About the Book
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. 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.
But 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?
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“An Ivy Hill Christmas” by Julie Klassen is a companion novella to her “Tales from Ivy Hill” trilogy. It can also be read as a standalone. I have absolutely loved her “Tales from Ivy Hill” novels! They remind me of the show “Lark Rise to Candleford” or any show with a small, English village set in the country where all the residents know one another. I became so invested in Ms. Klassen’s characters that I was so delighted to hear I would be able to visit Ivy Hill once more through this novella.
This book is everything a lover of Regency stories would want in a Christmas novella. It includes all the traditions and customs of the time and just has that “olde Christmas” feel to it. I was delighted to once again meet some of my favorite characters and get to know some new ones. My Jane Austen loving heart was excited to pick up hints or nods to “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma” throughout Ms. Klassen’s novella. Of course, Ms. Klassen always includes beautiful sentiments and lessons. This story has lessons on forgiveness and on learning that a person is valuable and significant just as they are.
The characters of “An Ivy Hill Christmas” are well done, and I did not feel like the story was too rushed, as is often the case with novellas. I especially love Richard, our main character. I appreciated his transformation from a bit of a “bad boy” bachelor to a sweet and caring man. Of course, there is romance and a bit of a love triangle as well. I honestly went back and forth on who I wanted Richard to end up with.
I invite you to grab some mulled cider, your favorite blanket, start a warm fire and cozy up with this book. You will be transported to an idyllic country village during a 19th century Christmas.
Content: This book is pretty much a clean read. Some examples of the content are: people drink alcohol and smoke pipes; someone curses, but the words aren’t actually written; mention of a woman’s bosom; a man had a mistress; a person has a past of sleeping with women before marriage; a boy is physically abused.
Rating: I give this book 5 Christmas bells.
I want to thank Julie Klassen, Bethany House, NetGalley and Celebrate Lit for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
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 standalone, 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 skillfully 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.