THE INNKEEPER OF IVY HILL is set in 1820, in the tiny
village of Ivy Hill in Wilshire, England.
Barely thirty years old, Jane Fairmont Bell is a widow.
Alone in the innkeepers' lodge, Jane is grieving the loss of
her husband, John, killed accidentally almost a year ago.
For many years, John was Innkeeper at the Bell Inn, a
coaching inn, along the route of the Davenport Mail line
from London. His mother, Thora Bell, and her family, were the
keepers for generations before that. Jane was from a
genteel background and before her marriage lived with her
parents at a lovely estate, Fairmont Hall. Her parents
died, the estate was sold but now run down and empty. Jane
never had any interest in Bell Inn and had a rocky
relationship with her mother-in-law.
A surprise visit from the local banker, Mr. Blomfield,
with the startling news that John had bequeathed the Inn to
Jane, along with an unpaid and overdue debt of 50,000
pounds for a loan she knew nothing about. Jane was given
three months to develop a plan to show a profit or be forced
to sell the Inn. Should she sell the Inn and move on with
her life? Or stay and try her best to make Bell Inn a
Calling a meeting with her estranged mother-in-law, her
world traveling brother-in-law, Patrick, and staff, Jane asks
for their help and together they join forces to resurrect
the failing Inn.
Soon, a horn blowing outside becomes a signal to the staff
that a coach is arriving and they race into action. Horses
changed, mail delivered, luggage unpacked, guests rushed into
the Inn for a meal. Some stay, others re-board the coach
and go on. One night a handsome, green eyed, richly dressed
gentlemen arrives and asks to stay for an uncertain amount
of time. His name is James Drake and he is the owner of a
very successful hotel in Southampton. He gives Jane advice
about inexpensive alterations that would help make the Inn
more attractive and their friendship blossoms. He tells her
he has purchased her childhood home, Fairmont Hall, and
plans to make it into a posh hotel. Will this bloom into
THE INNKEEPER OF IVY HILL by Julie Klassen is a delightful
novel of family, love, and second chances.
It is a time in history when there is strong prejudice
against a women in business. Meetings, such as the Ladies
Tea and Knitting Society, are formed for ladies in business.
They can meet and help each other. I enjoyed the
group surprising Jane when she was attempting to make new
feather mattresses for the rooms at the Inn. Having no
knowledge of how to, she just begins stuffing, feathers
flying everywhere, and thankfully the Society comes to her
Julie Klassen has a perfect recipe in this delicious
Regency Romance, my favorite genre. Add in the ingredients of
handsome men who admire Jane and a few who care for Thora.
Stir in the colorful characters, sprinkle in a bit of
mystery, and you will be turning the pages quickly to the
finale. My favorite hero: stunning Gabriel Locke.
HE's always there, charming, thoughtful, and so full of
He is my pick. Five stars and high praise from me. Looking
to a sequel!
First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen!
The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is
its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies
suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant
owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However,
with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due,
she must find a way to bring new life to 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 find her place in the
world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of
trust, and Thora's wounded heart begins to heal. When she
encounters two men from her past, she sees them--and her
future--in a different light.
With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs
innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over
the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested
interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save
The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second
chance at love?