Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, by Julie Klassen (Review & Giveaway!)

Gabrielle Here:

Do you have a favorite author (or maybe several) that you read, regardless of what they write? I sure do. One of those authors is Julie Klassen. I originally found her first book, The Lady of Milkweed Manor, when it was first published and ever since then, I've been a big fan.

My daughter and I with Julie at her last book signing event.
Julie is not only one of my favorite authors, she's also become a dear friend. We both live in Minnesota and we're both part of the MN N.I.C.E. ACFW writing group, which meets once a month and also enjoys several other outings each year. When I first met Julie, she mentioned that she wanted to write a series. All her other books were stand-alones, but she had an idea for a series of books set around a coaching inn. Two years ago, we were at a writing retreat and I had the pleasure of brainstorming with Julie and a few other writers about this story. It's fun to finally see it in print.


Julie's first book in the Tales From Ivy Hill series released in December. I had the pleasure of attending her release party and it was standing room only! It was so much fun to see so many of Julie's readers there to celebrate.

Julie, Blogger and Book Reviewer Rachael Wing,
Bethany House Publicist Amy Green,
and myself at Julie's book release & signing.
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill introduces us to Jane, a young lady who married beneath her station and is now widowed and left to save the coaching inn that belonged to her husband. We also meet many other secondary characters and are welcomed into the charming village of Ivy Hill. Each of the characters are unique and well-developed, the charming town is brought to life with businesses and people who become like neighbors, and each story thread is woven together in a beautiful tapestry. Some of those threads wrap up nicely, while others are left to dangle for the reader to wonder what will happen in book two (due December 2017--although I know it's already written! I spoke to Julie about it at our last writing meeting...). :)

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill has a slower pace, which makes it an easy, gentle read. It took me a little while to get into the story, as so much of the beginning was meant to bring the reader up-to-date on what had happened in Jane's life to bring her to this point. But once the characters and their goals were established, the story began to take flight.

Overall, this was a fabulous read and a perfect start to Julie's new series.

I would love to give a copy of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill to one blog reader. Please enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

Question for you: Are you familiar with Julie's writing? If so, what is your favorite book?

About the Book:

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?

About the Author:

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. She blogs at http://www.inspiredbylifeandfiction.com.
Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Gabrielle Meyer
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31 comments:

  1. I am not familiar with her books, but sounds like a good read!

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    1. They are amazing! Julie is definitely one of the best historical romance writers out there. :)

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  2. One of my favorite authors; hope to get a chance to read this; thanks for the chance :)

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    1. Oh, I'm so happy you're familiar with Julie's writing. Thanks for stopping!

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  3. The Painters Daughter comes to mind. Love these historical novels.
    Anyone that reads this please pray. My 82 yr old mother fell last night and broke her hip. She'll be going to surgery sometime this afternoon.

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    1. Praying, Gail! I hope the surgery goes well.

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    2. Thank you, it did. She's slept ever since coming back. Tomorrow will be the true test.

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    3. Prayers for little pain and a speedy recovery.

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  4. I love Julie!! I'm not sure which book is my favorite! They are all so so good!!

    xo,
    Christen
    http://ChristenKrumm.com

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    1. It's hard to choose, isn't it? A mark of a great writer, for sure.

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  5. I believe I have only read one of her books so far, but am looking forward to reading more!

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    1. I hope you get a chance to read the others. All of them are excellent.

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  6. Thank you, Gabrielle. I appreciate you coming to the launch, and sharing this review and giveaway as well!

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    1. My pleasure, Julie!! Looking forward to the next book in this series.

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  7. I can't pick a favorite, I have several, love them all. The first Julie Klassen book I read was The Apothecary's Daughter in April 2012.

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    1. Yes!! I should go back and read all the first ones. They were so good.

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  8. I love all of Julie's books. Looking forward to her next one.

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    1. It's fun to have books to look forward to. :)

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  9. I have loved all of Julie's books that I have read. Thank you for this chance.

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  10. I haven't yet read Julie's earliest books, but I've read five of the later ones. I think my favorite is Lady Maybe, but I do like them all. It will be interesting to read her new series.

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    1. I'd highly recommend all of Julie's books. I love the early ones as much as the later ones. Hopefully you get a chance to read them soon.

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  11. She's a new Author for me this sounds very good thank you
    Penney

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    1. I'm happy you discovered her! Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. I haven't read any books by this author yet. I wish I read faster so I could devour books & keep up w/my reading.

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    1. Yes! I wish I was a speed reader so I could devour more books, too. Not enough time and too many great authors. :)

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  13. Yes! Love, love, love Julie Klassen!! I've read all her books (except her newest; The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill) and my very absolute favorite of hers is Lady Maybe!

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    1. Happy to find another Klassen fan!! :) I'm sure you'll love the Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, as well.

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  14. I love Julie Klassen! I think my favorite is The Painter's Daughter or The Maid at Fairbourne Hall! But I'm reading The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill right now so that may change! lol!

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  15. I have loved every book I have read by Julie Klassen! She is talented!

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  16. Upon Jaime's recommendation, I read The Girl in the Gatehouse and LOVED IT!!! Jaime, thank you for introducing me to Julie's books!!!

    Thank you for the chance to win this one!

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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