In this third and final book of the Tales from Ivy Hill series, both Jane and Mercy will find their happily ever afters.
Gabriel Locke is determined to wait as long as it takes to make Jane see reason. Despite her love for him, her fears of enduring more miscarriages are preventing her from accepting his proposal. When her long-absent father returns from India to Ivy Hill, Jane realizes she must let go of her bitterness toward him. In the end, she finds out that he may have just the gift she needs to bless her marriage with Gabriel.
Mercy, long thought to be a hopeless spinster, now has the prospect of two suitors at once. The carpenter, Joseph Kingsley, continues to spend as much time as he can in her company–but when she sights him on familiar terms with a blond beauty, she wonders if there is really any interest in that quarter? Mercy’s former pupil Alice is now living with her father, James Drake. When he asks Mercy to become Alice’s governess, Mercy must evaluate just what interest Mr. Drake has in her and decide whether to leave her family home to continue her career in education.
Along with concluding the stories of Jane and Mercy, the story also introduces a new character, a French dressmaker, who is not quite as experienced in her trade as she purports to be. The business-women of the town must decide whether to distance themselves from her or to give her a chance at becoming one of them. The book also throws a new romance into the mix as Miss Brockwell (Rachel’s sister-in-law) must decide whether to wed Sir Cyril, her mother’s choice, or to follow her heart with Nicholas Ashford.
This book had a complexity of intermingling plots and was a wholesome village romance. The characters themselves had much less complexity, no doubt due to the fact that there were so many of them. The book introduces the concept of racism and the right response to it as the very English villagers deal with the new faces that accompany Jane’s father on his return from India.
While book one of the series focused on Jane, and book two on Rachel, this third book is clearly Mercy’s story. The delightful ending shows how much all the villagers treasure the kindnesses that Mercy has bestowed on them over the years, and they “rise up to call her blessed.” Although I prefer Julie Klassen’s standalone novels (probably because of the element of suspense they usually contain which is absent in this series), this light-and-bright story is a fitting finale for the Ivy Hill series.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.