Sunday, January 29, 2017

Friendships Grow and Romance Blossoms along with the Mysteries in the Village of Ivy Hill

"The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill"
          By Julie Klassen


The Bell is a coaching inn located in the village of Ivy Hill. Jane Bell, a genteel lady,  takes over  the innkeeper's position after her husband suddenly dies. She has absolutely no idea of how to manage a business, however since the village depends on the inn, and a large sum of money is owed, she must quickly step into her husband's shoes and find a way to save the inn. 

Jane's mother in law, Thora, although having a distant and strained relationship  with her son's wife, steps up to help . Thora was at one time the mistress of The Bell. She is now struggling to overcome her losses and find a purpose for the future. As she and Jane attempt to work together to find a solution for the inn's problems, two men from Thora's past arrive on the scene. Although she has vowed to never marry again, they both vie for her attention, trying to win her over. Will she give them a second chance at love??

The bank, under the control of a meddlesome. untrustworthy manager, applies pressure upon the ladies to pay what is owing, a huge amount. It appears as though several men have vested interests in this business, including a stranger who arrives in the village. Why are his plans so secretive? Who is he and what does he want?? Will Jane succeed in restoring the Inn to its former position??? Will she be able to fill the emptiness in her heart???

My Thoughts:

Julie Klassen once again writes  historical fiction  full of accurate facts of the times and uses quotes from the British Regency to enhance the story. . Her  talent for story telling is evident in this tale of a female taking on the role of an Innkeeper, in times when this is rarely accomplished.  It is also a tale of two females who have not had a good relationship in the past however are trying to work together to have a failing business succeed. 

The characters are  realistically and well described. I found Thora to be a somewhat quirky and prickly individual who irritated me with her criticisms and her feelings of being superior to all others. I was able to identify with Jane as she attempted to maintain peace while being sorely tried by her mother in law's opinions. 

The setting was well described in a charming fashion . I could easily visualize the village and its charming residents. 

The plot moved very slowly. It seemed to take a long time to become involved and totally understand what was going on with the various residents of Wiltshire. However, once engaged, I was eager to discover how the novel would end. 

I must admit that this was not one of my favourite books by this well known author. I am hoping that the next book in the series has a more satisfying ending, as the characters are now well developed and alive in my thoughts!!

This book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House, Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is now available at your local booksellers. The opinions expressed are honest and my own. 

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