Title: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House
“You can take the woman from the inn, but not the innkeeper from the woman,” Thora mused in Julie Klassen’s novel, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.
~ What ~
The first in the Tales from Ivy Hill series, this four-hundred-and-forty-eight-page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian romance regarding family loyalty and trials. Containing no profanity or explicit sexual scenes, the topic of gambling and revenge may not be appropriate for immature readers. An author’s note, ten discussion questions, the author’s biography, and advertisements complete the book.
In this story set in England in 1820, it has been over a year since Jane Bell lost her husband in a tragic accident. Having inherited his family’s coaching inn, she is a genteel lady who does not want or have any interest maintaining the decades-old business. When her resentful mother-in-law returns to the inn, the two learn they have three months to pay off the inn loan, or it gets sold.
While each woman deals with suitors vying for their attention who range from a hotel competitor, horseman, past employee, and carefree coach rider, Jane and her mother-in-law wonder if they are doing enough to keep the inn afloat.
~ Why ~
Since this is a beginning of a series of life in England centuries ago, the novel sets up a multitude of characters who play their part in a small town, concentrating on two women in particular. I like the detail in the day-to-day living, rituals, and beliefs portrayed throughout the story.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like romantic historical fiction set in early nineteenth century England may pass on this read. Others may get frustrated there is little resolution to the many issues and problems the town’s residences face, but it is the first book in the series. I found Jane’s character flip-flopped from naïve to businesslike, while her mother-in-law switched from bitter to receptive without much explanation.
~ Who ~
Fan of Jane Eyre and Jane Austen, author Klassen worked in the publishing business for sixteen years and has won three Christy Awards for her historical romance novels. She and her family live in Minnesota.
~ Wish ~
Since this is the beginning of a series, including a list of characters might be helpful. Having read other books from the seasoned author, I was surprised with the many comma errors in sentence structure. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.
~ Want ~
If you enjoy starting a nineteenth-century series based in England of the lives and loves of a small country town, this may be a good start but be aware there is little closure in the first book.
Thanks to Bethany House for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.