SYNOPSIS: 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?
I have a book recommend (well, two now as she published the second in Dec 2017) – Julie Klassen’s The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill & follow-up, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage. Set in the same era as Jane Austen’s writing, and very, very well done.
I recognised characterisations & phrasing from the more popular Austen Pride & Prejudice but rather than thinking “plagiarism” I felt like I was re-reading an old friend. There’s nothing blatant, but there is definitely a Lady Catherine character! Plus, easy to recommend to secular people who like a good regency, as the romance and Christian themes are subtle, and it’s all about how the characters grow and develop. Even secondary characters are rich in detail and the way she describes the customs & environment of the village are spot on. I loved it.
My copies were purchased on Amazon Kindle; the second volume is on sale as I write this.