The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

As the first book in the Tales from Ivy Hill series, author Julie Klassen delivers a compelling novel I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill introduces us to Jane, the reluctant new owner of the local inn. A recent widow and a gentlewoman by birth, Jane was not involved in the daily operations of The Bell while her husband lived. Faced with making changes to secure the future of the inn, Jane has a lot of learn and plenty of people offering advice.

With a full range of memorable characters, Klassen’s novel is reminiscent of the best of Charles Dicken’s storytelling where characters find themselves intertwined with each other for better or for worse. I loved the range of strong female characters we follow throughout the novel, and the unexpected plot twists that kept creeping up throughout the novel which kept us guessing about characters’ motives. This was a poignant story of loss and love, loneliness and strength of community.

I look forward to reading future books in this series. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen for my candid review.

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The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

What is a young woman to do who has relinquished her dowry to help her family in financial straits? Abigail Foster feels guilty for advising her father to pursue a bad financial investment. Her childhood friend and potential suitor, Gilbert leaves for Italy after showing new, unabashed interest in her younger, spoiled sister Louisa. With her hopes disappointed in Gilbert, and her family’s home facing foreclosure, sensible Abigail embraces the offer to reside at Pembrooke Park where she will be removed from scandal and heartache. So begins Julie Klassen’s latest novel The Secret of Pembrooke Park.

With her quintessential mix of eclectic characters, Klassen weaves a tale of painful pasts, suspense, and hope around Abigail Foster. As Abigail steps into the complex history of Pembrooke Park, she finds genuine friends, purpose, and trouble as she works to discover the location of a secret room and why it haunts the history of Pembrooke Park.

I really liked Abigail because she was so authentic. The Chapman family was full of surprises throughout the book. Miles Pembrooke kept me on edge the whole book. And the mysterious Mrs. Webb seems to be everywhere. This is one of those subtly suspenseful stories that keeps us wondering and hoping and holding our breath for answers. I loved how Klassen used so many memorable characters to create her plot. Very reminiscent of Charles Dickens, the masterful storyteller, who created notable characters that all have connections to each other.

Overall, I loved the mystery, intrigue, and people that make up The Secret of Pembrooke Park and congratulate Klassen on writing a haunting, captivating novel. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen for my candid review.