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?
What I Loved: Ahhh Is there anything quite like a Klassen novel? I often find myself comparing other novels to Klassen’s so it’s only natural that I would compare a Klassen to all the other Klassens that have come before. I must say that while The InnKeeper of Ivy Hill was not as gripping as what I’m used to finding, there was a sense of mystery throughout the story that kept my attention. I’ve come to notice two things about Klassen’s work: She tends to weave in threads of mystery and she KNOWS how to write a love triangle that keeps the reader guessing. And for me, THIS is where the book really shines.
I make no secret of my love for an old-fashioned love triangle. But what Klassen did here will certainly become a highlight of my reading year. You have three main heroines here and each of them has multiple options. Not only did Klassen keep me guessing at every turn, but I also couldn’t decide which hero I wanted to see win the lady’s hand.
Aside from the mystery and romance, I enjoyed all the historic detail involving an early 1800s English Inn.
While the beginning started off in a more subdued fashion, the last third picked up the pace and became the engaging story that I knew Klassen was gifted at. There were twists and turns around every corner. And I cannot wait to see what is in store for these characters next!
Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill 5 stars and highly recommend it to Regency fans and Christian Historical Fiction fans.
~ I received a copy from Net Galley. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one. All thoughts are my own.