The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen!On a rise overlooking the Wiltshire countryside stands the village of Ivy Hill. Its coaching inn, The Bell, is its lifeblood--along with the coach lines that stop there daily, bringing news, mail, travelers, and much-needed trade.Jane Bell lives on the edge of the inn property. She had been a genteel lady until she married...

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Title:The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
Author:Julie Klassen
Rating:
ISBN:0764218131
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:445 pages

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill Reviews

  • Staci
    Dec 14, 2016

    What could be better than a Julie Klassen Regency? A Julie Klassen Regency Series! The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is book one of the Tales from Ivy Hill Series.

    The novel is delightful and introduces the reader to many characters in the village. There is main character Jane, a widow who finds herself owner of an inn and it is not a profession she would have chosen. The supporting cast includes brother-in-law Patrick, mother-in-law Thora, childhood friends Mercy and Rachel and many more. Knowing the bo

    What could be better than a Julie Klassen Regency? A Julie Klassen Regency Series! The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is book one of the Tales from Ivy Hill Series.

    The novel is delightful and introduces the reader to many characters in the village. There is main character Jane, a widow who finds herself owner of an inn and it is not a profession she would have chosen. The supporting cast includes brother-in-law Patrick, mother-in-law Thora, childhood friends Mercy and Rachel and many more. Knowing the book is part of a series I expected that some of the potential romances would not be completed by the final page. Dear friends, you will have to read the novel to find out if my assumption was correct or not.

    I highly recommend this novel to fans of Regency.

  • Aerykah
    Feb 14, 2017

    Slow and steady. That may not sound like a compliment for a book, but I do mean it that way.

    This isn't a fast-paced, gripping kind of story that you start reading and can't stand to put down until you've sat reading for hours and finally turned the last page with a sense of relieved satisfaction. However, neither is it the kind of slow story that just drags on and on until you simply can't bear to force yourself to read any more. It's... Well, it's kind of like hot chocolate. It's warm and comfo

    Slow and steady. That may not sound like a compliment for a book, but I do mean it that way.

    This isn't a fast-paced, gripping kind of story that you start reading and can't stand to put down until you've sat reading for hours and finally turned the last page with a sense of relieved satisfaction. However, neither is it the kind of slow story that just drags on and on until you simply can't bear to force yourself to read any more. It's... Well, it's kind of like hot chocolate. It's warm and comforting and enjoyable, but you have to sip it slowly, taking it in bit by bit to truly enjoy it to it's fullest.

    Yeah... that's the best way I can think to describe this book. It's like hot chocolate. Which made it just the perfect kind of book to read on the cold days of late January and early February, eh? ;)

    I did really enjoy this book. No, I wasn't entirely sure about it at first-- I worried that it might be a bit too slow for my taste, but that worry didn't last long. I was quickly pulled into the story and enjoyed it more and more as it went along.

    Jane still isn't one of my favorite characters, but she's definitely growing on me. I've enjoyed seeing her character develop and grow as she's started taking possession and charge of the inn. I think she has a lot of potential and I'm hoping to see her grow even more. I really liked Thora a lot. She reminded me very much of Mrs. Thornton in the

    . I haven't read that book yet, but I could seriously hear the voice of Mrs. Thornton (played by Sinéad Cusack) in my head as I read Thora's dialogue! They are quite a bit alike, I think... Thinking of that, I could sense hints of a few different classics throughout this book. I would just be reading along and suddenly something I'd read would conger and image in my mind from a classic I'd read or a film adaptation I had seen. I rather liked that. :)

    But back to the characters... I must say I'm still not quite sure what I think of Patrick. I don't like him, I know that. But I just can't decide if I'm supposed to be starting to like him because he's going to turn out to be a truly likable bloke-- or if the author is going to try to make us readers like him just to confuse us and have him turn out to be quite the scoundrel after all. If I am supposed to like him, though, it's going to take a bit more time and effort to get me to that point. I do like Gabriel, though I'm sure we're all supposed to like him even while being slightly suspicious of him. I don't hesitate to say that I'm going to be very disappointed if he turns out to be the scoundrel and Patrick turns out to be....... Well, I've probably already said too much on that subject so I'll say no more. Suffice it to say, as I have already said, that I currently like Gabriel & dislike Patrick. I'll be interested to look back on this after the series has finished to see if I still agree with those statements.

    By the end of this story, things are really up in the air as far as any romance for Jane is concerned. I mean, she has-- how many?-- at least 3 potential suitors. And, while there's no actual relationship between Jane and any of these men by the end of this book (sorry if I just spoiled anything for anyone!), that's okay. I will be interested to see how Rachel's and Mercy's stories turn out. Rachel's, at least, already seems to be taking an interesting turn. Thora's own personal story turned out to be a bigger part of this book than I anticipated. I do have a bit of a gripe in regards to that... her story seemed to move in leaps and bounds toward the end and I did feel like it was rushed a bit too much, though I suppose that could be explained away in one way or another (ways which I have considered, but won't mention due to potential spoilers).

    To sum it up (because I'm afraid if I don't stop now, I'll just keep rambling on and on about this book...), I did really enjoy this book, and while it didn't quite make it to my favorites list, I do give it 4 1/2 stars and a recommendation. I think anyone who loves the old classics like Austen, Gaskell, and Brontë will enjoy this book (and any of Julie's book, really).

  • Jamie
    Dec 18, 2016

    It’s always exciting news when you hear that one of your favorite authors is writing her first series. Say what?! Sign me up for every single book please!

    Well, what can I say? Klassen has once again fully captivated my attention with every single character. I’m so glad this is a series, because I want more! The book is very much a character driven story and I loved it. It’s not her normal story telling style, but I so enjoyed that it wasn’t fully what I expected and the various points of view wo

    It’s always exciting news when you hear that one of your favorite authors is writing her first series. Say what?! Sign me up for every single book please!

    Well, what can I say? Klassen has once again fully captivated my attention with every single character. I’m so glad this is a series, because I want more! The book is very much a character driven story and I loved it. It’s not her normal story telling style, but I so enjoyed that it wasn’t fully what I expected and the various points of view worked so well for this one.

    I loved that for many characters it was a journey of them learning to become people they didn't think they could be.

    I am really looking forward to what’s next, who’s story will continue and what comes next for the people of Ivy Hill!

    Have you had a chance to read much of Klassen’s books? Do you have a favorite?

    (Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

    Originally posted at

  • Christy
    Dec 28, 2016

    I would describe this read as a warm family drama. Three women points of view are written in this novel and I was elated that the mans view was left out. My favorite to read about was Thora a fifty something plain spoken breath of fresh air. Jane came across a little dull for me. I wanted to see courage and fire and a touch of wisdom from her. There is plenty of romance in this book and actually a little more than what I wanted; but I do realize The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is low romance for most

    I would describe this read as a warm family drama. Three women points of view are written in this novel and I was elated that the mans view was left out. My favorite to read about was Thora a fifty something plain spoken breath of fresh air. Jane came across a little dull for me. I wanted to see courage and fire and a touch of wisdom from her. There is plenty of romance in this book and actually a little more than what I wanted; but I do realize The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is low romance for most Historical Fiction out there. I was hoping for a more village feel but instead the focus is a lot with Jane. I wanted more humor, wit and eccentrics to read about; instead I had these three women and their love interests at the helm of saving the Inn. This is the first Julie Klassen novel I have been able to actually finish and frankly I found it just too long. It was a nice read though with a slow and subtle romantic pace that I did appreciate. My favorite moment was when Jerome was spoken to. That was the kind of writing I wanted more of. Beautiful cover.

  • Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
    Feb 09, 2017

    The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is a cozy book to sink into and enjoy at an unrushed pace. Before reading it I had heard that it was different from Klassen's other books, and I agree- but definitely not in a bad way. There is less suspense, but still a good amount of intrigue. The story is told from the perspective of three main characters: Jane, the innkeeper; Thora, her mother-in-law; and Rachel, Jane's estranged childhood friend. There is a wide cast of community members that interact with the ladi

    The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is a cozy book to sink into and enjoy at an unrushed pace. Before reading it I had heard that it was different from Klassen's other books, and I agree- but definitely not in a bad way. There is less suspense, but still a good amount of intrigue. The story is told from the perspective of three main characters: Jane, the innkeeper; Thora, her mother-in-law; and Rachel, Jane's estranged childhood friend. There is a wide cast of community members that interact with the ladies, but not too many to keep track of, especially since they are introduced gradually and each is so individual. I loved the steady weaving in and out of the story and relationships and how each flawed character grew and progressed through the challenges they faced. The workings of the countryside inn reminded me of other favorite books with a similar setting (Doing No Harm by Carla Kelly and Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt) and it was so skillfully represented that I was fascinated by the historical details without being overwhelmed by them. The romance and potential for romance is subtle but definitely an undercurrent. I am so glad I gave this book a chance and am looking forward to continuing the series! Highly recommend!

    (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

  • Melanie Kilsby
    Feb 19, 2017

    Okay, wow.

    I am so impressed by Julie Klassen right now...

    Her very first novel Series!

    The setting of this beautiful country side village is so appealing with all the English charm you would expect from Mrs. Klassen's writing. Though not the pace you would expect, I love how Julie stays true to the time, allowing history to breathe through her stories and her characters.

    Being Scottish by blood only, I loved Charlie's character. But I could'na say who was my favourite out of the lot. Even the so

    Okay, wow.

    I am so impressed by Julie Klassen right now...

    Her very first novel Series!

    The setting of this beautiful country side village is so appealing with all the English charm you would expect from Mrs. Klassen's writing. Though not the pace you would expect, I love how Julie stays true to the time, allowing history to breathe through her stories and her characters.

    Being Scottish by blood only, I loved Charlie's character. But I could'na say who was my favourite out of the lot. Even the sour characters--or so I thought were sour--I simply adored. Each distinct voice portrayed as real, poignant, determined, exuberant, kind, loving... just utterly attaching themselves to you through their wit, tender embraces, cunningness, depravities and intrigue.

    Also, something I found tastefully and wonderfully done, was having an older main (side) character. This character we follow heavily and is 51 years of age. I found this to be so refreshing, as well as relatable!

    The only negative I need to comment on in this book was the drinking. Though I understand this was acceptable at the time, in that era.

    I can not wait to follow more of these characters in Julie's new series.

  • A.M. Heath
    Feb 01, 2017

    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

    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.

  • Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
    Jan 03, 2017

    About this book:

    About this book:

    Series: Book #1 in the

    series.

    Spiritual Content- John 15:5 at the beginning; Prayers & a Blessing over food; Church going & services; Talks about God; Mentions of God, His creations & Praising/Thanking Him; Mentions of prayers; Mentions of clergymen, a church, church going & services; Mentions of Bibles & reading; Mentions of Heaven (some indirectly) & asking forgiveness from God; Mentions of angel figurines; A few mentions of those & events in the Bible; A few mentions of blessings & being blessed; A couple mentions of miracles; A couple mentions of a man meeting his Maker & the rising on the last day; A mention of the second coming; A mention of a martyr;

    *Note: A mention of superstitious people; A place is called devilish hot; A couple mentions of a devilishly charming man; Mentions of the/a devil.

    Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘blinkin’ (could be used as a replacement for other words), a ‘dashed’, an ‘idiot’, a ‘what the devil’, two ‘thunder and turf’, four ‘dash it’s, and four ‘stupid’s; A couple mentions of curses (said, not written); A bit of sarcasm; Drinking champagne; Mentions of bodies, a coffin, pain & an accident (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of dying & illnesses; Mentions of a possible murder; Mentions of fighting & hitting (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of thieves, highway men & stealing; Mentions of embezzlement; Mentions of debts, cards, gambling & bets; Mentions of drinking, drunks, pints & spirituous drinks; Mentions of wine & wine cellars; Mentions of hunters & poachers; Mentions of meat needing to be plucked, skinned or gutted (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of lying, lies & manipulation; Mentions of gossip & rumors; Mentions of whips & whipped horses; A few mentions of bloodstains; A couple mentions of cigars; A mention of tobacco; A couple mentions of a dead mouse; A mention of murder; A mention of suicide; A mention of slaves; A mention of a horse going to a caddy butcher (doesn’t happen, more of a threat).

    Sexual Content- a hand kiss, three cheek kisses, two barely-above-not-detailed kisses & a semi-detailed kiss; Touches & Embraces (barely-above-not-detailed); Some noticing & smelling; Thora believes marriage is misery in the majority of the book; Mentions of a man put a woman in a predicament [with child] (no details); Mentions of an assumed affair (which didn’t happen, she jumped to conclusions), prostitutes, prostitution, luring men in & a brothel; Mentions of kisses & wanting one; Mentions of a man reputation as a rake & a woman worried for females near him; Mentions of improperness, reputations & chaperones; Mentions of flirts & flirting; A few mentions of a buxom woman being ogled, turning heads & tempting men; A few mentions of young boys trying to watch an actress bath (all they saw was her ankle before being sent away); A few mentions of jealousy; A couple mentions of ribald talk & a ribald party; A couple mentions of swooning ladies; A mention of seducing; A mention of a servant who ran off with another; A mention of a young man looking up a woman’s skirts; A mention of a young man’s dreamy grin about petticoats; Some love, falling in love & the emotions;

    *Note: A mention of a young girl not wanting to have a big family for fear of the risk of dying in childbirth or spoiling her figure; A couple mentions of men being able to identify a woman by her backside; A couple mentions of women’s figures; A couple mentions of undergarments & unmentionables; Mentions of miscarriages, blood & pain (semi-detailed).

    -Jane Bell, nearly age 30

    -Thora Bell, age 51

    P.O.V. switches between them & Rachel

    Set in 1820

    441 pages

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    Pre Teens- One Star

    New Teens- One Star (and a half)

    Early High School Teens- Three Stars

    Older High School Teens- Four Stars

    My personal Rating- Four Stars

    Well, hmmm! Julie Klassen has always been a book-by-book author for me—I have to decide on each book of itself if I like it, I can’t just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to her books. This felt like a very laid-back read, though it did have some faster-pace scenes. I’m quite pleased over how clean this novel was—especially because of the size. There were some love interest moments and some falling in love, but the romance thread still felt very light. I’m excited to see that the next book in the series has all the point of view ladies back along with Mercy (as I really liked her in this one and wanted to see more) coming out in December.

    Link to review:

    *BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

    *I received this book for free from the Publisher (Bethany House) for this honest review.

  • Emily
    Jan 22, 2017

    The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is the first book in a new series by Julie Klassen. It centers on the Inn that is at the heart of a little coaching village in nineteenth century England. Jane Bell has been the new innkeeper for a year now, ever since her husband’s death, but she has been in too deep grief to take much care of it. Just as it falls deeper into disrepair, she becomes aware of a large loan that her late husband had taken out without her knowledge. Jane now has a mere three months to repay

    The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is the first book in a new series by Julie Klassen. It centers on the Inn that is at the heart of a little coaching village in nineteenth century England. Jane Bell has been the new innkeeper for a year now, ever since her husband’s death, but she has been in too deep grief to take much care of it. Just as it falls deeper into disrepair, she becomes aware of a large loan that her late husband had taken out without her knowledge. Jane now has a mere three months to repay the debt or she will lose everything.

    The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is the story of a village full of charming characters, rather than a tale centered one only one or two characters. In that way, it is like the TV shows Downton Abbey, Poldark, and Little House on the Prairie. Each character has their own story and part to play in Jane’s story, but it is not exclusively about Jane. They are all connected as inhabitants of the town and have some connection to either Jane or the inn that the entire town depends on to some degree. Several different romances and love triangles develop among the characters, friendships are created and mended, and discoveries are made. The book had a quaint, cozy feel to it, though it was interspersed with a little bit of drama and excitement. The characters and the setting had great development and truly portrayed the small town experience. I don’t usually choose to read book like this because they tend to be a little slow and I prefer for the focus to be on only one or two characters. Because this book is like that, I did not enjoy it as well as I had hoped, coming from an author I adore. However, it was very well written and I enjoyed it enough to look forward to the second installment and would gladly recommend it to people who do enjoy that kind of novel.

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  • Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
    Feb 10, 2017

    Strong Women with Mettle, Perseverance, and Resourcefulness

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    TYPE OF NOVEL: Regency Romance, Historical Fiction

    SETTING: 1820 Wiltshire, England

    MAIN CHARACTERS:

    - Jane Fairmont Bell: A refined gentleman’s daughter who surprisingly married an innkeeper.

    - Thora Bell: Jane’s no-nonsense mother-in-law who has lots of experience working as a landlady of an inn and doesn’t have the best of relationships with Jane.

    - Patrick Bell: Jane’s charming brother-in-law, who at times seems

    Strong Women with Mettle, Perseverance, and Resourcefulness

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    TYPE OF NOVEL: Regency Romance, Historical Fiction

    SETTING: 1820 Wiltshire, England

    MAIN CHARACTERS:

    - Jane Fairmont Bell: A refined gentleman’s daughter who surprisingly married an innkeeper.

    - Thora Bell: Jane’s no-nonsense mother-in-law who has lots of experience working as a landlady of an inn and doesn’t have the best of relationships with Jane.

    - Patrick Bell: Jane’s charming brother-in-law, who at times seems self-serving and sneaky.

    - Gabriel Locke: Quiet and helpful, Mr. Locke has been serving as the inn’s farrier for about a year, but his past is something of a mystery.

    SYNOPSIS:

    It’s been a year since she inherited her husband’s inn and Jane hasn’t done much to take assume the duties and responsibilities of landlady. But now she learns that payment on the large loan her husband took out is long overdue. And since the inn isn’t making much of a profit these days this financial situation is very dire. Jane must decide if she wants to try and save the inn from being foreclosed or free herself from a life of chaos and hard work and sell the inn for a loss…

    NOTE: This is book one in Ms. Klassen’s Tales from Ivy Hill series. Book Two, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, is scheduled to release December 2017.

    WHAT I LOVED:

    - A Charming English Village: This book introduces Ivy Hill, a picturesque English village, and the coaching inn, The Bell, which is of great importance to the village as it provides work and livelihood for many of its inhabitants. With descriptions of each street, building, and business and a helpful detailed picture map at the beginning the reader is really able to visualize and feel the authenticity of this bustling and charming village. I’m so very glad that there will be more books that take place in this little town.

    - A Wonderful Host of Characters: Since this book is part of series, readers are introduced to an abundance of new characters with interesting personalities and pasts. Readers meet characters that work for the inn, are long-time residents of the area, and some that are newcomers to Ivy Hill. I loved learning about everyone’s past in this story, especially Jane and her friends – Rachel, Mercy, and Sir Timothy. And I loved all the distinct personalities we meet in this series – some of my favorites are the flirtatious and charming Charlie Frazer, the kind and compassionate Mercy Grove, and the crotchety Lord Winspear! And I loved the more complex characters like Gabriel Locke and Thora Bell.

    - Intriguing Secrets and Unanswered Questions: One of things I love and appreciate most about Julie Klassen’s writing is how she never reveals all the information readers need and want. It is fun to be in the dark and dying to know all the answers! This story, more than any other I’ve read by Julie Klassen, has a lot of unanswered questions and secrets that are slowly revealed. I was dying to know: What happened to the loan money? What kind of mischief Patrick was scheming? What happened between Rachel and Sir Timothy? What was John Bell up to before his death? So much going on in this novel, so many questions swirling in my head!

    - Unique Relationship Focus: I really enjoyed the unique focus on the relationship between Jane and her mother-in-law, Thora. Especially since it was a tense relationship filled with misjudgments and insecurity between two independent and discordant women. Both characters have their flaws and jumped to the wrong conclusions often, but I love how real their relationship felt. I know many women who have similar relationships with their mother-in-laws!

    WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

    - It’s Hard Being Patient: Oh! This is the hard part of reading a multi-book series! Not all the questions were answered and not every conflict was resolved. I know there is the promise of these things happening in Book 2 of this series, but it will be hard to wait!! And with how one relationship looked like it was on the precipice become something more, it gutted me to see it end on a bit of a cliff! Must. Have. Patience.

    CONCLUSION:

    Filled with endearing characters, history, and intriguing developments, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is a delightful and heartwarming introduction to the Tales from Ivy Hill series. I cannot wait to visit Ivy Hill again and follow the stories of these charming and likable characters!

    Austenesque Reviews