cover image H The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.

H The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.

Julie Klassen. Bethany House, $14.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-7642-1813-2

The financial future of the English village of Ivy Hill rests largely upon the success of The Bell, the coaching inn formerly run by innkeeper John Bell, but now by his widow, the reluctant and inexperienced Jane. When she discovers a large loan is imminently due, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, the former mistress of The Bell who knows the business. Together they must face and overcome old hurts while assessing new methods to turn the business around. The appearance of several men, old friends and new, showing interest in both the inn and the women add mystery and emotional depth to the Jane and Thora’s struggle to save their heritage. Readers are left to wonder which of Thora’s suitors can convince her to chance love again, and if Jane can embrace or deny her new role as innkeeper. With her signature insight into the human heart, Klassen (The Painter’s Daughter) draws readers into the deceptively quiet English countryside of Austen’s day, a world of complicated yet joyful, messy yet faithful, lives of regular people who choose to truly live despite their difficult circumstances. Readers will rejoice that this is only the beginning of her new Tales from Ivy Hill series. [em]Agent: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such (Dec.) [/em]