About the Book
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. 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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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.”
Not only is this the first book I’ve read in the Tales from Ivy Hill series, it also appears to be the first novel I’ve read by Julie Klassen, although I have definite plans to read more of her work in the near future. It should be noted that this book can be read as a standalone, with no difficulty in understanding the plot or identifying the characters, since Klassen tactfully introduces them. In many cases, Regency stories are usually a turn-off for me, particularly if they are romances, and I am numbered among the seemingly rare few who is not a great fan of Jane Austen’s books. They are just not, personally, my cup of tea. However, I did love this novella!
With the perfect blend of social concern and spiritual well-being, An Ivy Hill Christmas makes a wonderful book for a snowy afternoon. On the frontispiece, there is a black-and-white map of Ivy Hill to give readers a mental image of where some of the story’s main locations are in relationship to one another. But as the village remains close-knit, the residents of Brockwell Court do not. Most notably, Richard Brockwell is nearly 30 years old and lives as a rakish bachelor in London, enjoying himself and fitting into an archetype of a young Ebenezer Scrooge who thinks of no one but himself. “Richard was, he knew, a selfish creature. A person could not change his nature, his very heart, could he? He thought not.” Coerced into returning to Brockwell Court for the Christmas holidays, he vows to remain firm against his mother’s desire for him to marry and settle down into a respectable life. Until the Christmas guests arrive, and Arabella Awdry steps through the door.
This is a character-driven novel, and it is the secondary characters whom I find to be the most entertaining and insightful. Wally, the little terrier, stole my heart immediately, particularly with how Richard dresses him up each day. Pickering, Richard’s steward, has a dry sort of humor that I find surprising and at times hilarious. Richard’s brother and sister-in-law manage Brockwell Court compassionately and efficiently, a task Richard has no desire to become responsible for as the second son. However, the more he sees acts of kindness performed toward the less fortunate in conjunction with the fate of a childhood friend, the more he begins to look beyond himself to see the world of need that exists. He is struck by the thought “That the heavenly Father would willingly send His Son into a harsh, fallen, and dangerous world? Astounding.” From that launching point, he finds the motivation and inspiration to confront and seek to rectify injustice, surprising himself along the way and prodding us, too, into action. No gift of kindness is too small when it comes from a heart reflecting the Savior’s love.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥
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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.