Saturday, January 5, 2019

Review: "The Bride of Ivy Green" by Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen's delightful Tales from Ivy Hill series concludes with The Bride of Ivy Green, a book I simply couldn't put down!

(I'm not kidding: I started reading at 7 p.m. and didn't quit until I finished the book at 1:15 a.m.)

Come home to Ivy Hill, where friendship endures, romance triumphs, and mysteries are revealed in this eagerly anticipated conclusion ...

Spring is in the air...and change is, too. Mercy Grove has lost her girls' school and is reigned to life as a spinster, especially as the man she admires is out of reach. She contemplates leaving Ivy Cottage to become a governess—a decision with consequences she never imagined.

Meanwhile, her friend Jane Bell is facing a difficult decision of her own. Should she accept Gabriel Locke even if it means giving up her inn and destine another man to a childless marriage?

When a secretive new dressmaker arrives in the village, Mercy, Jane, and the other ladies of Ivy Hill attempt to befriend her, but they soon suspect she isn't who she claims to be.

Together, the women of Ivy Hill look forward to one wedding, but surprises lie in store and dearly held dreams may yet come true.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating: the Tales from Ivy Hill series is perfect for fans of gentle period pieces like Cranford and Lark Rise to Candleford. This series, which focuses on several woman living in Ivy Hill, is sweet, gentle, and completely addicting.

The Bride of Ivy Green is the third and final book in the series (and you really do need to read the series in order, as each novel builds on the last). It's told from the perspectives of four women: Mercy Grove, whose life is turned upside-down by the arrival of her brother and his wife (think Austen's John & Fanny Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility); Jane Bell, owner of The Bell Inn, who is in love with Gabriel Locke but not sure if she is strong enough for another marriage; Rachel, Lady Brockwell after finally marrying Sir Timothy, who is now intent on seeing her sister-in-law Justina marry for love, not duty; and newcomer Victorine, the dressmaker with a mysterious past who opens a shop in Ivy Hill.

The women experience unexpected joys and sorrows as they continue living their lives in Ivy Hill. Of all the stories, Mercy's was the one that most interested me; she broke off a relationship in the second book and seemed to be building something with Joseph Kingsley, though he considered himself to be below her station. But then another suitor entered the mix, once who could give Mercy's nearly all of her dreams. The trajectory of Mercy's life drastically changed throughout the novel, and I loved watching her navigate everything.

I also enjoyed continuing Jane's story, and I loved how Mercy's Aunt Matty's life intertwined with Jane's in an unexpected way.

The one aspect I didn't totally love about this novel was Victorine. She was fine, but her story didn't interest me nearly as much as Justina's story did, yet Victorine got much more page time.

Overall, this is a wonderful conclusion to the series; while "Happily Ever Afters" abound, not every story is tied up with a neat bow, and I appreciated that real-life feeling. Honestly, I'm a little bit jealous of readers who haven't begun the series yet, as I think reading the three novels back-to-back would be an even more enjoyable experience! 4-1/2 stars.

Note: If you've read Klassen's The Dancing Master, look for a fun cameo by Alec and Julia!

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Klassen's The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (5 stars), The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (5 stars), The Painter's Daughter (5 stars), The Apothecary's Daughter (3-1/2 stars), The Maid of Fairbourne Hall (4-1/2 stars), The Tutor's Daughter (5 stars), The Dancing Master (4-1/2 stars), and The Secret of Pembrooke Park (4 stars).

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. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards and ACFW's Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from the author and Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This mean that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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