The synopsis on the back of the book:
Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?
Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls' school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.
Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return--but where is he?
As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?
- Genre: Christian Historical Romance Fiction
- Published: 12/2017
- Pages: 448
- Goodreads rating: 4.0 stars
Why I Chose this Book
When I first heard Julie was writing the second novel in the Ivy Hill series I couldn't contain my excitement. I always love a good regency romance and hers is no exception!
First Initial Thoughts
Rachel left impoverished after her father's financial ruin moves into Ivy Cottage with Mercy Grove. There she teaches girls etiquette. Left with her father's huge book collection she decides to open a circulating library. I really appreciated that Rachel took control of the situation and continued to provide for herself instead of relying on others to help support her. I admired the independence she had, especially for that time period!
Oh, my heart fell for Jane. Jane is Rachel's best friend and runs the Bell Inn. She is a recent widow. Her life was not something she imagined. She was married to a man that she admired but did not love, truly. She also tried having children but had 8 - yes 8 miscarriages. I can't imagine the heartache and disappointment she went through. Such a sweet girl that went through so much!
Mercy the owner of Ivy Cottage has a big heart for children, even though she has no children of her own. She wants to adopt Alice, a pupil at the school and start a charity school. When her mother and father come to town to visit they bring along Mr. Hollander, an eligible bachelor. They kind of "threaten" Mercy that if she doesn't marry Mr. Hollander they will take away the school and the opportunity to adopt Alice. I felt for Mercy because she had huge dreams for Ivy Cottage and had such a tough decision to make!
The setting was perfect. Julie did an amazing bringing the English countryside to life. Even though I have not been to England I have been to Scotland. I am not sure if it's exactly similar but I could imagine it exactly in my mind- the old high street with shops, the countryside, farms with open land, and the friendly people!
Oh my goodness, this was such a sweet novel. I just loved all the conversations every one had towards one another, Ivy Hill itself, the library, the cottage, and just about all of it!
What I really liked about this book is that each of the romances in the story was a slow burn or no "love at first sight". I appreciated that because it seemed more realistic and plausible. Sir Timothy and Rachel - just swoon. Their romance was so sweet. Even though it was a rough road I enjoyed reading how they came together. Well, just about any romance in this book - was just so sweet!
I am not going to spoil anything but I am glad that Jane's life turned for the better. She deserved a good life after the disappointments she experienced!
The biggest theme in this book is all about asking for help, especially from God. I think us as humans have a hard time asking for help. Whether, because we feel ashamed or because we don't trust in God. I think this story reminded us to trust in God, that he has a plan for us and that we are not to worry. There is hope, even in difficult times. God will provide!
There is going to be the third book in the series, so of course the story just kind of "ends" but I am looking forward to the next book in the series! I am looking forward to further seeing how the characters develop and what happens to them.
Would I recommend this book?
Oh definitely! Fans of Downtown Abby and Pride & Prejudice will absolutely adore this novel! If you love romance, England, and books - you will love this!
I hope you enjoyed my review! Ok, can I also see this series made into a TV Series??! I think it would be perfect for PBS or BBC!
Have you read this or the first book in her series yet? If so, what did you think? Share in the comments!
You can purchase the book, HERE.
*NOTE - I was given this as a gift from Julie and Bethany House Publishing to review.