The House of Stone and Ivy by Anita Stansfield is a complete stand alone, meaning that it doesn't belong to any book series at all!!
The House of Stone and Ivy was published in 2019 and there's no add'l books to look for to complete a series. Which is kinda sad, I would've loved to see what happened to some of the other siblings in this family.
But this story is about Hennie and Jack (Ollie).
This is a Regency romance with the characters in England in the 1800s.
And while it's written by Stansfield, this story is more of an inspirational romance than anything.
There are no sexy scenes to worry about at all, even after the main characters get married.
This is very much a belated love epiphany type of story. Or it's also a hidden identity trope!!
It could also be called a best friend's fall for each other story as well!!
It's fun when there's so much from a story.
This story is called The House of Stone and Ivy because Hennie goes back to the house that she grew up in. It's a huge house built of stone and covered in ivy!
This story starts us out getting to know Hennie (Henrietta Wood). She's a maid/server in an inn doing the best that she can to get by. She's unwilling to compromise herself and she knows that her situation is precarious at best.
But there's not many options for a young girl during this timeframe.
That is until someone shows up.
And it just happens to be her best friend Lottie, who's actually dressed up as a man. She's been able to find employment and has come to convince Hennie to go with her.
Please know because this is an inspirational romance, there's a lot of language that shows that she's concerned with things and talks to God about it and relies on her own intuition and inspiration to know what's right for her and her friend.
So her and her friend head to the manor only for Hennie to realize that the place that they're heading is the very place that she grew up.
You see, Hennie didn't go to the orphanage till after her mother died, somewhere around her being 11yrs old.
Lottie spent many years alone in the orphanage until Hennie showed up. And together they became closer than sisters.
Fast forward to now and they're embarking on a different type of journey, posing as men, to get better employment and security, at the one place that she never thought she'd see again.
And then the story fast-forwards. You can tell as the seasons pass. They get comfortable but find that they don't like living in disguise.
With the help of a friend, the leave the manor and live as women again.
Okay, so this friend is a whole other story.
This friend is Jack. He's hiding as Ollie the blacksmith, but in reality he's the heir of the manor house they were staying. And he was Hennie's best friend as child.
Now he offers Hennie and Lottie sanctuary and live above the smith shop. It's also because Hennie and Ollie (Jack) have developed feelings for each other.
So both characters must go thru a transformation and a change in the story. That makes the story to be more multi-dimensional than other stories.
There's more than one issue that has to be dealt with and it ends up affecting both of the characters.
Hennie must accept herself for who she is and her circumstances.
Jack must figure out a way to not have to marry the evil-incarnate herself!!
Hennie and Jack finally decide to marry and let things just be. But in that they come to realize that they are in control of their own destiny.
And yes, the story does end HEA!!
But it takes the rest of the story to get there.
I really enjoyed this story, but then I enjoy anything that Anita Stansfield writes!!
I found that while this story had more of an inspirational romance feel, there was a lot of religious language between the characters and in their own thoughts.
It was also very much of a "everything goes right at the right time" type of story too. Hennie just so happens to befriend Ollie who is actually her childhood friend and he just happens to share a very personal event that happened when they were children.
This gives Hennie the clues she needs to put the pieces together.
And then he invites her to stay in a place where she'll be safe and secure, just what she needs. And their relationship evolves just so. They realize their feelings for each other and declare it easily.
I did enjoy absolutely no sexy details at all. It's nice to read a story that focuses on the issues at hand and not the sexual side of things.
I found this story to be interesting and sweet. The characters were fun to get to know. The storyline was easy to understand and completely enjoyable.
Since this book doesn't belong to any book series, check out Stansfield's other standalone books.
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