Klassen, Julie. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-0-7642-1815-6. $15,99 USD.
Julie Klassen is one of the rare authors who has never ceased to disappoint me, and I am always left with a pang that there is usually a year to wait for the next release. Even when she diverted from her usual “formula” of stand-alone historical romance with the first installment in Tales from Ivy Hill, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, her practice of bringing some of what readers of classics like Austen and Bronte love to modern audiences remains. And the same can be said of this installment, which offers a riveting plot with a lot of twists and turns, and more fun adventures with the memorable characters from the first installment.
One thing I love about this series is that it is not immediately obvious who the couples are, and whether they end up together, with the pairing of Thora and Talbot being a happy surprise at the end of the first book. Instead, we spend more time with the women and the focus is just as much on their interactions with each other as with any romantic interests in their lives. While who Rachel ends up with is definitely much more expected, the way their story does parallel to what is arguably Austen’s most powerful novel lends gravitas to the narrative.
And while Rachel gets her happy ending, I was left with eagerness for both Mercy and Jane to find happiness, especially as Jane has dealt with the hardships of losing her husband and having several miscarriages. And I am also curious to know how things will progress for Mercy, with her livelihood on the line. It is hinted that she is in love with someone, but I am curious how that will end up? Will she end up with him or with the suitor her parents have picked out for her?