“The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill” by Julie Klassen

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“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?”

Once again, it was the cover that drew me, and when I read the blurb, it definitely seemed like ‘my cup of tea’. 🙂 A little English village and the prospect of reviving an inn is just what I like, and this book did not disappoint. In somewhat the same vein as Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Cranford”, we get to know several of the towns inhabitants, though the main characters are those connected to the inn.

It did take a few chapters for me to really get into the story, but when Jane decided to ‘make a go of it’, that’s when it really got interesting. There are some questions that arise which she must find answers to, and she must decide who is really trying to help her, and who may trying to manipulate her for their own interests.

Also I really liked Thora. Even though she is portrayed as a rather ‘hard’ character in the beginning, I found her to be very likable and admirable

The story has a great resolution, but of course, as with any good series, the author left just enough threads hanging to make me anxious to read the next book in the series…which won’t be out till the end of next year. Aacckkk! How shall I bear it?! 😉

*Disclaimer: I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

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