The Innkeeper’s Daughter, by Michelle Griep

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown

Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

First Thoughts:

Strangely enough, the overview reminded me of the poem, The Highwayman, written by Alfred Noyes. I’m fairly certain, however, that there’s a happier ending to come in this novel. Continue reading


Until We Find Home, by Cathy Gohlke

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing—spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends—has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.

First Thoughts:

I’ve read two other novels by Cathy Gohlke, and I gave both five stars. I’m hoping to be wowed again. Continue reading

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, by Julie Klassen

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Return to Ivy Hill as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold . . .

A gentlewoman in reduced circumstances, Miss Rachel Ashford lives as a guest in Ivy Cottage. With her meager funds rapidly depleting, she is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. Her friend Jane Bell and the other village women encourage her to open a circulating library with the many books she’s inherited from her father. As villagers donate additional books and Rachel begins sorting through the volumes, she discovers mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but both find more than they bargained for.

Rachel’s hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and finds fulfillment in managing her girls school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what–or whom–has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.

First Thoughts:

I loved Julie Klassen’s previous book, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to read and review The Ladies of Ivy Cottage.

My Take:

Julie Klassen’s debut series continues with a book focusing on two spinsters who run a small girls’ school and their friend. These women, first introduced in The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, are considered past their prime when it comes to marriage eligibility but each has a reason for their singleness. But could their romantic fortunes be changing?

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is the second book of the Tales from Ivy Hill series, and I definitely recommend reading the book one before starting it. Ivy Cottage starts almost immediately after the culmination of events in previous book, and there are plenty of references to these events. Almost all the characters featured were introduced previously and this novel focuses on their efforts to break free from their pasts. There are also poignant looks at the loss of family members and the process of getting old.

Of course, my British upbringing means, when it comes to British-based fiction, I often notice that which most readers would not. I think Klassen possibly muddled two historical Wiltshire locations. In one chapter she describes a visit to a place called Old Sarum, “or ‘Stonehenge’ as some call it. Old Sarum is the remains of a medieval settlement, but the narrative clearly describes Stonehenge which is known for its prehistoric stone circle.

I’m disappointed that it appears the Ivy Hill series will end after the next book. Since it’s been compared to The Thrush Green series by Miss Read and the Mitford series by Jan Karon (both of which contain multiple novels), I had expected more than just three books. Regardless, I am looking forward to The Bride of Ivy Green which will be released in December 2018.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, which I received for my honest review.

Have you read The Ladies of Ivy Cottage? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.


Author Q and A

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 05 December 2017

Page Count: 448

Read more on:   Bethany House’s Website   Julie Klassen’s Website   Tales From Ivy Hill

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million