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. Read more...
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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?
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-11-14
- Reviewer: Staff
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 Thoras struggle to save their heritage. Readers are left to wonder which of Thoras 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 Painters Daughter) draws readers into the deceptively quiet English countryside of Austens 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. Agent: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such (Dec.)