The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen


Jane Bell suddenly finds herself reluctant landlady of The Bell, a historic coaching inn in the quaint village of Ivy Hill. Jane is unsure why she was left the inn since she has no experience managing it and learns it has a substantial debt attached to it, a debt she is uncertain she will ever be able to repay. She hesitantly turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for assistance, hoping Thora’s experience managing the inn can save them. Thora has her own reasons for returning to Ivy Hill, but she did not expect to interact with two men from her past, nor did she expect the feelings they stir in her. As Jane and Thora are forced to work together to save the inn, they both learn new things about themselves and about their relationships with others.

I have always loved Julie Klassen’s novels due to the wonderful character depth, poignant scenes, and fascinating storylines. This is the author’s first installment in her first series and, due to this, I thought the storyline and character depth developed at a slower pace than her previous novels. It took me just a little longer to connect with the characters, but like all of her books, once I understood them better, I did indeed enjoy reading about them. This particular novel set up the stage well for subsequent books. The point of view in this book is interesting as it alternates only between two females, and I must say I missed the male perspective. I am greatly anticipating the next book and cannot wait to see how the characters continue to develop. Like all of Julie Klassen’s books, I recommend this novel!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

For the Record by Regina Jennings


Betsy Huckabee is motivated to submit articles to a big city newspaper in order to support her budding career as a writer. The only issue is that her sleepy town of Pine Gap, Missouri, does not have enough unique excitement to sell her stories. That is, until the dashing Deputy Joel Puckett arrives in town. His goal might be to establish the law and show the masked marauders who is boss, but he is surprised when a feisty female is the one who seems to be resisting his methods. As Betsy attempts to elaborate Joel’s attributes in order to sell stories, she soon realizes that her stories may harm those she loves and entangle her heart in a messy situation.

I like strong heroines in novels so I was excited to read this story, as Betsy has spirit and gumption to carry her through all sorts of adventures. Her independence, however, never overshadows her desire to help her family, a trait I can admire. There were several surprising twists and the villain in the story keeps you guessing. This particular novel can be read alone as the story develops entirely in this book. I expected a little more humor to the dialogue, but I did still enjoy the characters, the setting, and the overall plot. The main protagonists both grow up a little in the novel and I enjoyed watching their friendship and eventual romance develop. I recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and the generous author, Regina Jennings, in exchange for an honest review.