“The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill,” by Julie Klassen

I recently had the chance to read The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, by Julie Klassen. This fiction book was published on December 6, 2016, by Bethany House.

About this book (from the back cover):

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?

Final Verdict:

I am a big fan of Julie Klassen’s books, with my favorites up to this point being “The Maid of Fairbourne Hall” and “The Painter’s Daughter”. “The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill” is fantastic in a different way, as it’s the first in a series of books Klassen is writing called “Tales from Ivy Hill.” Since all the plotlines didn’t have to be wrapped up by the end of the book, Klassen takes a more leisurely pace in describing this sweet village and its inhabitants. The story of a female business owner in a time when most people expected businesses to be run by men reminded me a lot of “Far from the Madding Crowd,” and Klassen acknowledges that reference in the book notes at the end. I loved how you couldn’t really predict which way a number of stories would end, and many of them don’t get concluded in this book; although it does come to a somewhat satisfying conclusion, I can’t wait to see how the story continues in the next book!  This book also reminded me of the BBC series “Lark Rise to Candleford,” so if you’re a fan of that series, you have to check out “Tales from Ivy Hill”!

If you’d like to check out The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill it is currently on sale for $8.13 for the Kindle version (with Audible narration for just $3.99!) If you prefer a paperback copy, it’s currently on sale for $8.56. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

The featured product for this review was provided to me at no cost by Bethany House. All opinions expressed are my own. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). If you’d like to sign up to receive review copies from Bethany House, visit www.bethanyhouse.com/bookreviewers.

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