Julie Klassen has long enchanted readers with her ability to weave research, drama, and romance into enthralling tales of Regency-era England. However, the Tales from Ivy Hill marks Klassen's first foray into a full series.
While I have a few frustrations with the ending of The Bride of Ivy Green, overall, I am thrilled Klassen has stretched her talents into forum that allows for the full fleshing out of her locations and characters.
The Bride of Ivy Green fills the final spot in the Tales from Ivy Hill series. I had the pleasure of reading book 1 when it was released but somehow missed book 2's arrival. This is definitely a series that benefits from a thorough and chronological reading. There were definitely moments that were unnecessarily jarring due to missing a third of the story with book 2.
As for its own plot, Th Bride of Ivy Green seeks to see the stories of Jane Bell and Mercy Grove move to their newest conclusion while welcoming in the mysterious dressmaker Madame Victorine.
Honestly I loved how Klassen pushes these two characters in this series. Jane's fear of miscarriage is so real and the questions it brings into her relationship with Mr. Locke felt very natural concerning a topic and loss many still feel uncomfortable acknowledging. To see her arc of reconciliation within her family and her acceptance of herself was relatable, heartbreaking, and utterly sweet as she finds her peace.
Mercy's struggle felt very much in line with a Klassen novel as she seeks to find her way in life and with her heart. That said, it was no less satisfying to see Mercy wrestle through her new realities as life in Ivy Hill continued to change around her. Mercy has such a strength as a character as she sets her own path away from her family and leans into her faith. (and, slight spoiler, to see how her quiet service is met by the rallying of the town women was such a series highlight for me).
That leads me to two noticeable differences in this novel.
I found the faith content was much lighter in this novel vs others by Klassen in this era. While faith is still present it's in much more quiet moments.
Additionally, some of the stories felt as though they could easily continue on into a new novel What did Mr. Drake's decision mean for Mercy at the conclusion? How did Mrs Shabner get on with her new apprentice? This could be considered a strength of the series as a whole, however, Klassen has fashioned such a sweet little village and formed such stories and relationships that naturally flow out of it it almost seems off to say goodbye to Ivy Hill.
4 out of 5 stars
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."