This is my first Julie Klassen though I’ve heard much about this talented and established author. It is the second in the Tales from Ivy Hill series but I didn’t feel I’d missed out on anything that stopped me from enjoy this story even if I am tempted to go back and read The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. I anticipated the usual romance which follows two lead characters meeting…except who are the leads here? Which romance will succeed? Those questions kept me reading…and reading…until I reached the end of the book hungry for the next one! Yes, I enjoyed Rachel’s story but I loved Mercy and Jane and their stories are just beginning. More twists than even I could anticipate made it a most interesting and diverting read. I enjoyed the unpredictability and the gentle Christianity. There is a great sense of hope in difficult circumstances. As a fellow reviewer remarked, it’s a lovely chronicle of village life and the characters within that! Roll on the next one! A four out five on the en-JOY-meant scale!

Favourite line:

“…Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice. Wonderful novel. Have you read it?” Rachel shook her head. “Oh, you should. So diverting and instructive.”

From the back cover:

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?

With thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers

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