After a year of mourning her husband's death, Jane Bell, the owner of the Bell Inn, discovers that her inn is deep in debt, and if she can't turn it around in three months, she'll lose it. With her critical mother-in-law back to help, do they have a chance to save it?
In the tradition of a British mini-series, Klassen begins a series with more than just a leading couple--it's a story of community, and it is three women who lead the tale, though primarily Jane Bell, the owner of the inn, and her mother-in-law, Thora.
There are some things that are trademark Klassen--the incredible attention to period detail, the complex characters, the realistic trials besetting the characters. But it's definitely different from her other novels, too.
I would call it women's fiction rather than romance. Yes, there are definitely hints of romance throughout the story, but less than I expected from Klassen novel (however, I expect some of this will be remedied in the coming books). Instead, it's much more a story of the women finding worth and their own place and purpose. There's a strong feel of women working together to run businesses in a time that was not friendly to women business owners.
It isn't gothic or mysterious, or fast-paced. But it is a good story, and I think it will get even better as the series continues and the community and characters grow. I definitely enjoyed this introduction to Ivy Hill.
I received a free copy from the publisher. No review, positive or otherwise, was required; all opinions are my own.
Tales from Ivy Hill
1. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
2. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Dec 2017)
3. The Bride of Ivy Green (Dec 2018)