December 5th 2017, 448 Pages
Bethany House, Print, ebook and audio
Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.
Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?
Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days 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 who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.
Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return--but where is he?
As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?
My Review: ★★★★
Its been nearly a year since I finished the last book in this series, and since I have read so much since then I’ve been rather remiss in remembering all the characters from the last book. It took a while and a read of my review to refresh my memory on the background of Rachel, one of the protagonists of this book (one of the Ladies of Ivy Cottage).
Leaving behind my lapses of memory though, I very much enjoyed this book with the detailed setting, prose, and colourful characters beloved of Klassen novels. Like the last one, this book was more character driven and could seem a little slow, but that was not an issue for me. The story picks up a few months after the last, with the unmarried ladies Mercy and Rachel starting a new venture with a school for village girls, and a lending library.
Characters old and new converge on the fictional Berkshire village, and it was good to see the story develop with the established ones. Romance is even in the air for Patrick, Rachel, and even Jayne still struggling to come to terms with past heartbreak. Nods to literary classics were provided with characters having to come to terms with the opposition of family, pride, arrogance, social expectations, and family secrets.
Even a faint hint of mystery reminiscent of Klassen’s former works. A few Americanisms were my only gripe, and some readers may want to note that there are some references to sexual activity outside of marriage (no actual sex scenes, just mentions of it), with a mention of a woman who was a mistress, and an illegitimate child.
I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and their UK distributors. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.