Charming! The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales From Ivy Hill Book #1) by Julie Klassen

Cover Art

about the book....

Welcome to the English village of Ivy Hill, where friendships thrive, romance blossoms, and mysteries await. . . .

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save 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 overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

my review....

"The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill" is a charming novel that perfectly captures the flavour of the English countryside and time period the story is set in. Klassen has done a good job at setting up the series with this first instalment, introducing a variety of different characters who are each intriguing in their own right. Readers will immediately feel sympathy for Jane, who has lost her husband and is struggling to find her way. Thora may at first come across as too strong of a character but you soon realize that she has people's best interests at heart and that she has her own struggles to overcome. And all of the male characters added into the mix add some spice and flavour as readers follow Jane and Thora's journeys in working out their feelings and whether romance may lie in their futures. Add in some mystery about The Bell Coaching Inn and the debts leveraged against it, and the plot has lots to love! However, for the first time ever, I am giving this novel a lower rating than I would normally give a Julie Klassen novel. The reason? I just didn't find the pacing of the novel to be as engaging as I would have preferred. For the first third of the book, I was feeling rather impatient with the slow pace, and wanted things to speed up. I was also a bit thrown when some new characters were suddenly thrown into the story in a manner that didn't really add to the Jane/Thora story line, at least at first.  Despite all that, by the latter half of the book I was quite enjoying how the story was playing out, as Jane really grows into her role as inn keeper and various secrets begin to come to light.

All in all, I am quite interested to see what lies in store for these characters from Ivy Hilly, characters that Klassen does a good job at fleshing out.  I give this novel a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

 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. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit

Ready to buy?