Review–The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
Title: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
Series: Tales from Ivy Hill
Author: Julie Klassen
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Romance
Rating: 3/5 stars
Overview: A quaint English village featuring a struggling, recently widowed innkeeper? A grouchy mother-in-law who thinks she ought to rule the roost? I should have loved this book. And while I certainly didn’t dislike it, I also didn’t… like it. It was a slow read, and though it had its moments, it ultimately fell rather flat for me.
Characters: I think the characters are why the book felt so off. There were three POV characters, and I’m still not sure which one is supposed to be the protagonist. Rachel’s storyline was the most interesting to me, but Jane’s the title character, and yet Thora has the most prominent arc. So… yeah. That being said, I like each of the POV characters. Jane was somewhat bland; she had little going for her that helped her stand out from everyone else. But she was sweet, and I was rooting for her happy ending. Thora was more interesting, with her brusque, no-nonsense personality. But I was also a little confused by her actions. Does she like this guy or not? Is she mad at Jane or not? I wish there had been more of Rachel. I wanted to know a lot more about what happened between her, Jane, and Sir Timothy. There was a lot of rich backstory there that would have been so much fun to dig into.
Content: A couple of characters kiss (one is semi-detailed). Characters wonder about the romantic lives of their neighbors. One minor character had a baby out of wedlock in the past. A character briefly wonders if her husband cheated on her. A woman suffers a miscarriage, causing another character to remember her own miscarriages. Some characters make suggestive comments. Two characters get into a fight.
Writing: I have a rule that, barring unusual circumstances, I won’t judge an author until I read three books by said author. This is my third Klassen novel, and I can now state that her writing style doesn’t really work for me. This book was somewhat confusing, especially with how the characters related with one another. Jane has three potential love interests, Thora has two, Rachel has two… And I’m over here just wanting to see these characters find their man and get married by the end of the novel. There’s also a lot of unnecessary filler scenes that don’t add much to the story. Suffice it to say, the book dragged.
Summary: I didn’t dislike this book; really, I didn’t. It was cute, and Ivy Hill would be a delightful place to visit. But by the end of the book, I really didn’t care about the characters. Sure, I wanted them to be happy, but even if they weren’t, it wouldn’t have mattered. In short, this book failed to touch me. There’s just too much going on that makes it hard to get invested in the storyline. It’s a good, clean read for ages 16+, but it’s not one I see myself rereading.