#1: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
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#1: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

Bethany House / 2016 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Set in 1820 in the small village of Ivy Hill, England, is The Bell, a coaching inn. Jane finally wakes up after a year of mourning over her husband’s death, when the bank informs her that the loan her late husband had taken out is greatly overdue. She now has three months to prove that she can make The Bell profitable, or the bank will be forced to sell it. Jane now has a purpose and does the best she can do to save the inn. 

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 448
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 076421814X
ISBN-13: 9780764218149
Series: Tales From Ivy Hill

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Publisher's Description

First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen!

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?

Author Bio

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 www.julieklassen.com.

Product Reviews

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  1. Moonpie
    PRYOR
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A GREAT READ!
    March 22, 2017
    Moonpie
    PRYOR
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for #1: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.
    I know when I open one of Ms. Klassens books I can be sure I am in for a good read! This novel is proof again! The setting is Wiltshire, England, 1820. Jane was suddenly widowed a year ago when her husband was in an accident. He ran a family inn named, the Bell. She had no part in the business but thanks to the laws, suddenly finds herself proprietor and owner. She knows nothing about running such an establishment and has no desire to. The Inn means everything to her mother-in-law, Thora Bell, as it belonged to her parents. Thora moves back to the Bell in hopes of helping out. To make a sticky situation even worse, Thora has never really liked her daughter-in-law. Her brother-in-law, Patrick, also resides there and has his own agenda for the Bell. The inn is in great need of repairs and deep in debt. At first she feels she has no choice but to manage the inn has she has no other means of income. Later she realizes that is about more than just her, and the success of it affects many lives. I overwhelmed for Jane in all she had to learn and do. I found it very interesting the workings and running such a business in that era, it was hard! Definitely not like our Holiday Inns now!

    She sets goals to bring new life to the business but not without opposition from some. Without finances this certainly seems impossible. I admired Janes perseverance even in the face of resistance and insurmountable odds. There are mysteries concerning her husbands death she wants to solve in addition to her mounting responsibilities.

    The book has a wonderful cast of complex characters that the author brings to life in detail and personality. This makes it a very in-depth story. There are many surprises, twists and turns on different levels and within each characters life. I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next sequel.

    I was provided a review copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers, with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
  2. CozyWriter'sDen
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Beautiful
    March 17, 2017
    CozyWriter'sDen
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    This review was written for #1: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.
    The Inkeeper of Ivy Hill is a well written book. What do I mean by that? Well, the grammar is neat and organized and the style is very easy to read but not too simplistic. The dialogue flows easily and well, and one can imagine a person actually using such language. The descriptions are enough to give you a good mental picture of the scenes but they are not long enough to bore. The characters are interesting, varied, and evolve through the story. There were no 'glitchy' phrases or sections that left me lurching over the words. This, to me, is what encompasses a well written novel.

    I really enjoyed the slow, budding romances and tentative relationships of the four main ladies in this novel. Missy, Rachel, Thora, and of course, Jane. All the girls are so different, but they are alike in that life has not been kind to them. Missy's plain face has kept the shallow young men away, and it seems as she gets older that her chances of meeting a man who can see into her beautiful soul are fading away. Rachel, a lady of note, is reduced to nothing but her valise when her father dies and leaves their estate to a distant relative. Thora, married once for love and then left with nothing, is resolute in never wanting to be shackled to a man again. And lastly, sweet Jane. A gentle lady who ends up married to an innkeeper, and finds herself widowed not many years later, now has to struggle for her own survival against great odds.

    This novel weaves a wonderful story of perseverance and tentative love as these four women team together to try and get by in a society that favours men in business and does not encourage entrepreneurship or independence in women. I found the plot to be simplistic, but the story did not suffer for it. The characters were vividly full of life; I eagerly anticipate the next novel in a desire to find out what happens to these industrious women.

    Lastly, there are strong faith components in this book - not just in statement but in the actions of the women. Themes of forgiveness, self-control, and compassion run high.

    Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
  3. crtnybc
    British Columbia, Canada
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Slow moving and rather uneventful
    March 1, 2017
    crtnybc
    British Columbia, Canada
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 2
    This review was written for #1: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.
    Oh how I wanted to love this book. I'm generally a big fan of Julie Klassen, and Regency novels in general but this one was quite slow moving and generally uneventful. There's really no suspense that usually serves to push Ms Klassen's stories along and I think that's the biggest problem Next to that, her main character is rather hard to like. I know she's been through a lot, but too me she was too gloomy and unmotivated. There was little to cheer for.

    The description of the inn, village and surrounding area is beautiful and you really feel as if you're visiting the place while you read but .... nothing happens. It's a real let down. I didn't find that switching between the characters really lent anything to the story except length. When a book is this thick it really needs to keep moving to keep a reader's interest or it really feels looooong. It's not even really much of a romance. It seems to be a very long set up for the next book in the series. Long and boring and terribly disappointing. Hopefully the next in the series will be better as the characters will be more developed and maybe we'll have some sort of suspense or mystery built back in, or I may skip it.

    This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
  4. Bookworm Reviewer
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: Female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Not Klassen's Best
    February 20, 2017
    Bookworm Reviewer
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    This review was written for #1: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.
    I really wanted to like this book, especially because I always enjoy all of Klassen's novels. I was excited to get it in the mail, my excitement was quickly extinguished, however. This novel is different from other of Klassen's stories. The novel doesn't have a main protagonist but two. Thora a fifty-something widow, who I didn't like much, she seems bitter at times and treats Jane poorly sometimes who is her daughter in law. Jane seems a dull, sad and weak character in my own opinion. I have to note, that I wasn't able to finish the novel in its entirety, what I read (some 200 pages) was enough to draw my valid opinion. The plot moves very slowly and the novel is too long, I was just bored reading through it. I was not a big fan of multiple heroines, I like to stick to one protagonist, the story just seems to develop the character better that way. Having stated the bad, I would like to stay a few things I did like. I liked the small village imagery drawn which forms the setting of the story. I'm a fan of small English country villages so it was nice to see it in here. I regret having to write a negative review, which I never do because I generally enjoy historical fiction and have read quite a few novels from this author and have loved them but unfortunately this has not been the case for this one. 3 stars out of 5

    I received a copy of this book from Bethany House without a required review, positive or negative. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
  5. Darlene L Turner
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Charming Tale
    February 20, 2017
    Darlene L Turner
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    This review was written for #1: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.
    What friendships await in the quaint and cozy English village of Ivy Hill? What is life like there when all seems lost? Jane Bell is about to find out. When her innkeeper husband dies and leaves her in charge of The Bell, she finds herself stumbling in the business world. How can she run the Inn let alone save it from a loan threatening to foreclose? And then her mother-in-law, Thora Bell, shows up unexpectedly. Will she make matters worse?

    As Jane and Thora work through their differences and come up with a plan to save The Bell, they soon find themselves entangled in the lives of the town residents and one mysterious newcomer. Can they restore their empty hearts as well as the dilapidated inn?

    The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is book one in new Tales from Ivy Hill series from author Julie Klassen. This author certainly knows how to spin a tale of delightful portions. This book doesnt disappoint in regards to her masterful storytelling abilities.

    I have to admit though this was not one of my favourites by this author. I found the story hard to grab my attention and somewhat confusing at the beginning. The plot moved slowly.

    However, the richness in imagery, dialogue, and characterization certainly held my attention and made me move forward to want to find out what happens. I could picture everything in this quaint little English village of Ivy Hill. Its a place Id love to visit!

    Each character was well-rounded. I found myself having to warm up to both Jane and Thora as they had their own little quirks, especially Thora. She was downright rude at times. But that is a sign of a great character. You dislike them at one moment and like them the next.

    Its evident this author did her research when it came to the historical aspects of the novel. I loved that. Well done.

    All in all, I enjoyed this book as it is very well written.

    I give The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill three stars. If you like historical fiction, this is a good one to put on your shelf.

    **Book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.
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