The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill Series #1)

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill Series #1)

by Julie Klassen


$14.39 $15.99 Save 10% Current price is $14.39, Original price is $15.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, January 22
79 New & Used Starting at $1.99


First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen!

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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764218132
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/06/2016
Series: Tales from Ivy Hill Series , #1
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 94,853
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gabriel and Jane I enjoyed so much but was invested in Wanting them to get together. But I see I need to read the next book. Great writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the characters in this book. I don't know how to describe them, but I fell for Gable, James is so helpful, and everybody loves Jane...I can't wait for the rest of the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will be looking forward to #3
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that this novel started out very slowly for me. I have truly enjoyed many books by this author in the past, so I felt that I needed to persevere and see if the story picked up for me. I am very glad that I did so! The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill was beautifully written and I found that I connected with the story and events once I passed that halfway mark. Although it took me awhile to get the feel for the community and to begin to care about the people who lived there, I really enjoyed how things began to develop. I now find myself very invested in these characters! There were a few different possible romantic interests woven gently through the story. The author did a great job of keeping me guessing about how certain romances would progress. I am looking forward to returning to this community and seeing what is happening in the lives of certain characters in book two. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
parmilespages More than 1 year ago
Jane Bell inherits The Bell, a coaching inn, from her late husband. She cannot fathom why her husband, John, has bequeathed the inn to her. She has no desire to be involved with the daily activities and responsibilities of managing the inn. When she learns The Bell is in financial difficulties, she makes the decision to do her best to make the needed improvements to save The Bell. It is a daunting task and one Jane feels unequipped to handle especially with her critical mother-in-law looking over her shoulder. This book isn’t just about Jane and her act of trying to save The Bell, it is about the entire town of Ivy Hill and the significant people who play a role in the life of the inn. Since this book is the first of a series, it sets the tone for the dynamics between the characters and gives background information about the town’s inn, a central focus of Ivy Hill. For me, the book started a bit slow but as I became better acquainted with the characters, I enjoyed the story more. I liked how Jane changed and became her own person. Her character was one that tried to see the best in people and to trust others. Ms. Klassen is a master storyteller in how she reveals a person’s character through small circumstances in the story, such as she did with Jane and the mouse she found in the Lodge. The other characters in the book, each had a distinct personality, voice, and role in the story as well. I appreciated how each character added a different detail about the plot or Jane’s past, whether it was about a past relationship, a past situation, or a foreshadowing of the future. I would recommend reading this historical fiction book. I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Unfinished relationships. Hope they are resolved in #2 and #3!
AndreaBy More than 1 year ago
Jane’s late husband left her the inn, which she has taken little interest in. Her mother in law, Thora, has decided to visit, which can’t be good can it? Her old friends Mercy, Matilda, Timothy, Rachel are introduced as well as others that are pertinent to the business at the inn, including her brother in law, Patrick. Much of this story is the saving of the inn, and how to go about that. Enjoyable story, with likeable characters. As the book progresses, there are some side plots to keep one guessing as well as endearing Ivy Hill to us. Looking forward to the next book in this author’s first series.
BBulow More than 1 year ago
Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors, so of course, her first series was of great interest to me. And I'm not sure if the stars just aligned perfectly with my reading mood, but I adored this story. I typically don't prefer stories that focus on several different characters, and I knew this one did, but that didn't bother me in the least. I enjoyed each characters' story, and I liked their different perspectives. Sure, I didn't warm to one of them as much as the others, but that's also because her story wasn't the focus just yet, but will be the focus of book two. Some readers described this story as slower moving, and perhaps that is somewhat true. The story is definitely character-driven, with very little immediate suspense, however, there are still a few mysterious threads. The pace and tone of the story match each other perfectly, adding a sense of realism to the story. The focus is on true-to-life issues, such as widowhood, saving a livelihood, stillbirth, prejudices between the classes, and more. Because the focus is on real issues, rather than unnecessary drama, the story has a heartfelt, genuine feel. For the most part, reading this book felt like a warm, cozy blanket, full of moments of both sweetness and sorrow. The setting is just lovely and winsome. I especially enjoyed learning about the inner-workings of a coaching inn. The historical details about the inn and life in Ivy Hill are just enough without being overdone. The romantic thread is evident but not overwhelming, and while there are several potential suitors, I never felt misled about who I was supposed to be rooting for (like in Lady Maybe), nor did I feel that the either of the ladies were wishy-washy in the emotions (like in The Apothecary's Daughter). The character development is spot-on for both Thora and Jane, and while there is one happy ending, there are also several loose ends that I'm eager to see revealed, in fact, so eager that I've already started book two. Though this story presents a different style than Klassen's previous novels, it is one that works for this reader. Highly recommended to fans of cozy historicals with sweet romances and a vibrant setting. Off to read book two!
thisgalsjourney More than 1 year ago
Wow. I LOVED this book. Admittedly, it took me a little while to get into it. I think that's more the fact that I've not read a regency romance in so long. But Klassen weaves deep, intricate characters, and a plot full of humor, romance, and mystery. So often I am able to figure out what it happening and what the ending will be, and that was not the case with this book. My fitness tracker even picked up my heart rate when reading an exciting scene towards the end of the book! I couldn't wait even a full day after finishing this book before starting book 2!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable book. A new author to me. Will check out what's else is available to delve into...,..dawna
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hes7 More than 1 year ago
A book from Julie Klassen never disappoints me. As I read The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, I fell in love with the characters, the community that surrounds them, and the quaint and cozy inn setting. Every aspect feels so warm and transporting and captivating, making this a perfect book to curl up with and get lost in on a chilly day. Klassen skillfully weaves together three character perspectives to tell this charming historical story and sets it up perfectly for the continuation of the series (which I’m really excited to read!). For fans of Julie Klassen and readers of historical fiction, I highly recommend The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill—I loved it! Thanks to Bethany House, I received a copy of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
PaperBlossoms More than 1 year ago
The Inkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen is a very engaging book from the start. The story is well written and moves along nicely which I appreciate. The very beginning has a map of Ivy Hill which I always enjoy as it helps with the place reference as you read through the story. I enjoy the Regency flavor and writing and give it a solid 4 stars. **This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review by Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are mine.**
Moonpie72 More than 1 year ago
I know when I open one of Ms. Klassen’s books I can be sure I am in for a good read! This novel is proof again! The setting is Wiltshire, England, 1820. Jane was suddenly widowed a year ago when her husband was in an accident. He ran a family inn named, the Bell. She had no part in the business but thanks to the laws, suddenly finds herself proprietor and owner. She knows nothing about running such an establishment and has no desire to. The Inn means everything to her mother-in-law, Thora Bell, as it belonged to her parents. Thora moves back to the Bell in hopes of helping out. To make a sticky situation even worse, Thora has never really liked her daughter-in-law. Her brother-in-law, Patrick, also resides there and has his own agenda for the Bell. The inn is in great need of repairs and deep in debt. At first she feels she has no choice but to manage the inn has she has no other means of income. Later she realizes that is about more than just her, and the success of it affects many lives. I overwhelmed for Jane in all she had to learn and do. I found it very interesting the workings and running such a business in that era, it was hard! Definitely not like our Holiday Inns now! She sets goals to bring new life to the business but not without opposition from some. Without finances this certainly seems impossible. I admired Jane’s perseverance even in the face of resistance and insurmountable odds. There are mysteries concerning her husband’s death she wants to solve in addition to her mounting responsibilities. The book has a wonderful cast of complex characters that the author brings to life in detail and personality. This makes it a very in-depth story. There are many surprises, twists and turns on different levels and within each characters life. I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next sequel. I was provided a review copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers, with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
DarleneLTurner More than 1 year ago
What friendships await in the quaint and cozy English village of Ivy Hill? What is life like there when all seems lost? Jane Bell is about to find out. When her innkeeper husband dies and leaves her in charge of The Bell, she finds herself stumbling in the business world. How can she run the Inn let alone save it from a loan threatening to foreclose? And then her mother-in-law, Thora Bell, shows up unexpectedly. Will she make matters worse? As Jane and Thora work through their differences and come up with a plan to save The Bell, they soon find themselves entangled in the lives of the town residents and one mysterious newcomer. Can they restore their empty hearts as well as the dilapidated inn? The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is book one in new Tales from Ivy Hill series from author Julie Klassen. This author certainly knows how to spin a tale of delightful portions. This book doesn’t disappoint in regards to her masterful storytelling abilities. I have to admit though this was not one of my favourites by this author. I found the story hard to grab my attention and somewhat confusing at the beginning. The plot moved slowly. However, the richness in imagery, dialogue, and characterization certainly held my attention and made me move forward to want to find out what happens. I could picture everything in this quaint little English village of Ivy Hill. It’s a place I’d love to visit! Each character was well-rounded. I found myself having to warm up to both Jane and Thora as they had their own little quirks, especially Thora. She was downright rude at times. But that is a sign of a great character. You dislike them at one moment and like them the next. It’s evident this author did her research when it came to the historical aspects of the novel. I loved that. Well done. All in all, I enjoyed this book as it is very well written. I give The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill three stars. If you like historical fiction, this is a good one to put on your shelf. **Book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
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)
coramdeo540 More than 1 year ago
The Inn Keeper of Ivy Hill Julie Klassen Book Summary: 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? Review: For me I had a hard time getting through this book. I really did not like Jane in the beginning and found Thora to be an imitation of Dame Maggie Smith’s character from Downton Abbey which fell flat for me. I really like Julie Klassen’s books, but for me this was difficult to get through. Jane started out weak. There were way to many secondary characters introduced in a short period of time to keep up with. It took too long The fighting was more than I would like. I finally gave up trying to enjoy the book. I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
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.
slm76 More than 1 year ago
The year is 1820: the Napoleonic Wars are over, George IV now reigns in his own right instead of as Regent for his father, and the first railways are just around the corner. The country is changing, and The Bell Inn will need to change with it if it’s to stay in business. Jane Bell is too wrapped in grief to pay attention at first, but a visit from the local bank manager wakes her from her malaise. As Jane takes an interest in the inn, she makes discoveries not only about the business but also about herself. Thora, initially unlikable, also comes to realize a few things about her life. There’s a mystery wrapped into the narrative, however, as both women are puzzled by certain events in the inn’s recent past, events about which they’d previously had no knowledge. Jane and Thora aren’t the only women in this story. Also featured is Rachel, the daughter of the recently deceased Sir William Ashford of Ivy Hill, and Mercy who is a spinster school teacher. At one point they were both friends with Jane, but time has estranged them. Then there are the women of the village who face challenges regarding their positions in life. The Innkeeper at Ivy Hill is an engrossing novel about the lifeblood of a small English village. It was interesting to see how the various businesses depended on each other. As well as the mystery mentioned above, there are elements of humor and romance. The book is enhanced by the map of Ivy Hill in the opening pages, although a character list would’ve been helpful. Discussion questions are included for reading groups at the end. A website has also been created to support the Ivy Hill series and, from that, it appears there will be at least three books in the series. The next one, called The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, is due out in December. It’ll be a long wait. Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Debragg More than 1 year ago
"The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill" by author Julie Klassen is an about an inn where people like to stay. The Bell has just had it's innkeeper pass away and the new landlady is his widow. Jane Bell does not want to take over but she has no choice. She has to learn fast or her inn as well as the town will be no more. Thora Bell who is her mother-in-law is still around and is also grieving. Thora has 2 men that want to go out with her but Thora is not interested. Will she change her mind? Jane is very busy trying to save the inn. Will she be able to, before everything is lost? I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book for a review by Bethany House and all opinions are mine.
EmilyAnneK17 More than 1 year ago
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.
RobinWillson More than 1 year ago
The first book in a new series, setting up the stories to follow. You’ll enjoy getting to know the characters and want to read more to see how their lives and their community progress, somewhat reminiscent of the Mitford series. The Bell Inn was left to Jane by her husband, who had died suddenly. Jane came from an aristocratic background with few skills to run an Inn. While married, her husband did not encourage her to participate in anything to do with the Inn. His mother and brother were his partners. Theora, his mother, grew up in the family that had run the Inn for years and it was part of her. When her son left the Inn to his wife, she decided to go to her sister’s house to stay, but that didn’t go as expected so she returned to the Inn she knew and loved. On return she discovered that the Inn had fallen into disrepair and was losing business. Add to that a local banker suddenly claiming there was a huge loan on the Inn – an amount that was practically impossible to repay – which would be a benefit to Patrick (the brother) who wanted to take the Inn over and turn it into something else. The man who delivered the news to Jane of her husband’s death offered to stay on and work for the Inn and became a valuable asset. As the story progresses Jane has some leads to follow concerning her husband’s whereabouts when he was killed – or possibly murdered. A rival Inn owner purchases Jane’s old home to turn it into competition as an Inn, but he also offers several suggestions to Jane about improving The Bell. The whole town enters into a competition between the two Inns for the right to have the Royal Mail delivery. Love interest, deceit, intrigue and mystery. A great book on its own, but I can’t wait for the second book in the series to see what happens next! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Bethany House Publishers - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
There's really not much more delightful to me than reading a series set in a small village that revolves around ordinary people living their everyday lives. If you've read Jan Karon's Mitford series or Miss Read's Fairacre Chronicles you know exactly what I am talking about. To say that I was excited to get my hands on Julie Klassen's first installment in the Tales From Ivy Hill series is an understatement. I have long enjoyed Julie's historical fiction books and I knew that she would be the perfect author to give us a new village and people to love. By the end of the book I felt as if I had made new acquaintances and looked forward to getting to know each of them better. The book starts with one of my favorite things . . . a map of the village! I love being able to picture the layout as the story progresses. When we first dip into the story we meet Jane Bell who is a recent widow and has suddenly and unexpectedly become the new innkeeper for The Bell. Much to her dismay her late husband left the coaching inn for her to run. The problem lies in the fact that before this Jane's husband insisted that Jane lead a life of a genteel lady and as such she really had very little to do with the inn. The next central figure that we are introduced to is Thora Bell. She's Jane's mother-in-law and the two of them have a very strained relationship. The Bell coaching inn has been in Thora's family for generations so Thora is a bit territorial when it comes to all things concerning the inn. The problem is that the decisions are no longer hers to make. There are other friends and family that we meet but I would say that this installment centers around these two women. I found the storyline to be very easy to relate to. Even the best of daughter-in-law and mother-in-law relationships have a tension about them. Jane and Thora are leary of each other but they also need each other. Watching the barriers come down and the trust factor go up was a delight. As I said earlier this is a gentle read but it does have a bit of mystery involved. I'm delighted to say that I was completely wrong about who was behind the deception. In this case it was so nice to be wrong! There's a bit of everything to entice the reader. There's relationship issues, both romantic and platonic, there's mystery, and there's also some very intriguing history. You just can't go wrong with this read. Let me close with my favorite quote from the book. It comes from Mercy, a dear friend of Jane's, and it comes at the beginning of the book but it sets the tone for the rest of the story. "Manage the inn, Jane; save it. Have a mission in life. Discover that work worth doing is about more than profit and toil. It's about using the gifts and ability you've been given to serve your fellow man and please your Maker." (pg. 130) I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
BookLover16 More than 1 year ago
When I first started this book I wasn't sure if I was going to love it as much as Julie Klassan's other books. I try not to judge a book by it's cover but I do judge it by the back cover's description and first chapter. And if they don't pull me into the story right from the get go... well, it's seems that I either slowly drudge through the book or sometimes don't finish it at all. So because the description and first couple chapters weren't very exciting to me I expected to be disappointed in the author's latest novel. BUT I wasn't! After just a couple more chapters I was completely engrossed in the story. I, like Jane, didn't know who I could trust and that kept me in anticipation for the turn of every page. And when I had finished the book I could barely wait for the next installment in this series! I'm so glad Julie Klassan is finally doing a series because her side characters are always SO well written that I'd wish for them to have their own story too. Now my wish has come true!
BlueJeansAndTeacups More than 1 year ago
•°o•:*:•.CHARMING.•:*:• o°• Ivy Hill, Wilshire, England, May 1820 A small English village is such a charming place to visit. It draws you in, and welcomes you to stay, find community and become invested in its people. That is how I felt in Ivy Hill, while slipping out of my every-day-life and between the pages this story centered around. Jane Fairmont Bell (age 29) has inherited her husband’s coaching inn, The Bell, after his sudden death. She lives her life in a daze, wearing her “widow’s weeds”, relying on the staff to see to running the inn, until one day, its needs can no longer be ignored. Her brother-in-law, Patrick, has returned to help and eventually her cantankerous mother-in-law, Thora Bell, also returns to shape things up. There are many problems at hand. The inn has fallen into disrepair, the bank reveals a large loan that is past due, many people don’t believe Jane can handle the responsibility of being a business woman; particularly the abrasive cook Bertha Rooke, and mystery lies in wait. Additionally, as the story progresses, three potential suitors hint interest at Jane. Personally I am rooting for Gabriel Locke, the Bell’s horse farrier. But, book 1 is not about Jane finding new love, but rather learning what she is made of, and how to rely on her neighbors. A favorite storyline was the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society, where local business women meet to discuss business concerns. –Ch.14 “So the knitting is merely a guise?” “Basically,” Mercy agreed, eyes twinkling. “What about the tea?” Jane asked. “Heavens no. Tea is mandatory. What would a clutch of women do without tea?” There is an entire patchwork quilt of characters in this story, much like a real village. I got to know them, enjoyed some, wanted to punch others, fellowshipped in their faith, grieved their losses, and in the end was so delighted to share in their lives. The author has some lovely pictures, character directory, map of the town, etc. all found under Tales From Ivy Hill dot com. I enjoyed this story very much and recommend it to others. I received a copy from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. Book #1 © December 2016 Bethany House 444 pages with discussion questions Book 2 – The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, due out Dec. 2017