THE INNKEEPER OF IVY HILL
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?
Opening up this book is like settling in for a binge-viewing of a British mini-series. It put me in mind of Larkrise to Candleford or Cranford. Has the same sense of community and village life -- including all the tension and drama that goes with it. Not to mention the strong women who make a place for themselves in a male dominated society. I made that BBC connection early in my reading so imagine my surprise and delight when the author mentions the same shows as a source of inspiration in her notes at the end of the book! Kind of tickled that I'm on the same wave length as a multi-published author!
The story unfolds with an unhurried grace as Klassen transports her readers into another time and place. It celebrates the unique connections found within a community. Every action has a reaction. I couldn't read fast enough to see how things played out -- even though I wanted to slow down and savor every descriptive word.
I love the sweeping multi-character approach Klassen uses. She writes from the viewpoints of very different women facing unique challenges. Exquisite detail and subtle nuances sparked my imagination and kept me desperate to for answers. Mind you, I didn't find them all...the author has left some loose ends to continue with in the next installment of the Tales of Ivy Hill series. But there is some closure and the story ends on a high note, for all that there are still questions left unanswered. But I'm fine with that. I'll bask in the glow of a story well told while eagerly anticipating what comes next in 'season 2'. Can't wait for The Ladies of Ivy Cottage to come out in December 2017!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publication Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 29 2017. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!