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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 17 star ratings
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4.7 out of 5
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    •°o•:*:•.BUSY VILLAGE LIFE.•:*:• o°•

    Ivy Hill, Wilshire, England, September 1820 So much is happening in this second installment of Tales from Ivy Cottage. On the author’s character page found on [talesfromivyhill dot com] I counted over 100 characters! That’s a lot, but it makes for a very interesting series; one in which you can imagine yourself stepping back into time to visit the quaint village life. Jane Fairmont runs The Bell and had a starring role in the last book. Mercy Grove, schoolmistress and spinster, living with Matilda Grove (Aunt Matty). Rachel Ashford, currently being pursued by Nicholas Ashford, a distant second cousin who inherited her home after her parents were deceased. She now lives with Mercy and Matty and hopes to learn where her place in society is through attending the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society. James Drake, charmer/recent owner of The Fairmont hotel, shows interest in Jane, as well seeking information on a long lost acquaintance. Mr. Ainsworth, old sexton/gravedigger, is one of my favorite background characters. He has a deep respect for all things living, and a special scene with Jane really which yanked my heartstrings. Sir Timothy Brockwell, baronet, and former love interest to both Jane and Rachel during their youth, yet now 30 and never married. He is very kind, but trapped by what’s expected and proper. These are just a handful of the interesting characters whose lives are woven together with day-to-day events, celebrations, losses, hopes and worry for the future, and faith. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and TEA, oh the tea… it is woven throughout time and again. Sigh. The author also has some lovely pictures, character directory, map of the town, etc. all found under Tales From Ivy Hill dot com. Book #2 © December 2017 Bethany House 442 pages with discussion questions Book 3 – The Bride of Ivy Green, due out Dec. 2018
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    Second book in Tales from Ivy Hill series

    The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen is the second edition in Tales from Ivy Hill. It is September in 1820 in Ivy Hill, Wiltshire, England. Rachel Ashford wants to discover a way for her to earn money to support herself. She appreciates Mercy allowing her to life at Ivy Cottage, but she wants to pay her own way. The women of the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society suggest that Rachel use what her father left her in his will—his library. Rachel can open a subscription library at Ivy Cottage. The townspeople rally behind Rachel and donate books to the library. Thanks to those donated books, Rachel has two mysteries to ponder. She must also make a decision regarding Nicholas Ashford’s proposal. Jane Bell is busy running The Bell, but she misses Gabriel Locke. Is Jane ready to move on with her life? If so, is there a chance of Gabriel returning? Mercy Groves has long given up hope of getting married. She is busy running the school and is hoping to expand it. Mr. Thomas asks Mercy to become young Alice’s guardian. Mercy is happy to take on the role, but then suitor starts paying attention to her. Ivy Cottage, though, may be lost to all its current inhabitants if Mercy’s mother has her way. To see what happens to the women, join them on their journey in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is well-written with lovely characters. I do recommend reading The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill before embarking on The Ladies of Ivy Cottage. The first book introduces you to the characters, the village of Ivy Hill and their lives (it sets the stage for The Ladies of Ivy Cottage). The Ladies of Ivy Cottage picks up where the first book ended. The characters are well developed, and they continue to evolve. The pace of the story is gentle which suits the story (it is slower than The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill). I do feel, though, that the book is a little long (440 pages). Julie Klassen accurately portrayed the time-period with the clothing, the way people spoke (it was more formal), mannerisms, the shops, roles of men and women, locale, and customs. You can tell that the author did her research for the series. Through Ms. Klassen’s words you can imagine the village and its citizens. The Christian element is light and adds just the right touch. In addition to the main three ladies there are secondary characters that add drama and romance to the story. James Drake is working on his hotel, Sir Timothy Brockwell is interested in one of the ladies, Thora returns, Joseph Kingsley (the local carpenter) shows an interest in getting to know one of the women, and Mr. Carville is up to something. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is a rich, historical novel and I am eager for the next installment in the Tales from Ivy Hill.
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    delightful

    After her father's death and the transfer of his estate to a male relative, Nicholas Ashford, Rachel Ashford has moved into the home of her friend Mercy Grove and Mercy's spinster aunt Matty. While she has helped with the school that Mercy and Matty run for girls, Rachel needs to find a way to support herself. With the encouragement of her friends as well as other women in the town, Rachel decides to open a subscription library with books she inherited from her father and donated books from the townspeople. As she works to get her library up and running, Rachel stumbles upon a couple of mysteries that she sets out to solve--and finds that doing so brings her in close contact with the man who broke her heart years ago. Mercy Grove wants nothing more than to expand her school; she loves her girls and her work. When the great-grandfather of one of her pupils wants to make her the child's guardian, Mercy happily accepts. However, when she tells her parents the news, they come to visit--bringing a potential suitor with them. While he might suit her in some ways, Mercy finds herself more interested in the carpenter who donated his services to install shelves in Rachel's library...but she doesn't think he returns her regard. She must figure out which path is the right one for her. Things are running well at Jane Bell's inn, and James Drake, who is establishing an inn of his own nearby, is attentive and charming, but she wonders what his true motives are and finds herself longing for the company of a different man--but she doesn't know if she'll ever see him again. I thought this book was charming. I wish I could jump into the story and visit Ivy Hill and all the characters. Ivy Hill just seems so charming, and I'm just in love with the delightful setting. I also loved the characters; I was swept up in their stories and really wanted to see how things would play out for them. I felt like they were well-developed and it was easy to empathize with their worries and fears. I will say I wish there had been more of a resolution for one character in particular--but that is just a reflection of how much I enjoyed the book, not a criticism of the way it was written. I can't wait for the third book in the series! I actually like this series more than any of Julie Klassen's other books. I read a copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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    A Sweet Romance

    The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen is the second book in the Tales from Ivy Hill series. The women of the village are encouraging Miss Rachel Ashford to set up a circulating library with the many books that were left to her by her late father. As she begins to sort through the different books that the villagers also donate she stumbles upon a mystery. With the help of an ex-suitor Rachel searches for clues. Mercy Grove, Rachel’s hostess, is resigned to being a spinster and running her girls’ school. So, when several men begin to stop by Ivy Cottage she assumes they are interested in Rachel. The truth may come as a shock to everyone. I admit the story started out a little slow. It seemed to be just the everyday lives of an English village. But, once you immersed yourself in that daily living you began to be a part of it. I couldn’t put the book down. I enjoyed getting to know the ladies living in Ivy Hill. Their struggles and triumphs were an inspiration. I can’t wait for the next book. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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