Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Book Review: The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage. (Tales from Ivy Hill #2) Julie Klassen. 2017. Bethany House. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Rachel Ashford wanted to throw up her hands.

Premise/plot: The first book in this giddy-making series is The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. In that book, readers are introduced to a small, yet complex, community. Within that community, several women are striving to maintain their independence and make a living. Jane, one of the main characters, has an inn. Mercy and her aunt have a school. And Rachel is venturing forth in this novel with a circulating library--using her father's collection of books which she inherited when he died.

The main characters of this second novel have shifted a bit to Rachel and Mercy, though Jane still factors into the novel quite a bit. (Especially towards the end of the novel--swoon!!!)

Each woman is at a crisis point--though none of the character truly hit rock bottom because of the resourcefulness of friends and family and a supportive community.

Rachel is living on charity, and she absolutely hates it. The only thing she owns is her father's library. She doesn't read. One of the stipulations of the will was that the collection could never be sold. Fortunately, a friend suggests that she could open up a circulating library. She's staying with Mercy and her aunt, Matilda. They graciously agree to allow two of their rooms to be dedicated to that library.

Mercy is a teacher, and she absolutely LOVES it. Part of her still aches for a child of her own, but she's past thirty and if she didn't find love when she was young, what are the chances of her finding it now? But she's given the opportunity to become a guardian to one of her pupils, Alice. But is this too good to be true? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Regardless, her crisis is of a different sort. Her parents have given her an ultimatum: marry Mr. Hollander, a gentleman they've set her up with, OR her home will be given to her brother, George, and his new wife. It seems the new year will bring unwelcome change no matter what.

My thoughts: This is very much a romance novel. I found it to be giddy-making or even swoon-worthy. I loved it. I think you will too. (Even if you don't enjoy love triangles. Rachel is being courted by several men. But it's fairly obvious which is her true love.)

I usually don't like my romance novels so peopled--so many main heroines, so many stories--but in the case of this series I wouldn't dream of leaving anyone out. I love them all. Klassen even has a few more 'minor' characters that I enjoy quite a bit.

If you enjoy watching miniseries like Lark Rise to Candleford and North and South, or reading the works of Jane Austen, I think you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one as much as I do.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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