The Bell in time to save it from the bank's impending doom?
Things I liked: Jane Bell's character grew so much throughout this book and I was actually impressed with the writing of Jane's character. I liked Thora's voice as well because as the chapters go by, Thora's many wall get taken down. I liked Rachel, the third voice and Jane's friend, but wasn't attached to her. I liked the men in this book save for Patrick, Jane's brother-in-law, they were all presented as different shades of charming men. Talbot is a good man and sweet but I honestly liked Charlie more, he was sweet and cornily charming. Of all the men though, Gabriel Locke was my favorite just as was his friendship with Jane was refreshing.
He looked pained again, and embarrassed in the bargain. He said, "I am in general an honest, but I have learned the hard way that those who ask for the truth often wish back their ignorance . Truth, like medicine, is sometimes best in small doses."
I really liked the structure of this book and how well Klassen Incorporated the different topics and elements that the book just flows easily.
What I didn't like: My only problem with this book was that in some places it dragged a little long with no need and in some places where I felt should have been elaborated it wasn't. Oh, and I wasn't a fan of Patrick, no spoilers though, you have to read the book haha.
MY OVERALL RATING:
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is told in three stunning and very different voices to tell the stories of new love, friendship, trust and the restoration of a towns soul. This is a book that I highly recommend and can't wait for the second novel in the series, Tales of Ivy Hill, to come out.
The Innkeeper of Ivy HIll BLURB || source: Goodreads
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?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie Klassen
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. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. She blogs at http://www.inspiredbylifeandfiction.com.
Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
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