From the Back Cover
A gentlewoman in reduced circumstances, Miss Rachel Ashford lives as a guest in Ivy Cottage. With her meager funds rapidly depleting, she is determined to earn her own livelihood…somehow. Her friend Jane Bell and the other village women encourage her to open a circulating library with the many books she’s inherited from her father. As villagers donate additional books and Rachel begins sorting through the volumes, she discovers mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but both find more than they bargained for.
Rachel’s hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and finds fulfillment in managing her girls school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what-or whom-has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.
I really enjoyed this second book in Julie Klassen’s Tales from Ivy Hill. While I felt it was a bit slow to start, it was a very satisfying read. This book picks up where the first book, The Inn Keeper of Ivy Hill leaves off. In fact, I suggest reading the first book first. It has been awhile since I read the first book and it took me a bit to remember and connect the characters again. In fact, this book is full of characters. I almost needed a guide at the beginning of the book to help me sort through them. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage tells the story of three main characters, Jane Bell (the focus of book one), Rachel Ashford, and Mercy Grove. Even though Rachel’s story seems to be the focus of this book, there are many chapters devoted to Mercy and Jane.
The Ladies of Ivy Cottage reminds me so much of my favorite BBC, Masterpiece, and PBS shows. This book is not for the reader who needs instant gratification though. Because the story continues from book one, and all plot lines are yet to be resolved in this second book, a little patience is required, I appreciate the longevity of this series. I am found of Klassen’s characters and I become invested in their stories! Fans of other village series books like Jan Karon’s Mitford series or the BBC series Lark Rise to Candleford will certainly enjoy the Tales from Ivy Hill.
I am a long time fan of Julie Klassen. In fact, I have read every novel she has written. Although The Ladies of Ivy Hill is not my favorite, it is definitely worth reading. I requested a review copy from the book’s publisher, Bethany House. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated.