Wednesday, December 27, 2017

"The Ladies of Ivy Cottage" by Julie Klassen

About this book:

  “Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?
  Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls' school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.
  Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return--but where is he?
  As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?”

Series: Book #2 in the “Tales from Ivy Hill” series. Review of the first book Here!

Spiritual Content- John 21:25 at the beginning; A few Scriptures are remembered; Prayers; Singing a hymn; Church going & a sermon; Talks about God; ‘H’s are capital when referring to God; Rachel feels uncomfortable asking God or anyone for help *Spoiler* but near the end asks God to forgive her *End of Spoiler*; Mentions of God; Mentions of thanking & praising God; Mentions of prayers, praying, & blessings over food; Mentions of a cathedral, churches, church going, a reverend/vicar, services, & sermons; Mentions of Heaven; Mentions of blessings & being blessed; A few mentions of Bibles & Bible reading; A few mentions of Christians & faiths; A few mentions of a hymn; A mention of a godsend; A couple mentions of sins;
             *Note: Mentions of (what some people believe is) a witch; A couple mentions of a group of people raising altars to a type of food; A mention of something being devilishly hard to clean; A mention of a man being devilishly charming.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a form of ‘dumb’, an ‘idiot’, a ‘thunder and turf!’, and three ‘dashed’s; A couple mentions of curses (said, not written); A bit of eye rolling; Mentions of deaths & unnatural deaths; Mentions of someone lost at sea; Mentions of injuries, pain, & blood/bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of thieves, thefts, & stolen items; Mentions of vandalism & vandals; Mentions of debts & gambling; Mentions of alcohol, drinking, & drunks; Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of rumors & gossip; Mentions of poaching, hunting, & shooting; A few mentions of prisons/jails; A few mentions of smoking, cigars, & pipes; A few mentions of jealousy; A few mentions of hanging meat & dead animals for food (barely-above-not-detailed); A couple mentions of mounted animal heads as décor; A mention of using pigskin bladders for an invention.

Sexual Content- two hand/wrist kisses, a cheek kiss, an almost kiss, a barely-above-not-detailed kiss, a semi-detailed kiss, and two detailed kisses; Wanting to be kissed (twice, up to semi-detailed); Touches, Embraces, Warmth, & Hand Holding (up to semi-detailed); Smelling (barely-above-not-detailed); Blushes; Noticing (x3); Noticing men’s muscles (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of a man and woman having a child together, but not being married (he says it was his fault); Mentions of a man being involved with a chambermaid & her being ill-used prior (she ends up pregnant; he says he’s not solely to blame and that she came to him); Mentions of wondering if a woman is a man’s paramour or if she was involved with another man; Mentions of a married man who kept a mistress & his adultery; Mentions of illegitimate children; Mentions of people thinking a woman is a prostitute (she’s not); Mentions of a woman working as a maid at a brothel; Mentions of scandals, reputations, & opposite genders being left alone with chaperones; Mentions of staring & being smitten by a pretty face; Mentions of flirting; Mentions of blushes; Mentions of romance books; A few mentions of not being ready (or being ready) to share a bed with a man; A few mentions of kissing & gathering someone in your arms; A few mentions of wedding trips/honeymoons; A few mentions of touches & embraces; A few mentions of jealousy; A couple mentions of married couples kissing; A mention of a man having a hard time keeping his hands off of a woman; A mention of women ogling men; Love, falling in love, & the emotions (x2);
             *Note: Remembering a miscarriage & bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of miscarriages, stillbirths, the pain of losing children, & not being able to have children; A few mentions of a wife & baby dying in childbirth; A few mentions of a mother dying with childbed fever; A few mentions of wet nurses; A couple mentions of a girl’s dress flattering her figure; A mention of a dress revealing a girl’s thin bosom; A mention of lower necklines on popular dresses; A mention of a woman pulling coins out of her bodice; A mention of a woman keeping her valuables (coins, jewelry, etc.) in her bodice & being asked if her husband agrees; A mention of butting into a conversation.

-Rachel Ashford
-Jane Bell
-Mercy Grove, age 30
                                P.O.V. switches between them & Thora
                                            Set in 1820
                                                        445 pages

Pre Teens-
New Teens-
Early High School Teens-

Older High School Teens-

My personal Rating-

Like I said in the final thoughts of the first book in this series, Julie Klassen has always been a book-by-book author for me; meaning I have to know the book cover or read the actual book to find out about the content.
This one?
While overall clean, there were such comments I didn’t like and thought that they didn’t need to be added.
My main problem, however, was keeping up with all the characters. It’s been nearly a year since I first read the first book, and oh boy, there’s a ton of characters to keep up with.
At first, I wasn’t a fan of Rachel or Jane, but I really liked Mercy’s parts. It was fun to see non-reader Rachel turn into a reader. I wasn’t necessarily a fan of how Rachel had three males interested in her at times, but then the men would divert their attention to one of our other main ladies. Made those boys look like they were trying to figure out who they each liked best or were too friendly for the historical time period. And in all honest, I didn’t really like any of them. At one point or another, they each took turns feeling like a cad (okay, really only two of the four/five had their cad moments) to me. There were quite a few parts that seemed inaccurate for the time period this novel was set in. I’ll admit I was disappointed with all the birth secrets/illegitimate children plot lines. I can see one, but it seemed very common in this book with these characters and their families. I think it could have been something else and not an easy out like that.
There’s just so many plots going on in this large novel that made this book feel daunting to read. Maybe it would have helped reading these books back-to-back, but really wasn’t an enjoyable as I remembering the first book being.

See y’all on Friday with a new review!

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Publisher (Bethany House) for this honest review.

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