BOOK REVIEW: Welcome to the English village of Ivy Hill, where friendships thrive, romance blossoms, and mysteries await. The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant land-lady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save 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 overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?
As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?
MY REVIEW: I was the tiniest bit disappointed about this book, and I can't even tell you why. I am a fan of Julie Klassen's books, and this wasn't quite what I expected. It is also a series, which is disappointing in the fact that one has to wait to hear the end of the story. :) But once I accepted the fact that it was not the story I was expecting, I really enjoyed the book.
I liked the storyline. Widowed Jane Bell has to overcome her reluctance to the job and save her husband's inn. She has three months to either pay off a huge loan, or convince the bank that further extensions are profitable. On top of that, new competition moves in to town.
One part of this book that I found enjoyable was a race (I shan't say why) between The Bell and its competition to see whose staff could have the coach's horses changed out and on the road again the fastest. Their aim was for two minutes! The Bell's staff is frantically practicing and improving their methods. For you see, their normal times are closer to ten minutes, and they had only one week in which to become five times faster--a feat for which they had many doubts. And of course, at the actual race, there occurs a twist in the case of the winner.
In conclusion, this is the first book in Julie Klassen's new Tales from Ivy Hill series. If you are like me, wait until all the books are out, and then read them all at once. But if you can exercise more patience than I, then by all means, read this book today. It is worth it!
I recieved this book from BETHANY HOUSE in exchange for my honest review.