About the book
The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.
Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?
As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?
Visit talesfromivyhill.com to find a map of the village, character profiles, a book giveaway, and more!
5 QUESTIONS FOR ...AUTHOR JULIE KLASSEN
This book marks the beginning of your first series. After ten stand-alone novels, why a series?
Two reasons. First, I often receive e-mails from readers asking for sequels, or saying they don’t want a book to end. Sometimes I don’t either! After setting up an entire village and populating it with a cast of characters, it’s hard to say good-bye after one book. I am looking forward to staying in the same village for at least three books, going deeper with the main characters, and bringing more characters to life. Second, many readers (myself included) love village series set in England whether in books or television. Series like Larkrise to Candleford, Cranford, and Thrush Green draw us in with their close-knit communities filled with endearing characters. Or maybe it’s just the British accents! Whatever the reason, I hope readers will enjoy my first series as well.
Book one releases this month. Can you briefly describe it?
Sure. In The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, a genteel widow becomes the reluctant landlady of a languishing coaching inn when her husband dies. Jane Bell has no idea how to manage a business. But with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn. As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, Jane restores life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well.
What is one small, unexpected fun fact you discovered in your research?
I found the lives of Royal Mail guards interesting. They were dashing in their red coats, armed with a timepiece to keep to their tight schedules and a “blunderbuss” to fight off highwaymen, and many learned to play turns on the horns they used to sound warnings, in hopes of earning bigger tips.
Was there a scene in the book that was your favorite to write?
There is a fun scene in which gentlewoman Jane tries to fill feather beds for the first time, and ends up with white feathers flying all over the inn courtyard. Several older village women come to her rescue, running around like girls trying to catch snowflakes before they fall to the ground.
You’ve been writing books for about ten years now. What would you say is your favorite thing about being an author?
I love several things. Two favorites would be listening to the audio versions of my books when they come out (Recorded Books hires such talented British narrators) and hearing from readers who’ve enjoyed or been touched by my books.
JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Her books have been honored with the Christy Award for Historical Romance, the Minnesota Book Award, and the Midwest Book Award, among others. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill Blog Tour Schedule
December 5: Author Q&A on Pemberley to Milton
December 6: Excerpt on My Love for Jane Austen
December 8: Review on Laura's Reviews
December 9: Book Spotlight on More Agreeably Engaged
December 10: Review on A Bookish Way of Life
December 11: Review and Excerpt on Delighted Reader Book Reviews
December 12: British Show Inspiration Guest Post on Living Read Girl
December 13: Historical Background Guest Post on English Historical Fiction Authors
December 14: Review on Calico Critic
December 15: Excerpt on So Little Time
December 16: Review and Author Q&A on My Jane Austen Book Club
December 17: Review on Just Jane 1813
December 18: Excerpt on Babblings of a Book Worm
December 19: Review on Austenesque Reviews
December 20: Guest Post on Jane Austen in Vermont
Be sure to enter the giveaway before you leave — the winner will receive a $20 Teavana gift card and a package of four inspirational British romances from four different eras (The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen, A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell, The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White, Not by Sight by Kate Breslin). The winner will be notified on December 22.