Klassen, Julie. The Bride of Ivy Green. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2018.
Paperback | $15.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0764218170 | 444 pages | Christian Fiction/Regency Romance
Sometimes you just need a comfort read, and this was one of those times, with some stressful real life stuff going on, and feeling agitated with some of the other things I attempted to pick up for various reasons. So, I finally decided to soak into Julie Klassen’s most recent book and the conclusion of her Tales from Ivy Hill series, The Bride of Ivy Green.
And I received just the comfort and escape I craved. Despite it being over a year since I’ve spent time with these characters and I did find myself a bit fuzzy on some of the details of the last two books, I quickly was able to engross myself in their lives again. And I remembered why I looked forward to this one, because Mercy was a character I had rooted for since the beginning, and I was excited to see how she would overcome some of the obstacles in her way.
And she did so beautifully, especially in the face of an incredibly antagonistic sister-in-law, who along with her brother, played a major role in destroying the livelihood she had been so proud of in the last two books. And to see her become fulfilled again not just professionally, but also romantically was beautiful.
And Klassen once again crafts a love triangle that is so endearing in the fact that the characters are all such good people, or if they have made mistakes in the past, are working to atone for them. As with the prior books in the series, I had a feeling about who I wanted Mercy to end up with, but I could also see the merits in her other love interest as well.
And I loved the focus on reunited families in this book as well. Jane, for one, is on the verge of marrying Gabriel Locke, when she is reunited with her father, and it was great to see how things played out with the secrets of his other life coming out. And given his involvement in India and having formed a whole other life there, I appreciated that Klassen did her research, and wrote what (to my perspective at least) feels like well-rounded portrayals of Indian people and the complex relationship they had with England at the time.
There was also another instance of reunited family which was foreshadowed from the first book, coming to fruition with a story arc around a new arrival in Ivy Hill. I enjoyed seeing it play out, trying to figure out this newcomer’s connection to it all, although admittedly I would have figured it out a little faster if I had more recently read the other books and had the other puzzle pieces fresh in my mind.
This was a great conclusion to the series, concluding all the most relevant plot threads, but still leaving me feeling sad to leave them behind. And it definitely filled the void I was feeling for something that was heartwarming, but also featured a dash of intrigue. I would enthusiastically recommend this to other Regency and period piece fans, especially if you happy to love some of the works Klassen has compared this to, like Cranford,. Larkrise to Candleford, or Thrush Green.