Happy New Year & The Ladies Of Ivy Cottage A book review

Hello friends. Happy New Year!
It is bitterly cold here in the mountains today and that is the forecast for the entire week.    It is the perfect  time to stay in a read a good book!

Julie Klassen has written a lovely book based in historic England.  It is a romance but has many levels of interest apart from that as well.  The lovely ladies experience many conflicting turbulent situations that test their faith and their friendship. Can you trust God  to work for your good even in the midst of scandal, death, pain, separation, and doubts?  The Ladies lead the way in this engaging tale.

Rachel Ashford  has lost her home after a terrible scandal and her father's death.  She finds herself seeking charity from her friends and her community.  The idea comes that using her father's beloved books, her only inheritance, that she might find a way to support herself through a subscription library. She must depend upon the benevolence of others to bring it pass.  She must also deal with the man that she loved who walked away from her in her darkest time.

Mercy owns her home, or so she believes, and after opening a charity school has taken Rachel in and given over part of her home for the library, and as a residence for Rachel to share with Aunt Mathilda and the students who now  board with her.  Young Alice, thought to soon be an orphan, is placed in her care.  After bonding with the child, another steps forward to claim the child , breaking her heart, and opening old wounds.  Mercy's parents especially her formidable mother, come in during the worst of her distress and announces she must wed the teacher she has brought in tow or lose the school, the child, the library,  and her freedom or give over all , to her now engaged brother.

Jane now runs The Bell, an inn, after the loss of her husband John. Many occurrences crop up and her silent painful grief from the past comes back to break her heart anew.  Finding solace only beyond the far cemetery wall, her journey takes her there and back again including the reappearance of a man who had shattered her heart with lies of omission, but who alone,  might also offer her a way out of her lonely grief.

Sir Timothy, who loved Rachel but bowed to family pressures and the need to fill his father's shoes finds himself longing once again to pursue Rachael,  only to face another suitor who seeks her hand, and a mysterious woman from the past that shatters all his preconceived notions of his father, and the way a man of the manor ought to live.

Each one of the characters in this book is challenged in unexpected ways.  Each one is tied to the in heart strings of conflict and a lack of vision.   The houses themselves have a life of their own, and the ladies united together in love and friendship form a bond that ties them all together.  Adultery, scandal, grief, gossip, and many other unkind activities seem to thwart their efforts to support each other within the strict expectations of their society.

It is a very good book, albeit with a sluggish beginning.  It took me several chapters to get into the gist of the story,  but after a bit, I did find myself eager to see the next events unfold.  It is always a welcome refreshment to find a book without profanity, and the details of English life, as well as coach, clothing, and village ties were very descriptive.  I would recommend it if you enjoy historical settings and characters.

Bethany House, the publisher,  provided this copy to me.  The opinions are my own, there was no other compensation given.

At this time of year there are always new things to look forward to, and new places to go and see as well.  We may look back with regrets to the past year but we should always look to the coming days with expectant hope for good. It is a terrible thing to lose today in the pain of yesterday.  Look for the good, seek it out, believe it for your life and find joy in simple .  I wish you peace and many blessings from my mountain home.


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