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?
I am a huge fan of Julie Klassen. No one does nineteenth century drama quite like her. I mean, she really makes her characters real. At any rate, I was very excited to get my hands on this novel as I really enjoyed the first novel and there were so many loose threads. My thoughts:
What I liked
The series. I read that the author wanted to write a series in a similar vein to the show Cranford. I think she succeeded. If this was a TV show, I would love it. The story is rich and layered and complex. There’s a history in this town with positive and negative relations. Like an onion, every layer is slowly peeled back. Some characters you will like, others you will dislike, but you cannot deny that you will feel like you know them well.
Rachel. I will admit that my first reaction to having Rachel as the main narrator was one of slight disappointment. I really liked being in Jane Bell’s head. However, Rachel grew on me and I found her to be just as interesting as Jane. Like Jane she is changing class and learning all that that encompasses. She also finds herself at the center of a small mystery and unraveling it forces her (and others) to confront some ugly truths.
Mercy. I found her to be so relatable even though I’m clearly not in her shoes. She’s very independent for her day and time and yet still desires a family and a home. The things she goes through in an effort to get them are at times, heartbreaking. I have a suspicion she might be the focus of book three.
What I didn’t Like
The guy Rachel ends up with was so passive. He kept waiting for her to signal that she wanted him as though he didn’t live in a society where men had most of the power when it came to romantic relations.
There wasn’t enough Gabriel and Jane.
Also I am not terribly fond of the direction a certain someone’s story line is headed in and I hope the matter is resolved quickly in book 3.
Romantic Scale: 7.8
Overall, a very good sequel and I’m looking forward to the next one!
** I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**