Meet Ivy Weaver from Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson

Meet Ivy Weaver from Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson

Christmas is in the air, so it’s a wonderful time to get to know some Christmasy characters. What better way to kick off the season than with a character named Ivy? Ivy is from a novella called Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson. Holland and Ivy is part of a multi-author series of Christmas novellas set in a small town called Wilde Rose Ridge. The collection will have a Christmas party in their Facebook group on December 5th to celebrate the release of the series. All six authors will be giving away prizes, plus there will be fun games and Christmas trivia. If you’d like to join the fun, you can join the reader group here.

Before we get to know Ivy, let’s find out a bit more about her story.

Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson

He’s betrayed her before.
She’d be a fool to trust him again.
And Ivy Weaver is nobody’s fool.

Beloved town baker, Ivy Weaver, is capable of so much more than frying up a mean apple fritter and now’s the time to prove it. Winning Wild Rose Ridge’s annual Diced competition would show the town her chef skills and help get her fledgling catering business off the ground. But when her biggest competitor from culinary school enters the contest, her dreams seem destined to die. Again.

Holland K. McIntyre IV may have been born into privilege, but he’s fought and clawed his way to success in the restaurant business on his own. Nothing is going to keep him from his goals. If beating Ivy in another cooking competition is what it takes to make a name for himself, then that’s what he’ll do.

But when the two of them are forced to be teammates rather than competitors, they just might face their biggest challenge yet. Will trusting Holland keep Ivy from realizing her dreams once again?

Purchase Links: Amazon

Now for our interview with Ivy.

CC: I’m so excited to get to introduce you to my readers, Ivy. Would you mind telling them a little bit about yourself?

IVY: Hi. I’m Ivy Weaver, the heroine in Kathy Geary Anderson’s book, Holland and Ivy. I’m twenty-six years old and live in Wild Rose Ridge, a small town on a lake in central Washington.

CC: Oh! Washington state is absolutely beautiful, and to be on a lake? That is fabulous. Small towns can be rough though. How do you think others view you? Do you feel this is an accurate representation?

IVY: Most people in Wild Rose Ridge see me as the one who makes their favorite Christmas gingerbread cookies and fresh apple fritters. I work in my mom’s bakery, but I also trained as a professional chef and worked in restaurants all over Europe. I love baking, but I can do so much more. I’ve started a small catering company and entered the town’s cooking competition, Diced, for this very reason. I’m hoping to prove to Wild Rose Ridge that I’m a world-class chef as well.

CC: It’s so hard to be seen as less than you are capable of. Is that your biggest fear?

IVY: My biggest fear is that I’ll get stuck in the same old, same old, and life will pass me by. I’m twenty-six years old, yet I still work at my mom’s bakery in the same town where I grew up and have lived most of my life. I was more adventurous in my early 20s than I am now. I came home from working in France three years ago to run my mom’s bakery while she was fighting breast cancer. Now, she’s all better, but I’m still here.

CC: “But I’m still here. . . ” I take that to mean this is not the life you dreamed of? What IS the dream you keep close to your chest?

IVY: Although I can make desserts that will make you drool, my biggest dream is to own a restaurant of my own where I would serve Provencal French cuisine with an American twist. My mom and uncle have inherited their great aunt Edith’s house that backs onto the Riverwalk here in Wild Rose Ridge. It would be the perfect place for a restaurant because it is so close to shops, hotels, and other tourist hotspots. I’m hoping they will rent it to me so I can start living my dream.

CC: I’m drooling already. I love a good French dish, and they are so hard to come by here in the States. I hope that you win the competition. Speaking of competition, I believe you are being forced to work with a man you despise. Can you tell us who he is?

IVY: Holland K. McIntyre IV, a rich, spoiled, bad-boy chef. Sure, he can be charming and has swoon-worthy good looks, but he can’t be trusted. We were in culinary school in Europe together and now he’s in Wild Rose Ridge as the executive chef of my cousin’s winery restaurant. We were friends once. Almost more than friends, until he betrayed me in our final cooking competition at school. Now I have to face him in another competition, but I’m not a naïve twenty-one-year-old anymore. This time I plan to win.

CC: Those dastardly men who betray us can be a real challenge to deal with. Who is the person you can run to when this man comes striding back into your kitchen?

IVY: My best friend, Fiona, of course. We’ve been friends since middle school. Actually, we were pen pals before that because she used to live in Africa with her missionary parents. She owns the local teashop/bookstore and we host a podcast together on Tuesday mornings. It’s all about books and tea and things that happen in our town. Of course, I’m a bigger fan of coffee than I am tea, but we don’t let that spoil our friendship. Fiona is dating my cousin Chase and I’m hoping that someday soon we will be family as well as friends.

CC: Awww! Friends that become family! That is the hope for us all, isn’t it? Before wrap up, can you tell me what one of your happiest moments is?

IVY: I have lots of great memories of baking alongside my mom when I was growing up. I practically lived in her bakery, but I didn’t mind. I’m always happiest when I’m creating something good to eat. Some of my other great memories were spending time with Mom and Great Aunt Edith in the garden at my great aunt’s house. I loved her stone house and her garden. It was like something out of a fairy tale. We’d pick fresh herbs and vegetables and then go into the kitchen and make them into the best lunches. I guess I’ve always spent a lot of time cooking with the women in my family.

CC: Cooking really bonds people in ways that no other activity can. Considering that Holland is your forced partner in this competition, you might want to watch out. You never know when your enemy might become something more . . . cherished. 

Readers, if you’re looking for a fun, Christmas read, I recommend checking out Ivy’s story in Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson. And don’t forget to join the Wild Rose Ridge Facebook group for the party on December 5th.

About Kathy Geary Anderson:

A south-Texas transplant to the good life of Nebraska, Kathy Geary Anderson has a passion for story and all things historical. Over the years, she has been an English teacher, a newsletter and ad writer, and a stay-at-home mom. When she’s not reading or writing novels, you can probably find her cheering (far too loudly) for her favorite football team, traveling the country with her husband, or spending time with her adult children.

Connect with Kathy: Website  |  Facebook  |  BookBub  |  GoodReads


Readers, what is your favorite Christmas baked good or meal? Would you try out Ivy’s French restaurant if given the chance?

RCR: May 2023

RCR: May 2023

May’s Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge: Unlock an Adventure is over! With the chaos of this month, I read a novella, from a collection but didn’t read the whole collection. If you have a review you’d like to submit for upcoming months, feel free to sign up for a month here and use the Google form to submit your review. As my time has become too limited to do a suggestions post each month, I encourage you to jump over to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page and ask for suggestions from there or from any of a number of amazing reader groups like Avid Readers of Christian Fiction or even visit for options.

*The list of prizes available from my prize shelf can be found here.*

May’s Theme: Exploration or Pioneering

June’s Theme: Treasure Hunt

Christmas Traps and Trimmings

by Kelly Eileen Hake

Review by: Crystal Caudill

Kelly Eileen Hake has long been a treasured author for me. I don’t think I’ve read anything by her that I haven’t liked. This novella was no exception, although for a few minutes, I was concerned she got her history timeline wrong. I should have known better. It was I who had the wrong century for the earthquake along the New Madrid fault line. Set in the early days of America’s birth and the days when Kentucky was the wild wild west (1811), this is the story of and English lady determined to escape the grasp of her plotting cousin–even across an ocean and into the untamed Kentucky frontier–by running to her appointed guardian who had no doubt not heard of her father’s passing. Her unwilling guardian is an Englishman making his living through trapping and selling animal pelts. He doesn’t have space in his life for an English lady and her elderly maid. However, he can’t turn them away, and forced proximity requires that they get to know each other. Throw in the world-shaking earthquakes along the New Madrid fault line and a half-legible letter from her deceased father into the mix, and these two have no choice but to learn to rely on each other. 

I enjoyed the story, and especially the historical perspective of an event I’d heard of all my life but hadn’t realized was so early in our country’s birth. The romance was a bit quick for me, but novellas tend to be rushed, and honestly, what else are two people going to do in the wilds of Kentucky but get married pretty quickly? While Christmas was touched on, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a traditionally Christmasy-feeling novella.

For Fans of: I recommend this story to those who love learning new bits of history, quick-read romances, and frontier settings. 

Genre: Historical Romance, Kentucky 1811 – Novella Collection

Plot Overview:

Experience Christmas through the eyes of adventuresome settlers who relied on log cabins built from trees on their own land to see them through the cruel forces of winter. Discover how rough-hewed shelters become a home in which faith, hope, and love can flourish. Marvel in the blessings of Christmas celebrations without the trappings of modern commercialism where the true meaning of the day shines through. And treasure this exclusive collection of nine Christmas romances penned by some of Christian fiction’s best-selling authors.

Purchase Links: 

Amazon  |  Christianbook


For your chance to win a print copy, comment with what book YOU read for this month and you will also be entered into the year-end Grand Prize Reader Basket. Use the Rafflecopter below for extra entries and to mark that you left a comment. Entries end on the 7th of each month at midnight EST, and the winner will be drawn sometime that week and notified by email. The winner will be announced don’t the Rafflecopter widget.

*Open to all residents of the contiguous USA, legally able to enter, and an e-book format or Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to those outside that range who are legally able to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


What did you read for the challenge? What were your thoughts on it? Would you recommend it?

An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen

An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen

An Ivy Hill Christmas

by Julie Klassen

I’m on a Christmas story binge, and this one happens to be our Online Historical Romance Book Club selection for December. Fans of Pride and Prejudice and Emma will find parallels to those beloved stories. Some scenes and lines felt like they were taken straight from those Jane Austen novels and placed into this story at just the right moments. It was a story of transformation but light on the romance. There were several scenes that were definitely on the *sigh, that was so sweet* moments, but I was left wishing more time had been spent on the romance.

This was not my favorite of Julie Klassen’s books, but I think I might have enjoyed it a bit more if I had read the other book(s) connected to Ivy Hill. There were lots of connections I felt sure had more meaning and left me wondering who they were. So if you dive into this book, I highly recommend reading the others first. If you do, let me know what I missed out on.

I would recommend this story to fans of Jane Austen, reformed rakes, and messy families.

Genre: Historical Romance, England, 1822

Plot Overview:

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 unforeseen 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, joyous songs, and divine hope, work its magic in his heart . . . and hers as well?

What I loved: I loved all the nods to Pride and Prejudice, and watching Richard’s relationship with others change.

Favorite Character and Why: It’s a tie between Wally and Jamie Fletcher. I love how Richard dressed the dog to look like him, and Jamie was just a sweet kid.

Rating and Why: Three Stars. I struggled with the writing style this time, and I just couldn’t sink into the characters. I enjoyed the story, but there were chunks of details I skimmed over.       Baker Bookhouse        Barnes and Noble        Book Depository

Terrific Book Tuesday: The Widow’s Captive by Lucette Nel

The Widow’s Captive by Lucette Nel

Alright, so this is a “Christmas” novella and I am reviewing it in March. Despite the fact I think Christmas should be celebrated year-round, this book is not so wholly centered around Christmas as to be a Christmas season only read.


The Widow’s Captive is the story of a mother doing anything to survive being pursued by a dangerous man while being mere weeks away from childbirth and caring for her other two children. Help comes at the unlikeliest of times, during a blizzard, from a sheriff bearing gifts for the town drunkard.



This novella is a quick read with a focus on romance and an element of danger. Readers who enjoy stories with children, humor, and innocent love will enjoy this novella. The sheriff does get some time being a traditional hero, but most of the time he is a hero through the sweet acts of kindness and protection of this vulnerable family.


I recommend this story no matter the time of year. The warm cozy feeling you feel as you read it never goes out of season.


Purchase your own copy at:


“On the run with two small children and a third due within weeks, Adeline Spencer fears the approaching blizzard will seal their fate. An abandoned cabin is an answer to her prayers. She hopes it will shield them from both the storm and the enraged brother-in-law hot on her tail. But when a stranger knocks at the door, she is convinced they have been found by one of Ward’s lackeys.Blamed for the death of his friend, Sheriff Jonah Hale is determined to prove himself worthy of his badge, even if it means riding into a blizzard to check on a crazy miner. When Jonah reaches the cabin, he’s caught off guard by a pretty and very pregnant young woman wielding a skillet. Bound to a chair while the storm rages, and as Christmas settles in around them, he must find a way to earn Adeline’s trust…and perhaps her heart.”

– Blurb from Amazon

Pin It on Pinterest