The Ladies Of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen is a most delightful Christian historical romance. It is the second book in the Tales From Ivy Hill series but can be read as a stand-alone. I enjoyed reuniting with familiar faces.
The Ladies Of Ivy Cottage is quintessentially English. Set in 1820 near Salisbury, the reader really loses themselves in English village life. With references to Jane Austen, the book had a Pride And Prejudice feel to it – with strong young women and rich young men, the reader cannot help but match-make. There was even a hint of Charles Dickens as one character reminded me of Miss Havisham, frozen in time.
The young women are forward thinkers for their day with philanthropic hearts. Although they already educate a handful of girls, there is the desire to open “a school to educate… regardless of the ability to pay.” With education comes freedom and choice.
Books open up hearts and minds to new possibilities. The idea of a library for all is another innovation.
The women, as well as being independent, live their lives with open hands and hearts. When they see a need, they pull together to meet it. They give out of their poverty not their riches.
The ancient class system was very much alive, although there were steps being taken to erode it.
There is the theme of taking care of the widows and orphans. Where suffering can be alleviated, it is.
Children are seen as blessings no matter how they were conceived. There are themes of single mothers, miscarriage and loss. They are all sympathetically portrayed.
The Ladies Of Ivy Cottage is a read that steps back in time to a quieter pace of life. Age old themes are the same, as is a trust in God. Prayer is powerful. “From your lips to God’s ear.” Life is lived with one eye on eternity. “A woman of faith who looked forward to an eternity in heaven.”
I adored this book. As an English woman, I thought Julie Klassen had completely captured the English village atmosphere and charm. With comprehensive descriptions, I ‘travelled’ my way through the story.
A totally charming read.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.