Book Review: The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage
Tales from Ivy Hill #2
by Julie Klassen

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Historical Christian fiction

In this return to the village of Ivy Hill, we shift focus a bit to Rachel Ashford, who has recently been removed from her family home and is now living in Ivy Cottage with the two Miss Groves, who run a girls’ school in the cottage. Rachel isn’t much of a teacher, but she also has no income and wants to contribute to the household. Thanks to some advice and a lot of help, she opens a subscription library. Unfortunately, neither the library nor the girls’ school may last when Mercy, the younger Miss Grove, is given an ultimatum that will likely result in the loss of her way of life, not to mention her plans for the future, no matter which choice she makes.

It’s a little difficult to boil this book down to a succinct summary, because there’s so much going on. I believe Rachel Ashford’s POV is shown the most, with Mercy Groves second, but Jane Bell, the main character from the previous book, might have as much “screen time” as Mercy. While we do see a continuation of Jane’s story, the fate of the two younger women of Ivy Cottage is definitely the focus of the book. The downside to all of this is that it can get a little difficult to keep everyone and their situations (and their suitors) straight. When perspectives changed, it was always made clear soon enough which character’s head we were in, but sometimes I had to take a moment to remember what the story was with the current character. Not to mention which man/men was/were possibly interested in her.

That aside, however, I really enjoyed my time spent in Ivy Hill. So much so that when the book was finished, I felt a little bit of loss, which is not a common thing for me after finishing a book. Though some storylines were tied up in this book, there is clearly more to come, and I particularly want to see where Mercy’s story goes. I anticipate another difficult decision ahead for her. I continue to appreciate that, while there certainly is some romance in this book, it’s not a focal point. One thing that could be a detractor, though, is that there are an awful lot of illegitimate relationships uncovered in this book. If you’re a fan of historical Christian fiction, keep that in mind when considering this book. I do recommend it, and am looking forward to finishing the series.

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