When no one believes in her, she takes a leap of faith.
Ivy Knight feels that her life may never start. Though her loving family assures her that her place in the world is close to home, she still feels a push to move out of her comfort zone. Hoping against hope, she travels to her old friends at McCale House, seeking a purpose.
Jordy McAllen has just returned to Scotland after his education in London. He fears that what everyone has always said about him may be true: he can’t be a good doctor, let alone a good man. Determined to prove himself, Jordy snatches up the opportunity to become the doctor in the village of Keefmore near his parents’ farm.
When an old friend decides to travel to Keefmore and visit a relative, Ivy follows. She soon finds herself drawn to Jordy, but as their attraction grows, they both face doubts. A relationship between the two of them feels improbable—and might just require a step of impossible faith.
This novel is the fourth book in The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, a historical family saga.
Kellyn Roth is a historical romance & women’s fiction author who writes about the empty places where hope has the most room to grow. Her novels include the inspirational Victorian family saga, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, and the Kees & Colliers series, which follows a broken family in the tumultuous years of the first half of the 20th century.
Kellyn is a student of the Author Conservatory and a writing coach. When not building her author career or her indie-author-helping business, Wild Blue Wonder Press, she is likely getting lost somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with her friends, watching period dramas and facetious comedies, or spending time with her husband.
You were the book I didn't plan to write. The story whose ending changed for the worst last minute - only to be redeemed. Because I believe even broken things deserve a second chance, and what are we if not broken?
But redeemed. Healing. Even with your imperfections, your slightly more prose-y feel, I still love you. And you know what, BHC? I'm going to do it. I'm going to release you, another passion project, knowing that you are just that.
A story where every character is me and none of the characters are me. The book that showed me who Violet and Jordy are, and who Ivy must become.
We had fun, too, though, didn't we? Researching and writing those accents. Making fun of Bailey together. Accidentally giving Aimee trust issues.
BHC, make me proud. Change some hearts, even if just by accident. But most of all, share my heart with the world - accidentally and vulnerably.
God keep you.
Official Content Guide for Beyond Her Calling:
Expressions: goodness (x3), heavens (x2), heaven knows (x1), for heaven's sake (x1), in heaven's name (x2), heaven help her (x1)
Mentions of injuries (broken bones, a gash in a leg) and these injuries needing tended. None of the medical stuff is really discussed.
A character has had suicidal thoughts in the past and sometimes says dark things as she deals with ongoing depression.
Three kisses - One (undetailed) forced on another character against their will (and later semi-apologized for). One innocent one that befuddles both persons involved. One ... less innocent one.
My characters are attracted to each other, as per healthy romantic relationships. ;-)
A woman in the book has an illegitimate child and this is briefly discussed.
A big topic, especially toward the end of the book, is a character's past sexual dalliances. Though not described in any detail, passion & purity are discussed at some length from a Christian perspective.
Alcohol consumption, mostly labelled as wrong though some characters don't mind drinking as long as it's not in excess. (The author is one of those characters, but she doesn't say because her main characters are Victorian.)
Mentions of infant loss and a hinted miscarriage, though it isn't fully discussed.
A character has dealt with learning disabilities in the past and is now seen as "an idiot," "a simpleton," and "mindless" by anyone who is an idiot, a simpleton, and mindless. That said, anyone with a lick of sense loves and cherishes her for the beautiful, whole person she is.
And that's it! Overall it's a clean (but slightly dramatic, as always) novel full of sweet characters, deeper themes, Scottish accents, and small adorable children.
I'd recommend 15+ - this is a novel for older YA and adult readers (which is targeted more toward adults).
Having read the third book of the series, At Her Fingertips, I was intrigued to see what Ivy's story held. (She was my favorite character, after all.) And little did I know what was coming at me - a grand trip to Scotland!
Characters: Let's start with Ivy. Sweet, innocent Ivy. She's one of those characters who might've been too perfect, but it didn't bother me at all. She's just Ivy. I loved how the author wrote her inner dialogue - it was quite unique and true to who she was. Simple, but honest and so kind. her willingness to go wherever the Lord called her just showed what type of person she was. And of course, the music references were so much fun! Onto Jordy ... dude was just a straight-up, wholesome, Scottish sheepherder-turned-doctor. (Mostly wholesome, but more on that later.) I really enjoyed his character. He again might've bordered on the too perfect side of things at first, but he definitely proved me wrong. And I also believe Ivy looked at him as somewhat of an exalted figure, so that might've accounted for his perceived perfection. Anyway ... he as well was so kind, and such a gentleman. I think he made the perfect country doctor. And for the other characters ... Violet was intense. I got annoyed at her, felt sorry for her, understood her ... the whole slew of feelings. Ena was such a sweetheart, and Aunt Daphne was also so cool! She was great fun.
Plot/Setting: This book was set in Scotland, and if you don't leave speaking with a Scottish accent, you are an incredibly strong person! But to be honest, the setting in Scotland was pastoral and quaint. The plot, overall, was pretty chill. This is not full of action and intrigue, but there's enough character development to keep the ball rolling. Overall, the story was paced pretty well, although the last 15% or so dragged on for me a bit. I just knew what was coming, so I wanted resolution!
Theme/Morals: Judging from the title, you can see a lot of what this book touched on. I loved Ivy's determination to find her calling, wherever and whatever that was. And of course, she went beyond everyone's expectations of her - go Ivy! It was lovely to see her seek God's Will and walk in it even when it was difficult or confusing. And of course, her kindness to Violet and speaking truth into Violet's life just showed how wonderful of a friend she was. Jordy's side of things was a bit more sketchy, at least for me. His main moral was dealing with past failings and the consequences that come with those. It was good to see him work through realizing the Lord had forgiven him but consequences still remained on earth. However, this part of the plot was probably my least favorite. Jordy's six months of going wild (complete with drinking, gambling, and women) presented an obvious roadblock between his and Ivy's relationship. Although this is quite realistic, and I appreciated how the author addressed it, I was just wasn't too big into going through all of their ponderings and distress over it. (This was the last 20% or so.) However, these issues are real-life, and I thought they were well-discussed and an important fact of life for some people to face.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I'm not the biggest fan of historical British books, but I loved the Scottish setting and the easy pacing. The writing style was quite nice and fit the book well. I'll be on the lookout for the next in the series!
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher/author. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
How have I not reviewed BHC?? Oh goodness, I love this book. This book is a comfort and a guide. This book showcases beauty and forgiveness. This book has some of my favorite scenes from the whole series. Between beta reading and review reading and at least one other thing I can't quite remember, I've read this three or four times now. And I just can't get over how much I love it.
Alice's POV can be harsh and decisive at times but Ivy's soars along slowly just like her music does. She is precious and chapter three at the piano is close to my heart. And Jordy! I love him. He's not the perfect knight Ivy wishes him to be, but given the chance he can be brave and caring. And he loves Ivy tenderly and fiercely, helping her grow and try new things. I look forward to seeing their relationship develop further.
Aunt Daphne and Ena are such fun. Love the small town of Keefmore and man, I adore the Scottish brogue woven throughout.
As always Kell handles everything clearly and tastefully, but check out her review for content considerations.
This is easily my favorite book from the series so far. 💖
I read this book weeks ago, and yet I still haven't forgotten it. Put simply, it's that amazing, and it deserves every single shining star. Seriously.
Somehow, Kell manages to weave a story full of such heart and depth that every character and situation you come across in this story feels so real. From Ivy's struggles with her faith, the prejudice against Ena, and Jordy's temptation, I related to each one of these characters' internal turmoil, and the lessons they learned resonated deep within me. Somehow, Kell manages to write these characters so well, they feel like LIVING SOULS dealing with the messy brokenness of the world.
GUYS. It's really these type of books the world needs, the ones that you don't just walk away from thinking "this is a good story" but that actually leave us with a seed of an idea, a piece of heart that will remain with us for a lifetime.
Also, can I just say that the romance is so good?? Like, I can't even. There were times where the actions of both characters left me shaking my head and thinking that, as Kell puts it, these really are "two fools falling in love" haha, but I love how it was based on something deeper than just attraction. And it took a while — the first half of the story was a bit slow — but now that I think about it, that was actually for the best because it showed how most of the story focused on Ivy and Jordy's journeys of faith, rather than the romance. There was so much growth happening for the two of them, and it was wonderful to see.
Kell's distinct writing style comes through strong in this novel — with all its wittiness and spice with a touch of humor. Going into this book, I was minorly afraid that Ivy's POV would change that, but while the tone was slightly different than it was in AHF and Alice's POV, it struck a perfect balance of consistency and newness, and I loved it.
There's a lot more I could say about this book, but instead, I'll just say: READ THIS. It doesn't matter whether regency romance isn't your thing — it definitely wasn't and isn't mine — but there are so many amazing things about this story, I was utterly blown away.
CONTENT WARNINGS: a few not-described kisses, alcohol consumption, suicidal thoughts, mentions of temptation
I received a free advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Reveries Co. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
Sweet. Charming. Idyllic. Classy. Faith-filled. Romantic (in a sweet way). Scottish charm.
These are just a few terms that define Beyond Her Calling, book four in the Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series. I haven’t read the previous three books, so while I enjoyed this one immensely, I did feel I had missed a few things by coming in late. My remedy for this? Saving up money to purchase the full series in paperback and reading from the beginning.
I especially loved the innocent sweetness of this story. Ivy was quite refreshing with her take on the world. It’s not every day that a “mentally challenged” person is the lead of a novel, and I found it something to cherish, truly. Her perspective was my favorite, and I thought the aspect of her different way of thinking was captured perfectly.
All right, so I have to talk about the setting next. Who wouldn’t love to hop the pond to Scotland right now? Well, look no further than this book for that virtual journey. The atmosphere definitely had some Gaelic charm, and the dialect was written beautifully and added much depth to the story. Is it okay if I start dreaming in Scot? Because that accent might be stuck in my head for a while! (That’s a delicious problem to have, by the way, for an accent-addicted gal like me. [quiet shout:] I love accents of all sorts, y’all!) The sheep, cows, pastures, barns, stores, people, small-town vibe, and general atmosphere were amazing and made me feel as if I could step out of my house and into a little Scottish town. Too bad that didn’t happen during the week I was reading this book. (Aw, shucks!)
This story kicked off with an emotional lurch, which I loved dearly. Emotional stories and I understand each other well, and I was thrilled that this one would speak to my emotion-loving heart. I laughed, huffed (at Violet, which you’ll understand well once you read this one), wept (for at least three different reasons), and sighed very happily. All the great feelings were present and active in this one, folks. Definitely a keeper on the emotion side of things!
There were many quotes I adored in this story. This one might just be my favorite:
Violet: This is a terrible book. Ivy: Then stop reading it. Violet: I don’t want to. Ivy: Then keep reading it.
Y’all, I have so been there! Some books just irritate me to death… but they still manage to hook me in till I have to continue reading to see what all happens. Can you relate to that at all? Because I totally understood this bit of dialogue from sheer personal experience (though not from this book, as it did not irritate me).
The author of this book might be young (still in her teens as of this moment in 2018, I believe), but she’s got a lot to bring to the table. I’m excited to see how she grows her storytelling talents in the coming decade, because I think she’s got plenty of room to grow even though she’s already quite good at her job. Since I’m a writer and editor myself, I know that a writer has never “arrived” but always has room for growth (unless they’ve become stagnant or fallen backward in their writing journey). I think Miss Roth has the potential to wow us all time and again as her writing gets tighter and even more developed than it already is over the coming years. She’s an author to watch, that’s for certain.
Fans of Dianne Price’s Thistle series will adore this book!
In this book, Kellyn has written the best work of her series, in my humble opinion. If book one hooked me to the series, and book two thoroughly convinced me of Kell's talent, and if book three destroyed all my feels - then this book has given me the most emotionally relatable characters I've seen in a very long time. Books one and two are about Alice and Ivy as children, and while I could imagine and understand what they were going through, I didn't feel like wow this is talking about me. And in book three, Alice's struggle and growth were rather on a subject I don't yet connect to. But in this book - WOW.
I feel like Kellyn has HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD with a lot things I feel in Ivy and Violet. Which is funny because never would I have compared myself to those two XD But still ... their struggles are mine in a lot of ways, and I've felt the way they did, and yeah this book just tugged at my heart strings and touched really deep. They both deal with problems self-worth (and wow that sounds so contemporary, but it's still generally what it was in the past XD) and the meaning of their lives and what God has planned for them and how much they matter to him - and the struggles were so real and touching and I love how, even though the clear and easy answer was provided, it wasn't easy to TAP INTO IT, so to speak. It's hard to explain. They KNEW what was true, but it was so difficult for them to FEEL and BELIEVE it anyway.
Can I say that JORDY MCALLEN was written so well? I am so dead tired of perfect male characters and while Jordy really IS as wonderful as Ivy thinks, he still isn't 100% perfect. And he's a mischievous tease at that so *thumbs up* And I am very into storylines that deal with doctors on a mission *nods*
AND THIS BOOK WAS SO SCOTTISH. I love how Kell wrote the brogue and I was reading all the Scottish speech in Scottish accent and having so much fun with it XD I really felt the atmosphere and setting and hey Kell, thanks for transporting me to my dream travel destination for a while there :D
THE ROMANCE PART is the absolute cutest and I loved it even more than Alice's #sorrynotsorry
Plot wise ... umm it wasn't terribly action packed or anything. It was about Ivy helping Jordy in Scotland and getting to know people and navigating her own conflicting emotions and trying to help Violet. But it was really engaging all the same!!
Here's list of reasons you NEED THIS BOOK (after you've read the others, of course ;))
- it's a clean Christian historical romance with - friendship to romance - mental disabilities rep - letters and correspondence - emotional conflict - Scotland - trying to navigate the meaning of life - awkwardness - kittens - a doctor and his practice and his patients and his assistant - IT TAKES PLACE IN THE FALL (and ha, it's the perfect time for me to read it) - lots Scottish brogue - mischievous and lovable boys - new found friends - lots of wisdom that's hard for the characters to follow - cows (and being afraid of cows) - border collies -small adorable children -more Scotland -awesome families -siblings and best friends and both at once - conversations about Jane Austen
*Warnings* #1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You'll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which will mean some spoilers, so watch out.
Synopsis: Ivy Knight needs a purpose. Despite her family’s assurances that her place is home with them, Ivy longs for more...for a calling. When God asks her to do the seemingly impossible and go to Scotland, she follows Him where He leads and strives to find His purpose for her—whether that’s showing Jesus to her friend Violet, befriending outcast Ena, bringing together a struggling Scottish community, or falling in love with her old friend Jordy McAllen.
From the moment I met Ivy Knight in The Dressmaker’s Secret and got to know her in Ivy Introspective, I knew I loved her. She was the sweetest, most precious munchkin ever and all I wanted to do was hug her.
As crazy as it sounds, she’s still the most precious munchkin ever and, y’all, if I could give her a hug I would, believe me. Following her coming-of-age/love story was an experience I jumped at...and totally wasn’t prepared for.
Suffice to say, I love Ivy and that’ll never change. I love her personality, her character, her journey, her beautiful mind, her love of music, her ways of communication, her compassion for others. I love how she trusts God and strives to follow Him above all else, how she truly believes in Him and listens to Him, how she spreads His love everywhere she goes. And of course, I love how Roth has written her. Her character is so strong and clear, her voice so unique, her stories so lovely. I am amazed by how developed and genuine Roth’s characters are—from Ivy to Alice, who are polar opposites; from Jordy to Peter; from Violet to Ena to Aunt Daphne; from Claire to Mr. Knight to Nettie.
And that scene toward the beginning there, where she’s talking with the Lord? Y’all, I got chills. That was beyond beautiful and so very Spirit-filled!
Another thing that amazes me is how Roth writes mental health. I personally shy away from books about mental health because I’m one of those crazy Christians who thinks everything—including the state of your mind and emotions—has to do with God...and very, very few mental health books acknowledge that.
So how Roth weaves faith into Ivy’s struggles is beautiful and authentic, and it makes my heart happy to see mental illness portrayed not as a disease that needs a medicinal cure, but as an ailment of the heart and, more so, of the spirit, that can only be healed by God Most High.
If we do want to get into it, though, I honestly feel like Ivy is just...a completely normal girl. A bit 21st century, in some ways, but oh so wise and mature, very intelligent, and as Jordy says, simply a wee bit afraid but not the least bit simple or tortured. I think with some of that love which conquers all fear, she’ll be all right. Violet is an altogether different story, though.
Speaking of Violet...I do so love her. She breaks my heart (or perhaps it’s simply that she breaks Ivy’s, and whatever Ivy feels, I feel) and I want nothing more than to give her a big ol’ hug as well! Sure, there are some moments in which she gave me quite the fright, but in the end? Let’s just say she’s on the path to redemption, my loves!
And then there’s Jordy. I’ve rather always loved him, but no one is good enough for my Vee or quite up to par with her tender sweetness, so of course I feel Ivy overshadowed him completely—in the best way possible, of course. It amazes me, though, how Roth moved from young teenage Jordy in Ivy’s perspective (in Ivy Introspective) to grown-up Jordy in his own point-of-view so very seamlessly! It was as if nothing had changed, as if I’d known Jordy this intimately whilst reading Ivy Introspective, which made this story so immersive and developed. (I still prefer Kirk and I honestly think he and Ivy would’ve made a lovely couple...being my two favorite people and all that.)
The secondary characters—Ena and Aunt Daphne especially—were all so lovely and well-done! I loved watching Ivy interact with them and they with her. Of course, Aunt Daphne was quite the character, and so full of wisdom and love in this blunt yet nurturing sort of way that made her relationships with Ivy and Violet so interesting!
All of the character shone through expertly—even Peter, Alice, and Claire through their letters!
On that note, Claire’s letter to Ivy...y’all. I could’ve cried! That was just the culmination, I suppose, that I was looking for and, in some way, that would’ve been happy ending enough for me!
As for unhappy endings…the way Roth teased A Prayer Unanswered through Peter and Alice’s letters was perfect! Being that I’ve already beta-read APU, I know exactly what went on, and the way it reflected through their letters was—well, I don’t want to use a positive adjective here for certain reasons, but, you know, well done, Kell, and all that.
Anyway! On to happier things!
Like the accents.
*sighs* I adore the Scottish accents and how Roth wrote them! And the setting! I do so love Scotland! And the plot—have I mentioned yet how I loved the plot? So simple and uncluttered but engaging, character-driven but purposeful—altogether lovely. Just lovely.
Really, I think my only qualm would be that I disagree on the whole “you can’t overcome your sin” bit. Of course, I understand where Roth was coming from, in terms of consequences and whatnot, but it did seem a bit...harsh? And there are Scriptures that insinuate that you can overcome your past sins through the power of God and by His grace, and that once the old has passed away and the new has come, you are no longer guaranteed to fall back into your sinful ways. Temptation will come, yes, but God has given us a way out of that and you don’t have to be defined by what you did or didn’t do. But I could go on about that forever, and it really was a minor thing.
Otherwise, Roth managed the immorality elements tastefully and biblically—something that I appreciated greatly, since so many seem to gloss over such, especially in our culture, and accept things that oughtn’t be accepted. Of course, that wasn’t typically the case in Ivy and Jordy’s time, but still. I appreciated it, even if I have read far worse.
Long story short, Beyond Her Calling was everything I’d hoped for in Ivy’s love story and even a wee bit more! This romance will not only cater to the romantics such as I, but to the historical fans, the Scotland lovers, the women’s fiction readers, the YA readers, and those who long for more mental health awareness!
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
I enjoyed reading this historical fiction novel set in the 1880s in Scotland. Scotland! That had to be the best part of it, and I really enjoyed the setting and especially the accents!
Ivy Knight from England heads up to Scotland for a visit. Drama, friends new and old, relationships, and soul-searching ensue. I liked Ivy’s point of view and her thoughts, and especially the way she compares everything to music, which made me happy. She’s a dear, and her sweetness and occasional awkwardness but determination to do right made her a lovely character.
Jordy McAllen is great too. A passionate but sometimes endearingly boyish young doctor, with a delightful accent and also a sense of fun, trying to find his way. Ivy and Jordy are also adorable together. *cackles* They’re both such cinnamon rolls!
There were one or two things I felt I was missing due to jumping in on book four, but only in a very mild way, but in general it was a good standalone too. It’s adult fiction but clean other than some mature issues discussed from someone’s past. Everything’s tied in to the characters’ faith throughout the book and there were some inspiring lines at times.
Also, this is random, but I enjoyed that there were letters throughout the book between several different characters (epistolary bits in books make me happy for some reason), and references to other books, like Jane Austen’s.
It wrapped up satisfactorily (like I said, stands alone pretty well), but I’m definitely hoping to check out the next book about these characters because I’d love to spend more time with Ivy and Jordy! (I think the next one featuring them is After Our Castle. I can’t wait!)
Best for fans of Christian historical romance, and, of course, Scotland! (I also recommend the audiobook!)
(I received a free ARC of this book from the author and was not obligated to leave a review. All opinions are my own.)
This book is fantastic!! The romance was well-paced and it has so many important messages and themes in it. Really hit home for me on several occasions and I think that, even though it's set in the 1800s, it has a lot of messages that are timely in today's world as well. Definitely one to read and then read again! (When is it socially appropriate to re-read a book you just finished a week ago? Asking for, erm...a friend...?)
5+ stars & 6/10 hearts. The first thing I should like to address in this review is the cover.
ISN’T IT GORGEOUS?!
That said, we can resume our regular content.
My favourite thing about Kellyn Roth’s books is that she doesn’t shy away from tough topics most people prefer not to tackle, and she handles these topics with grace and taste. This book certainly took on a more serious message, but it was well done.
I really appreciate how these books go back and forth between Pearlbelle Park or London and more rural Scotland. This particular story was set in Jordy’s quite rustic village (sorry, Jordy… I consider it a compliment), which was unique and very enjoyable. As always, Roth’s writing style is quite modern, and yet somehow perfectly brings these 1881 characters to life! I also was delighted how the style changed between Alice in At Her Fingertips and Ivy in BHC. I really applaud how well done that was. ALSO—the Scottish accent was SO. WELL. DONE. I can’t even praise it enough, except to say it was nearly as good as Sir Walter Scott.
Ivy, as always, is a real sweetheart. I really related to her desire to find her calling & to fulfill it. I related to her anxiety & her struggle to combat it; and also to her longing for love. She was very inspiring and motivational for me, in fact. She’s also just amusing in a sweet, loving way. Jordy, of course, was epic—hilariously scatterbrained and disorganized, but so firmly resolved to do right and pursue it no matter what. I loved how he gently pushed Ivy out of her comfort zone and made her realize her fears weren’t as bad as she thought. Violet broke my heart. She was so full of darkness, yet trying so hard to reach the light… I related to her a lot. Also, I thought I saw in her a struggle to allow Jordy & Ivy’s romance to bloom, and I think her fortitude in encouraging and bringing it about was wonderful. <3 Aunt Daphne was a hilarious new mentor! While she isn’t much like Nettie, I thought she filled her place pretty well. ;) Ena + her girls & all the McAllens were great minor characters, and I’d love to see more of them! In fact, I quite fell in love with Keefmore.
The plot was very well done, particularly the pacing. I loved how Jordy’s past was slowly revealed, and Ivy gradually learned to confront the lies she’d believed so long. Their romance was sweet, but I really enjoyed how it mostly came about of them working together and being great partners. And in spite of this being a romance, I really appreciated how the emphasis was on their personal growth and how both had to get to a healthy place so they could complete each other… an aspect often neglected in romance novels. It was very much a slow-burn, character-driven, slice-of-life, coming-of-age type of story, and I revelled in that.
The themes of this book were particularly good. I didn’t agree with everything (namely, the drinking/temperance issue) but this book really made me think and reminded me of great truths.
First off, Ivy’s learning that she is not “less than” anyone else because God created her as she was & He values her. The message of learning to appreciate yourself really resonated with me—I’ve struggled with self-hatred for several years and it harmed me & my relationships very much. It was only when I realized I HAD worth because I am God’s and that I DO have talents and gifts to use for Him that I was able to successfully combat depression and shyness, etc. Ivy’s message came at the right time for me and really strengthened me.
Second, Jordy realizing his past is the past & no longer defines him was also very well done. God’s blood covers sin and we don’t have to dwell in that; we don’t have to continually pay for it—HE IS ENOUGH, and we can move forwards with His strength. That’s what grace is.
Third, I was very impressed how this novel handled marriage. Few books accurately represent the solemnity and serious responsibility of marriage and this book really preached the message of how important it is to communicate and be upfront about struggles. And forth, Roth did very well tackling the topic of sexual purity—how important it is, how crucial to admit it to a perspective spouse, & how it must be guarded. She also did well showing how little things can set off big (and bad) results, and (like I’ve been saying for so long) how quickly things can happen… and how dangerous it can be for a man & a woman to be alone together. As far as content goes: I would not hand this book to anyone under 18. There’s a detailed content list down below. Everything is well handled, barely detailed, & clean; but it’s still serious topics.
Overall, this was a fantastic addition to the Chronicles of Alice & Ivy. I found it beautiful, encouraging, truthful, inspiring, humorous—like a strong, fresh, invigorating gust of wind on an autumn day. Definitely another favourite of mind, and I very much look forwards to A Prayer Unanswered (I love how BHC hints at it!)!
Content list: As mentioned, sexual purity is a big topic (as in, a man sleeping with many women). There were two kisses—fairly detailed in my book, but I don’t usually read romance with even slightly detailed kisses, so I expect it’s actually quite mild. One of the kisses was done in all innocence—Ivy wanted to thank Jordy, so she kissed him, as she would kiss her father to thank him… only she kissed Jordy on his mouth instead of his cheek. Another kiss was forced upon someone by another person, who sort of apologized after. There is touching (handholding, etc; and Ivy slides her hand in Jordy’s waistcoat to get his watch, not realizing it isn’t quite right). Some talk of chaperones. A woman has an illegitimate child, & her situation is discussed (about how she needs love & help & more parental involvement).
A Favourite Quote: I think it’s time for you to trust and admire yourself, too. I would never say this to Alice, to Ned, to Caleb, to Jackie, or to Rebecca. Honestly, I wouldn’t even say it to Nettie. But to you, I say it, because I know your natural humility—more than that, your tendency to self-deprecation. Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in Christ. Trust that He has taken you to Keefmore for a reason. Trust that this calling was from Him. Admit to yourself, even for just a moment, that God’s works in you are wondrous indeed. Not because of who you are, but because of Who Christ is in you, it would be an utter shame for you to waste time and energy and emotion on false humility. Do you believe God was right in choosing you for whatever tasks He has set for you next—or was God wrong? A Favourite Beautiful Quote: The rumbling of the train was comforting to Ivy, a rhythm that reassured her with its repetitiveness. There was a music in the clack of train tracks, a music to the way the people seemed lulled by it. A Favourite Humorous Quote: It was nothing but idle attraction, because he had nothing better to occupy his mind. Well, he’d keep his mind busy and not let her near him, and the problem would be solved. He nodded to himself, reaffirming his decision, as she entered the office through the back door, a bright smile on her face. Good—it made it easier if she wasn’t upset. How dreadful it would be to have her hate him. He really did want to be her friend ... but only friends. It would be wrong—especially since he had nothing to offer her. He didn’t like blondes all that much anyway. “Morning, Jordy.” Her hair caught an early beam of light from the window and turned golden. He grudgingly admitted that blondes were the prettiest of all women. Just an observation—nothing personal, of course.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for promotional purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.*
Review: OHHH MY GOOD GRACIOUSNESS THIS BOOK WAS AMAAAAAAAAZING (I feel like I have that reaction each time I finish one of Kell's books xD). Honestly though- I'm struggling so much to write a decent review.
What I Loved: - LITERALLY EVERYTHING - The romance. I don't know how Kellyn pulled it off, but I loved seeing Jordy's and Ivy's relationships with each other develop. It was so good. ❤❤ - The characters are fantastic. Jordy's family is so caring and kind, and Ivy's family, while preoccupied at times, are so very loving. It's not like they're all perfect, too. - Kirk has redeemed himself - I always love seeing Ivy's POV since she's such a sweet and gentle person with an amazing spirit. She's also my favorite character, so... This book was certainly no exception. - The piano's one of my favorite instruments to play, and the fact that Ivy plays it, and plays it well is SO COOL.
What I Didn't Love: - nothing
Overall: I hope that list up there convinced you to buy this series and read it (yes, the whole series). Kellyn's books are seriously the best and she's definitely on my list of auto-buy authors, so just go read her books in general. xD
*FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.*
Lovely addition to The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy! Really enjoyed being able to read this one. So great to see Ivy branching out (no pun intended) and finding that what God made her wasn't less -than or in need of change but needed to be grown into. It's a lovely balance between finding contentment and striving to be all we can be. And it's about grace and forgiveness -set in Scotland which is just the cherry on top. :)
"Who am I tae say tha’ I am hopeless when God says no one is?"
Special thanks to the author who gave me an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. The author did not pay me for a review and all the thoughts here are my own honest opinion.
This was a very sweet historical frictional romance. And Scotland! It was so beautiful! And Border Collies!!! =D
Ivy.... She was wonderful! I love her journey of finding God's calling for her. She was so kind towards other people, especially Violet, who wasn't always kind to her. It's sad that people thought she was simpleminded because she was wonderful.
Jordy!!! He's like the gentleman we all want! He teases people but never in poor taste. He was kind towards other people.
Violet.... This is going to sound really weird, but she is one of my favorite characters in this book. Although under Ivy and Jordy, of course. Normally characters like her really annoys me, but Violet didn't as much. She was struggling from a mental illness. But the way Ivy takes care of her when she is having one of her dark moments is so cool. Some the strongest Christian messages comes from the conversations that Violet and Ivy have.
Mick. He could make me laugh at times, wish we could have seen more of him.
Benji... A great guy, who doesn't talk too much, but when he does he is so wise.
Edi... A woman who knows what she wants.
Ena.... BOOKS!!! YES!!! SHE KNOWS WHAT'S GOOD!!! Her back story is so heart-wrenching, but it is so cool how she dealt with it.
The romance in this book was great. They didn't move to each other instantly, actually, they were more concerned about being friends with each other first. Which is something that I really admire in romance stories. Yes, they sometimes had romantic thoughts about one another, but it wasn't over the top, and it made the story really sweet how it went. Yes, they ran into problems, but like I said it worked, it wasn't too fast, it was true love.
What I Didn't Really Like:
I love the historical side of the story. I also love the deep POV from both Ivy and Jordy. BUT!!! We had a lot of conversations, and though the author shows instead of telling us what's going on, there was times I wanted to see more of Scotland. Know more of the historical side of things. See more of Jordy's doctoring.
Now I love how the author writes the accent for the people in Scotland. It is like I could hear them talking right next to me. However, at first it was hard to understand what they were saying, but once I got used to it, it wasn't too much of a problem.
Content in Book:
1. Mental illnesses.
2. Someone getting drunk.
3. Some kisses but not overly descriptive.
4. Some doctoring stuff, but nothing gross or anything.
5. A few scenes of women giving birth. Non-descriptive.
6. Mentions of a plague killing people. Non-descriptive.
7. Talk about shooting puppies. Ummm, NOOOO!!!! (But no they never did shoot any puppies in this book).
Will I Go Back And Read The First Books in the Series???
I think I probably will someday. There was some back story that I would've liked to have known before picking up this book. But this book does make a good stand alone as well.
Who I Would Recommend This Book To:
Those who like sweet romances. Those who like books that talk about mental illnesses. Those who like historical fiction that is set in 1882 in Scotland and England.
I love Ivy in this series. When she was young I would have said she was autistic with a gift for music. Can one outgrow autism? Anyway, I would no longer label her as such. She's still a little different in this book, but far more normal than many people I know! She's loving, empathetic, kind and has such a giving heart.
The story follows her trip to Scotland where she helps her emotionally damaged friend, Violet, from her former boarding school, to move in with Violet's aunt. Also she stays to help Jordy with setting up his medical practice (Jordy being a young man she also knew at school who was sort of an intern).
The friendship between the three of them, and the interesting people they meet in this little village is quite a story. Violet clearly had something against Jordy, but we don’t know what that is for quite some time.
It all went swimmingly until something was revealed that had Ivy reeling. Understandably! It reminded me of a sermon I heard on one of the Ten Commandments. The pastor said the effects of some sin stay with us because of our memory, which cannot be expunged. Oh, God forgives and you can be cleansed, but the memory of that sin can affect you and those you’re close to for life. This was dealt with very well in this book. Oh, I was uncomfortable! But sin should make us uncomfortable. But the good news is God's mercy and grace may bring us to a point of humility and repentance that may change our lives.
I’ve followed Kellyn Roth and her writing for a few years—since the beginning. I’ve seen her grow through rewrites, new editions, and now as an established author. Alice and Ivy have become my friends as I travel beside them.
Beyond Her Calling is nineteen-year-old Ivy’s journey without her sister Alice. Will her unusual personality and outlook on life allow her to reach her potential or will fear and social pressure (and her family) push her into a mold of helplessness that she yearns to escape?
I plan to escape to Scotland in May. I’ll wander the Scottish glens and village paths, wondering about Ivy and God’s calling in Scotland. I’ve faced that some question many times in my life, “What is my calling?” Like in Ivy’s life, God asks us to wait, to be patient, to listen. How hard is that? But if we, as God’s children would practice a bit of patience, the calling becomes clear. Bravo Kellyn Roth!
yes hi hello if Kellyn Roth could stop coming for my emotions that would be great
((i'm kidding, Kell, i love you please never stop destroying me emotionally))
You know, it's kind of comforting to know that even though the world has changed a lot since 2018, my love for this book has not. I still relate so much to Ivy, I still want to visit Keefmore, I'm still a little in love with Jordy McAllen. (okay not even just a little, I'm fully in love with Jordy hahaha) Friends-to-lovers continues to be my favorite romance trope.
There's a lot to love about this story. The characters are wonderfully written and their stories are deeply moving, especially since the last time we saw some of them was in Ivy Introspective. They're growing up, and it's lovely to see them thrive. It feels like revisiting old friends, and it just brought me a lot of joy. As much as I love Alice, Ivy has always been the sister I relate to more, as an introvert who's slowly finding her own calling. Jordy, as previously established, has my heart. Violet drove me crazy the first time I read this, and to be honest, she still annoyed me at times, but I understand her character more now than I did then.
The faith content and messages were top notch. There are relatable struggles with contentment and calling from all the characters as they try to find their place in the world. The pasts are heavier in this updated version, haunting the characters a little more, and putting them into positions of overcoming and trusting in God's grace.
Overall, it was just delightful to be back in the world of these characters. I've long counted this series as one of my favorites, and I'm always glad to reaffirm that status. Five stars from me!
**I received a copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.**
Original review 2018: Let me start out by saying that October has been a fantastic reading month for me.
I adored the characters, I love the setting, I just... good feelings all around for this book. Ivy and Jordy are the sweetest and purest and that ending left me so emotional. I'm SO HAPPY.
Ivy is my ultimate favourite character in the series and I loved seeing how she got her happy ending. I've always had a soft spot for Scottish characters and Jordy is no exception. He and Ivy were destined for each other. I can sympathize with Ivy struggling to find her purpose in life as well as with Jordy who is trying to put his past behind him. There were some very insightful things said which I will further mull over and treasure. Violet was... intense. But that is to be expected of her. I'm glad that in the end she just wanted the happiness of her friends. All in all, I can't wait to continue reading the rest of Ivy's story in further books.
Note: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for a honest review
Beyond Her Calling follows Ivy Knight, a twenty-year-old from Kent, England with a history of overwhelming anxiety and social awkwardness. Honestly, I do not think that I have ever loved the way a character is written as much as I do Ivy. She is so unique, innocent, and thoughtful; she tries extremely hard at everything she does, thinks the best of everyone, and believes in God wholeheartedly. A lot of the adjectives I would use to describe Ivy also describe how I feel about the book as a whole: it is an incredibly sweet story, gentle but reaching deep and applying the Gospel to uncomfortable situations. It is truly refreshing to read a story so saturated with the reality and goodness of the Gospel that passages about the Bible or theology just flow. There are frequent mentions of both, and while there are times when a character (usually Ivy) tries to explain or convince another of their truth, there is no argumentation or complicated philosophy. Truth is simply stated as fact in a loving and sincere manner.
This is no head-in-the-sand prosperity gospel, either. The author tackles difficult and uncommon topics, especially mental health, in a cautious but confident manner. Each character is beautifully written, giving voice to people and situations that often go unnoticed.
There is so much to love about this book. Ivy struggles to find direction for her life and contemplates why some people experience a grand 'calling' while others just live life, and ultimately finds satisfaction in her faith and her friends. The one minor aspect I did have trouble with is that it can seem that Ivy finds her "calling" in a romance, which concerns me. Initially, Ivy relates the idea of a calling to something spiritual, but later the term comes to mean something more mundane, which is fine but worth noting. My concern is that some readers, especially younger girls, might read this and think that in order to find a reason for their life they need to find a husband, which is not true. Nothing in this book blatantly says that there is more value in being married than being single, and I don't honestly think that is at all the point the author is trying to get across, but I don't think it would be hard for someone to read it between the lines. If there are future books to this series, I would love to hear more about some of the characters who remain single, and see how they deal with finding their value and purpose in life.
Back to the innumerable positives: the setting is incredible. I was not sure what to expect from 1880s England and Scotland, and I am definitely impressed! There are enough nuanced details given to create atmosphere, but no unnecessary rambles or overbearing descriptive sections. Seeing a glossary of Scottish expressions in the front took me by surprise, but ended up being helpful. Although I don't have much experience with Scottish brogue, I found it very well-written. Additionally, I am impressed by the author's ability to maintain different dialects and levels of accents based on the characters background.
The romance aspect is also very well written and sweet. In fact, most of the relationships are strong, positive models. It is comforting to read about close families, friends who stand by each other no matter what, and innocent young love. The atmosphere emanates feelings of safety, comfortable, and purity, making it possibly the ultimate feel-good story. That is not to say that everything goes perfectly for the characters; there would be no story if that were the case. Instead, they demonstrate positive (though not perfect - thank goodness!) responses to difficult situations, and they do so while maintaining relationships which it might be easier to walk away from. True love is more than the fleeting passion or infatuation shown in so many books, and this is a wonderful example of how it ought to act: persevering, loyal, and supportive.
Other aspects I appreciate from Beyond Her Calling include the pacing, lovely writing style, and the fact that Ivy plays the piano. Also, there are minor themes of conquering your fears, prayer, and responsibility, which add more than just background to the plot.
IVY IS A PRECIOUS BEAN WHO MUST BE PROTECTED. She’s so sweet and kind and cares so much for her family and friends. And Jordy; ah, Jordy…I gotta be honest, I either missed it in Ivy Introspective and completely forgot, but apparently his full name is George. Him wanting to do the right thing when it came to a relationship with Ivy made him a hero, a worthy hero indeed.
ALSO HE AN’ IVY ARE PERFECT TOGETHER
And Violet was still Violet, though she does have her moments. (Where’s the Violet standalone??)
I was kind of expecting more hints of the next book, but that’s probably because I alpha-read it, hehe. (also weeps bc feels)