I have always found Julie Klassen to be a delightful author. Her books are well-written stories set in the Regency period, thoroughly researched, always with a touch of romance and mystery.
And so, based on the author's previous books, I was excited to read and review The Innkeeper of Ivy Hills. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the book and finished only out of duty.
From the publisher:
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?The characters in the book were flat and unlikeable. Jane was apathetic, Thora was critical, and Rachel was indecisive. Unfortunately, there were no redeeming qualities to these characters that made me want to forgive their shortcomings and cheer for them.
There were many characters and storylines introduced. It took me at least a third of the book to sort everyone out and determine which characters were even important. And many storylines were started, but not finished. This book is the first in a new series, and I'm assuming that many characters will be fleshed out and storylines continued in upcoming books. The storylines which were finished in this book- if Jane would save the Bell and if Thora would have a second chance at love - were anticlimactic.
I still appreciate Julie Klassen's writing style, but in this novel the characters and storyline failed to deliver.
I received this book free from the publisher via NetGallery in exchange for an honest review.