Tag Archives: Christmas

An Ivy Hill Christmas Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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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?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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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.”

Happy Christmas!

My Review

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 ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 30

Christian Bookaholic, November 30

Andrea Christenson, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 1

KarenSueHadley, December 1

Robin’s Nest, December 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 1

Blessed & Bookish, December 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2

Mia Reads, December 2

Wishful Endings, December 3

lakesidelivingsite, December 3

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

For Him and My Family, December 3

Just Your Average reviews, December 3

She Lives To Read, December 4

Remembrancy, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 4

Writing from the Heart Land, December 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 5

Quiet Workings, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Spoken from the Heart, December 5

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

Connect in Fiction, December 6

Artistic Nobody, December 6 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Worthy2Read, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 7

Life of Literature, December 7

For the Love of Literature, December 8

Connie’s History Classroom, December 8

Batya’s Bits, December 8

Labor Not in Vain, December 8

Hallie Reads, December 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Older & Smarter?, December 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 9

Betti Mace, December 9

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Faery Tales Are Real, December 10

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 11

Splashes of Joy, December 11

Vicky Sluiter, December 12

To Everything There Is A Season, December 12

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 12

Blossoms and Blessings, December 12

The Write Escape, December 12

A Baker’s Perspective, December 13

Bizwings Blog, December 13

Simple Harvest Reads, December 13 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, December 13

Giveaway

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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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/103f5/an-ivy-hill-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Christmas Carol Society Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Christmas Carol Society

Author: Rebekah Jones

Genre: Holiday Fiction, Christian Fiction

Release Date: October 30, 2019

Christmas Carol Society – How Do You Impersonate a Christmas Ghost?

The Christmas season has arrived. The members of the newly-formed Christmas Carol Society are beginning their weekly meetings. Charlie Baker finds the first meeting odd enough, but when the assignments start, he has to wonder why he allowed himself to get roped into attending. Miss Dartmoor tells her members to impersonate the Ghost of Christmas Past for their own personal Scrooge.

Just how does a mere human accomplish such an absurd task? Charlie tries to figure it out, but begins to see the Lord might plan for the assignments to have a deeper impact on him than he expected.

An impact that Charlie isn’t sure he wants to face.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories.

Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.

More from Rebekah Jones

Christmas Carol Society is a book very near and dear to my heart. Partly because of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, which is among my favorites, and partly due to my characters. Especially, Charlie Baker.

Charlie is very special to me. He wants to hide in his tiny corner of the world, and give up. He wants to give up on a world that has hurt him tremendously or taken people he loved. He wants to push away any possibility of repeating the past; he doesn’t want to be hurt again.

Charlie doesn’t want to join the Christmas Carol Society. He doesn’t want to find a “Scrooge.” He doesn’t want to make new friends. He doesn’t want to do any of it.

He joins because he loves his cousin. He doesn’t do it for any other reason.

His father encourages him to do it right, if he’s going to do it at all. His cousin calls him out, when his Christianity is at odds with his behavior. And Albert, his would-be friend, just doesn’t give up on him.

In a sense, Charlie is a Scrooge – and yet, he’s not. He has to find a Scrooge of his own. And through it, he finds himself doing all the things that he really doesn’t want to do at all – and it’s a good thing. Painful sometimes, but good. Scary at times, but good.

The characters that the LORD uses to teach me the most, end up being particularly special to me. Charlie is one of them. In some ways, I relate to Charlie rather a lot, and writing this story drove me to prayer often, so I would know what to do next. I frequently wasn’t sure where the story would go. But I learned along with Charlie.

I hope that my readers will love Charlie Baker as much as I do, and that his story, along with the others in this book, will in some way bless and encourage my readers for the LORD’s glory.

To the KING be all the glory!

My Review

It’s easy to label someone a Scrooge or a villain. It isn’t as easy to remember beyond the stereotype to the human behind the label, even when we know A Christmas Carol back to front.

Charles Dickens is one of my favorite authors, and A Christmas Carol is subsequently among my favorite holiday stories. Having come across countless adaptations in both film and literature, it would seem to be one of those tales that has become too cliched to hold up to the scrutiny of another retelling. However, Rebekah Jones has proven this to be false with her novel Christmas Carol Society, which I enjoyed just as much as (if not a bit more than!) the original classic.

A contemporary novel, Christmas Carol Society nonetheless exudes a timelessness supported by the author’s old-fashioned turn of phrase, which only enhanced my enjoyment of this tale. Jones has written a story that is easily identified with its Dickens namesake yet also distinctive enough to stand on its own. Protagonist Charlie Baker is a reluctant member of the Christmas Carol Society, an eclectic group of individuals tasked with emulating the spirits of Christmas for the Scrooge in each of their lives. Quirky characters make the narrative even more entertaining, yet at its core this story is poignant and thought-provoking. The author takes readers through a well-formulated literary analysis of A Christmas Carol through the eyes of her characters as events unfold. While some are clearly parallels to Dickens’ characters, others stand on their own merit. I feel that I identify the most with Charlie because of his introversion, faith, and quiet nature. Those qualities are challenged in Albert’s extroverted personality and serve as the basis for his own spiritual journey.

This variation on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is fitting for any season because its lessons are immutable. As Charlie remarks early on, “We aren’t God and only the Almighty can wholly change someone.” Throughout the course of the story, Charlie undergoes a transformation of his own as he learns things about himself and his approach to life: “I’ve come to realize that fixing him—or anyone else for that matter—isn’t my job. I’m not giving up, but my purpose is different. At the end of this, my hope isn’t that I’ll have fixed him, but that I’ll be a means of pointing him to the Savior.” We never know who is watching, so we need to imitate Jesus in everything that we say, do, think, and speak, being the light of Christ to those around us, be they Bob Cratchits or Ebenezer Scrooges.

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: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 26

deb’s Book Review, August 26

Inklings and notions, August 27

Splashes of Joy, August 28

Mary Hake, August 28

For Him and My Family, August 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 30

Captive Dreams Window, August 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 31

Blogging With Carol, August 31

Just the Write Escape, September 1

Get Cozy Book Nook, September 1

She Lives To Read, September 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 3

Artistic Nobody, September 4 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Batya’s Bits, September 4

For the Love of Literature, September 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 6

Connect in Fiction, September 6

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 7

Emily Yager, September 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 8

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Christmas Carol Society, a copy of A Christmas Carol, and an ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ffb6/christmas-carol-society-celebration-tour-giveaway