Julie Klassen has written a novel fit for The Masterpiece Theater. In her newest and the beginning of a series, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, we meet a host of characters in and around the floundering coaching inn, The Bell. The two main characters would be the widow Jane Bell, now innkeeper stated by her husband’s will, and her very uncompromising mother-in- law, Thora Bell. As Jane is just beginning to come out of her fog of mourning, she has received some devastating and surprising news in regards to The Bell and its financial future and any future for it at all.
Jane realizes that she cannot continue as she has been and sets out to revive the inn. Seeking reluctant help from her brother-in-law and Thora, she also reaches out for advice from three very different men: Simon, longtime childhood friend who could have been something more, the mysterious Gabriel Locke, who works at the inn, and finally James Drake who is the newest proprietor of an incoming inn and the now competition.
We not only get Jane’s journey but Thora’s and a bit of Jane’s childhood girlfriends; Mercy and Rachel, who are dealing with their own tough situations as well. This novel has a little bit of romance and mystery, and not everything is wrapped up neatly by the end. I appreciated the intricate workings and customs that Klassen weaved into her novel and how they really give us a sense of the culture during the time of the 1820’s in England. While this book is different than other Klassen novels and romance does not have the biggest role, we do get a real feeling of community. I look forward to continuing this series and seeing how the ladies of Ivy Hill will navigate their lives from henceforward.
I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions and views expressed are my own.