The cover of An Ivy Hill Christmas sold me. While my daughters are enormous fans of Julie Klassen, I had not read anything by her. However, the festive air of snow on hedges, evergreen boughs, a manor house, and a gentleman… well, who wouldn’t be impressed?
By the time the book arrived, I couldn’t remember what it was about, so I read the back. Ugh. As you may surmise from the synopsis, Richard Brockwell did not impress me. Though I love a good character growth arc as much as the next person, come on! I felt like I was about to embark on reading about Jane Austen’s reprobate, Wickham, coming home for Christmas. Blech.
Thankfully, I was wrong.
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A Regency Christmas to Delight Your Heart
Combining excellent characterization, sincere, effective faith elements without becoming preachy, and a story you want to savor, Julie Klassen ensured that my first book of hers will not be my last.
While Regency novels can be tiresomely predictable, not all are. In some ways, this one is no different. However, despite my saying that, there is nothing tiresome about An Ivy Hill Christmas. Instead, we’re treated to a realistic look at Regency nobility–all their faults and virtues.
One of the best things about this book is that despite being a novella, the story has rich layers that provide depth to a story that a weaker writer couldn’t have delivered. Brava! Indeed, characters are multi-faceted and while flawed, not irredeemable. The cast of characters is large without being cumbersome, and the author does credit to each one.
No, really. She does.
Although there were a few small things that I questioned historically, I doubt anyone would notice, and I suspect I am likely wrong. I didn’t look them up. Frankly, the story was so good and they were so minor that I didn’t care.
Thrilled to have been provided a review copy, I toss a delighted five stars like confetti without compulsion of any kind. In fact, I bought my own Kindle copy because it was on sale for just $1.59. Recommended for lovers of Austen, lovers of good historical fiction, and for lovers of fiction that “shows” the truth of Scripture in action instead of yammering on about it.
An Ivy Hill Christmas is on tour with Celebrate Lit
Book: An Ivy Hill Christmas
Author: Julie Klassen
Genre: Christmas Historical Romance
Release Date: September 2020
Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. Though he prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes.
But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.
However, Christmas in the country presents many surprises, including encounters with an orphaned apprentice, the first love he disappointed years ago, and Arabella Awdry, a young lady who is far more appealing than he recalled–and determined to have nothing to do with him.
Will Christmastime in Ivy Hill, with its village charm, kissing boughs, and joyous songs, change his heart . . . and hers as well?
About the Author
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for 16 years and now writes full-time. Her novels have sold over 1 million copies, and 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 a 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.
More from Julie
My fascination with England began as a girl when I read The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre, and watched A Christmas Carol. I have now been to Great Britain several times, and my affection for the place has only grown. I love the country villages with their stone buildings and thatched roofs, the narrow, winding roads (though not driving on them), the ancient churches, friendly people, plummy accents, and history. Writing fifteen novels set there has been a real pleasure.
An Ivy Hill Christmas includes all the elements of an idyllic Olde English yuletide: A charming village setting, snowfall, mistletoe, caroling, gifts for less fortunate neighbors, and festive gatherings of friends and family.
I thoroughly enjoyed researching 19th century Christmas traditions and weaving them into this novella.
In the story, a confirmed bachelor is determined to remain aloof from the celebrations going on around him—and from his mother’s matchmaking schemes. But divine hope, friendship, and unexpected romance change his heart…and his mind.
I love a transformation story; don’t you?
If you’ve read the TALES FROM IVY HILL series, you will enjoy returning to the village and spending time with favorite characters. But rest assured, the novella is a stand alone, meaning you can enjoy it whether or not you’ve read the other books, as these reviews attest:
“[A] standalone novella that not only beautifully captures the kindness, hope, love, and faith of Christmas but also skilfully evokes the period holiday atmosphere of Regency England.” —Booklist
“This feel-good tale of love and redemption will delight Klassen’s fans and new readers alike.” —Publishers Weekly
And if you like the novella, I think you will like the other books as well.
An Ivy Hill Christmas would also make a lovely gift for a reading friend.
Finally, if you want to add a British flair to your own modern-day celebrations, buy (or make) mince tarts or Christmas pudding, place Christmas “crackers” (pull-apart gift tubes) on your table and wear the included paper crowns. Refer to Father Christmas instead of Santa; and instead of “Merry,” wish everyone a hearty, “Happy Christmas.”
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To celebrate her tour, Julie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of An Ivy Hill Christmas and the other three books in the Ivy Hill series, plus the winner’s choice of Bingley’s Tea!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.