The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save 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 overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?
As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It did take me a couple of chapters to get the feel of the characters, It is a "meaty" book and has a lot of detail in it. One thing to look out for is the mention of the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society. Very interesting "club" and very ahead of its time.
The main character in the book Jane, shows how adaptable people can be when thrown into unfamiliar situations. This is the first book in the "Tales from Ivy Hill," series and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. There are many more tales to be told in Ivy Hill. There is even a web site dedicated to the "village" of Ivy Hill and all the book characters, which you can find here.
Stars out of 5 : 4.5 I really enjoyed this book, looking forward to reading the next in the series. Read many of Julie's books and this is one of her best written ones. Well worth the read.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".