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A TRICK OF COLORING... HER WALK... THE WAY SHE SMILED...An English June in the Roman Wall countryside; the ruin of a beautiful old house standing cheek-by-jowl with the solid, sunlit prosperity of the manor farm - a lovely place, and a rich inheritance for one of the two remaining Winslow heirs. There had been a third, but Annabel Winslow had died four years ago - so whenA TRICK OF COLORING... HER WALK... THE WAY SHE SMILED...An English June in the Roman Wall countryside; the ruin of a beautiful old house standing cheek-by-jowl with the solid, sunlit prosperity of the manor farm - a lovely place, and a rich inheritance for one of the two remaining Winslow heirs. There had been a third, but Annabel Winslow had died four years ago - so when a young woman calling herself Annabel Winslow comes 'home' to Whitescar, Con Winslow and his half-sister Lisa must find out whether she really is who she says she is.Mary Grey has nothing to look forward to except a future as colorless as her name. So if she looks, walks, and smiles so much like the glamorous missing heiress Annabel Winslow, why not be her for a little while? To the lonely young woman--living in a dreary furnished room, faced with an uncertain future--the impersonation offered intriguing possibilities.If Mary looked so much like the missing heiress, why should she not be an heiress? And so plain Mary became the glamorous Annabel. But she did not live happily ever after. In fact, she almost did not live at all. Because someone wanted Annabel Winslow missing ... permanently....

Title : the ivy tree
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 13414444
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the ivy tree Reviews

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2018-11-20 13:53

    Deception and hidden identity are at the heart of this 1961 Mary Stewart novel. Mary Gray travels from Canada to Northumberland in northern England.There she's accosted on Hadrian's wall, in the middle of nowhere, by an extremely handsome but very hostile guy, Con Winslow. Con is certain that she's his long-lost relative, Annabel Winslow, and threatens her. Once she convinces him that she's not Annabel, it occurs to Con that it would be very useful to him to have Mary pretend to be Annabel, who disappeared eight years ago and is believed to be dead, in order to fool Annabel's ailing grandfather into willing the Winslow property and money to the false "Annabel," if not to Con himself. Mary, destitute and at loose ends, agrees to the impersonation plot. And so begins a dangerous deception, soon complicated by the arrival of a neighbor, Adam, with whom Annabel had fallen in love so many years ago.The ivy tree of the title is an old oak tree on the Winslow property that is covered with ivy:Here a giant oak stood. It had been originally on the inside of the wall, but with the years it had grown and spread, pressing closer and ever closer to the masonry . . . But the power of the oak would be its undoing, for the wall had been clothed in ivy, and the ivy had reached for the tree, crept up it, engulfed it, till now the trunk was one towering mass of the dark gleaming leaves, and only the tree's upper branches managed to thrust the young gold leaves of early summer through the strangling curtain. Eventually the ivy would kill it. . . I looked up at it for a long time.It's an interesting image, reflective of all of the layers of deceit and selfish desires in this book. It's also the place where Annabel and her former love Adam--who was married at the time--used to leave love letters for each other. Interesting connection.**major spoilers behind the tags**The romance in this one is a little out of the norm, and not the easiest one in the world to root for(view spoiler)[, where it's based around an older married man (with a miserable marriage) falling in love with an 18 year old girl. But I will say it's handled in a way that won't offend most people. It's not at all clear that Annabel and Adam ever slept together during their earlier love affair; I think it's most likely they didn't, based on some details in the story.The first time I read this years ago I was totally blindsided when it was revealed near the end that Mary actually is Annabel. I was a lot younger at the time and wasn't really familiar with the concept of unreliable narrators; I think I'd be a lot more suspicious now. But it was fun and interesting to reread this, knowing what the twist was going to be, and seeing the various clues Mary Stewart gave us in Annabel's thoughts and actions, and how carefully she worded around some of the key issues that would have given it away. (hide spoiler)].There are some great suspenseful scenes in this book, and some delightful moments with cats and kittens. In one of my favorite scenes, Mary is chatting with her cousin’s boyfriend, Donald, who has been surreptitiously feeding pieces of sandwiches to a cat hiding under his chair.Beside me, the skirts of Donald’s chair began to shake in a frustrated fashion. I said gently, “Won’t you have another sandwich, Mr. Seton. These are crab. They — er, they go down rather well.”I saw the glimmer in his eyes as he took one. Half a minute later I saw the paw field a piece, very smartly, and, in a matter of three-quarters of a second, come out for more. Tommy, flown with good living, was getting reckless.“You’re not eating anything,” said Lisa to me. “Have another sandwich. There’s one left—“Even as she turned to look, the paw shot out, and the last of the crab sandwiches vanished, whole, from the plate on the bottom tier of the cart.“I’m so sorry,” said Donald, blandly, to me. “I took it myself. Have a macaroon.”Mary Stewart doesn't write the most complex or difficult to solve mysteries in the world, but her writing is so lovely that her fans don't really mind that much. You read her books more for the gorgeous, detailed descriptions of far-off places, the delightful doses of dry humor, the heart-stopping suspense, and the well-read and intrepid heroes and heroines. This isn't my favorite of Mary Stewart's novels; the love interest and romance are probably my least favorite from Stewart's romantic suspense novels (view spoiler)[ (he's also not a particularly well-developed character; I think he's defined chiefly by his long-suffering) (hide spoiler)]. But if you like old-fashioned suspense novels or Mary Stewart, it's definitely worth reading.3.75 stars. Buddy read/reread with the Mary Stewart group. ETA: A word of warning: major spoilers in the discussion thread to this review, not tagged.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Carol Clouds ꧁꧂
    2018-11-13 07:48

    I have been thinking about this book this morning & my star rating veered all over the place until I finally settled on a four.There is a lot to love about this book, especially the descriptions of scenery & mystery. & it was a page turner, that kept me interested until the end. While I wasn't sure who the heroine really was till near the finish, I also wasn't sure who the love interest was - the romance was sparse, even by Stewart's standards. In fact, two of the secondary characters have a more interesting romance & I was more interested in it's outcome.As always with Stewart there is another character in the book.Fortunately he didn't appear as much later in the book. At one stage I was wondering how Mary/Anabel could even see where she was going through the constant haze of smoke!& (view spoiler)[ another book is referenced. While Brat Farrar is a wonderful book, all of Tey's works are very difficult to get hold of in my country if you don't have an ereader. This book is still very readable but knowledge of Bratt Farrar does enhance it. (hide spoiler)]Reread 18/9/17. I reread this book directly after finishing Brat Farrar The Ivy Tree is inspired by Brat Farrar, but Brat Farrar is definitely the superior book. There was never a part of Brat Farrar where I was bored, whereas there are a couple of lulls in this book. & I found the actions & motivation of the female lead often quite inexplicable. Still a wonderful read though!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • karen
    2018-11-27 14:57

    i admit i have a weakness for all that wuthers, so i really enjoyed this. it's got everything you need to make your own gothic romance playset, so it's a little predictable, but it's a quick read and perfectly acceptable (i.e. not to be ashamed of)escapist fiction. plus, they reissued them in these nice trees-and-moors covers, which means the old, bad romance-looking ones are gone for good. when i was reading that damn nora roberts book, i was very much aware of its physical presence. i don't have a very big embarrassment-button, but there was something about reading it in public that added a layer onto the experience of it, because i am not usually aware of how i am perceived unless i am acting in a completely unacceptable way (and i have also a broad tolerance for what is acceptable)but i felt watched and judged - which i know was completely in my mind. but i felt like observers were clucking their tongues "that poor girl isn't getting any and is compensating by reading romance novels. how said. and so young." don't worry about me, strangers, i do all right.

  • Hana
    2018-11-19 09:46

    This might well be the most cleverly and tightly plotted of all Mary Stewart's romance-mystery novels and--alone among her novels--this is the only one with a seemingly unreliable narrator. When we first meet Mary Grey, she is enjoying the early morning sun and (of course!) having a smoke in the fine spring air near Hadrian's Wall.The second hand smoke doesn't seem to bother the lambs.What I loved most was the skill with which Mary Stewart kept me in suspense about who Mary really is while leading me to sometimes sympathize and sometimes doubt her integrity and kind heart. I instinctively liked Mary--but did I dare trust her? Then there was the handsome Irish cousin and various other love interests who wander over the horizons. Can they be trusted? Who should I root for? The plot thickens as more 'family' members appear--an ailing grandfather with land and money to pass on, a poor relation with a jealous eye, a cousin with her own love problems, various sharp-eyed gossipy villagers, and a long lost....well I won't say anymore about that. Along the way, there are gardens and wild flower filled meadows (of course!)And a horse that may be too wild for anyone but a 'horse whisperer' to handle. It's all great fun and I loved every minute of the book and my time spent with my buddy reading friends at GR!

  • Willow
    2018-11-18 11:02

    I’ve been kind of putting off writing a review for this. I guess it’s because I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the other Stewart books I’ve read. There was no exciting car chases or exotic locations. The hero was a real dud for me. I always felt like the author was holding information back, which always sends out lots of flags. You can always see that there is going be a big twist at the end when information is being withheld, especially when it’s in first person.That’s not to say it was bad. As always, Mary Stewart writes wonderfully. The ending was exciting and the book had a nice gothy atmosphere to it.I’m giving The Ivy Tree ***½ stars. After all, most Mary Stewart books are better than your average mystery. I just wasn’t as captivated by any of the characters. I was kind of disappointed. I guess I'm longing for the fifties movie type feel I got with Madam Will You Talk. James Mason wasn't in this and I missed him. :( *sigh*

  • Hannah
    2018-11-19 11:46

    While not my personal favorite in the Stewart pantheon, The Ivy Tree is still a well executed and cleverly plotted suspense novel from the queen of romantic suspense, and deserves every one of my 4 stars. It's been a while since I first read this, so while I remembered the main jist of the story for this re-read, there was even more I had forgotten, which was ok. It's hard to review this book, because to say almost anything about the plot or the characters might spoil the tale for new-comers. So, I'll only say that it's a twisty, complicated story about a girl who may or may not be all she claims, a hot-tempered man who may or may not be our hero, an ivy tree (well duh), an old wall named "Hadrian" (:D), a cat who likes crab sandwiches (who doesn't?), a horse (view spoiler)[ that packs a real kick (hide spoiler)], and an old house up for grabs.As to the rest, you'll just have to pick this one up and discover its secrets for yourself. Be alert. Be vigilant. All will be revealed and wrapped up very nicely by the end. And if you're like some readers of this particular Stewart novel, you might find yourself turning back to Chapter One after reading "The End". Yes, it's that kind of book...Mary Stewart Group Read in April, 2013

  • Sara
    2018-11-15 08:06

    I was so enamored of Mary Stewart’s writing when I was a teenager that I would hide when I read them so that I could pretend not to hear my older sister calling me to do chores. I am almost that enchanted with them this second time around, but it is now a husband who keeps trying to pry me away.The Ivy Tree can easily be placed among my favorites of the mystery/romances. It is complicated enough to keep you guessing and every time you think you have figured it out for sure, Mary Stewart makes you guess again. It is based on a fairly common device, the virtual twin stranger who impersonates the real heiress, but while the device might be common the writing and the deft handling of the situation is not. On a trip to Northumberland, Mary Grey of Canada is assailed by a handsome, but somewhat frightening, Connor Winslow, who mistakes her for his cousin, Annabel, who has been missing and believed dead for some eight years. At loose ends and down on her luck, Mary is persuaded to impersonate the aforesaid Annabel and help Connor get the inheritance he is (in his eyes) entitled to. What ensues is a thrilling, twisting ride in the style that only Mary Stewart can conjure. Few writers can engage all the senses in their writing, but for me Mary Stewart does this consistently.I was very still. Close overhead I heard the scratch and rattle on the sloping roof tiles, then the throaty murmur as the pigeons settled back again to sleep. From the garden below came the smell of lilac. A moth fluttered past my cheek, and a bat cut the clear sky like a knife. Down in the neglected garden-grass the black and white cat crouched, tail whipping, then sprang. Something screamed in the grass.And, one might certainly think of Mary Stewart’s work as more fun than thought, but I find that is a deception. She peppers her work with literary allusions, thoughtful humor, and tidbits of wisdom.People ought to avoid pain if they can, like disease...but if they have to stand it, its best use might be that it makes them kinder. I think that is a pretty astute observation.There are a couple of incidents in this novel involving a cat that I truly delighted in. They made the book stand apart for me as being quite special. Who doesn’t love an author who shows an affinity with the animal kingdom, and the quickest way to make me trust a character is make him kind to animals. Which might explain why I was so taken with a fairly minor character, by name of Donald Seton, who added warmth, humor, steadiness and dignity to the tale.Finally, there is the symbolism of the Ivy Tree itself, a prodigious oak that has been suffocated by the parasitic ivy that covers it. A thing that is beautiful on the outside, but rotten within (like a certain character in this book), evidence that something that appears strong may just be a crumbling weakness, and a reminder that love and desires that cannot be shown publicly, but must be hidden away, can be dangerous.In my quest to re-read all the Mary Stewart canon, I am glad I did not miss The Ivy Tree. If I were stranded on a desert island with a trunk containing all the works of only two authors, knowing I would have to read them over and over again for the rest of my life, I might well pick Shakespeare and Mary Stewart and be a happy camper.

  • Kim Kaso
    2018-12-09 09:50

    I read this the first time in junior high. I had discovered her books through the Moonspinners, first on the Wonderful World of Disney, with Hayley Mills and the lovely Peter McEnery, upon whom I had a crush. Movie was fun, but the books, oh, the books...with those I have had a life-long love affair. After I tracked down the aforementioned book, I discovered some very unprepossessing looking books on my mother’s bookshelves which turned out to be several more of Mary Stewart’s novels, including this one. I was in heaven. I have read and re-read these books over these years for comfort, and they have seen me through some tough times. I just read Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, to which Mary Stewart alludes in this novel, and the combination of suspense and horses is heavenly. I spent my waking moments riding and and reading as a girl and young woman, and these stories speak to me still. All I need is to watch the movie The List of Adrian Messenger and my day will be perfect. Very highly recommended.

  • Kim
    2018-11-28 12:42

    This is the third novel by Mary Stewart I’ve read in the past few months and my least favourite so far. It lacks in a number of departments. Firstly, although the novel is nominally set around Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, the setting could just as easily have been any rural England location with horses. Some early references to the Wall and a theme involving a search for Roman ruins provide the totality of the Northumberland scene setting. While the descriptive writing is excellent, it doesn’t evoke a strong sense of place in the same way as the south of France is evoked in Madam, Will You Talk? or Corfu is evoked in This Rough Magic. Thirdly, while the action appears to take place around the time the novel was published (that is, in 1961), there is little in the text to place it within that time period, with the notable exceptions of a heroine who smokes like a chimney and some very dubious gender politics. Thirdly, the characters are two-dimensional and I found it difficult to care about any of them, other than a secondary character, Donald, of whom I wish I had seen more. Fourthly, the twist in the tale was, I thought, patently obvious from early on. I kept hoping that I was wrong about this and I expected some other twist, but it never came. For me, the twist was that there wasn’t actually a twist. In a way, Stewart hid everything in plain sight, which is clever writing, but not clever enough to overcome my disappointment with the predictability of the plot. Although I’ve focused on the negatives, I don’t wish to imply that I disliked reading the novel. It was an easy and entertaining read and deserves its 3 stars. I particularly enjoyed enjoyed reading it with Jemidar and lots of others in the Mary Stewart Group. However, I prefer Josephine Tey’s Brat Farrar, which is referred to in the narrative and which clearly gave Stewart plenty of inspiration. The plot in that novel is just as predictable, but the psychological portrait of the central character makes it considerably more interesting.

  • Debbie Zapata
    2018-11-25 12:57

    If you were asked to step into someone else's shoes; BE that person, could you do it? Would you do it? This was Mary Grey's first dilemma, one which she resolved by agreeing to the plot suggested by a strange woman she talked with in the town of Newcastle. But is the plan really as simple as it seems? Is Mary Grey who she says she is? Is Connor nothing more than a darkly handsome stranger or something quite different? What exactly is an ivy tree? And, most importantly, is scene-stealing Tommy really Tommy?!I had great fun with this book. I am so glad to have rediscovered Mary Stewart! This one has earned second-favorite status. I was caught up in the story from the first page, and had fun making guesses about who was who all the way through to the Big Reveal, besides holding my breath more than once after that. Don't skip this one!!

  • Susan
    2018-12-06 08:07

    Where is Alfred Hitchcock when you need him? I think this book would have been right up his alley and would have made a marvelous movie under his direction. I absolutely loved it. How could you not when there were passages like this:The kitchen was a big, pleasant room, with a high ceiling, a new cream-coloured Aga stove, and long curtains that stirred in the June breeze. The floor was of red tiles, covered with those bright rugs of hooked rag that make Northern kitchens so attractive. In front of the Aga was an old-fashioned fender of polished steel, and inside it, from a basket covered with flannel, came the soft cheepings of newly hatched chickens. The black and white cat asleep in the rocking chair took no notice of the sounds, or of the tempting heavings and buttings of small heads and bodies against the covering flannel.Mary Stewart excels in creating atmosphere to the point where you are there. The characters were all well done as was and the story with a few twists and turns along the way. Some I guessed, some not.All in all, this was a wonderful read for any number of reasons. It certainly took me away like no Calgon ever could!

  • Moonlight Reader
    2018-11-11 06:37

    This is my second Mary Stewart gothic romance. I read Nine Coaches Waiting, which seems to fairly consistently reside in one of the top spots on vintage gothic romance lists, last year, and really enjoyed it.The difficult nature of reviewing one of these gothic romances presents itself every time I sit down to write one. Much of the enjoyment in these books resides in experiencing the twists and turns of the plot as they unfold. Like a mystery, revealing the secrets of the book really will spoil it.I thought this book was fantastically entertaining. Mary Stewart used continual misdirection very effectively, that had me believing one thing, and then a couple of chapters later, convinced of something else. It is intricately and cleverly plotted. I was wrong, wrong, wrong, and then wrong again.If the book has a flaw, it is that it starts slow and the twists don't start revealing themselves until the second half of the book. There is a lot of work that goes into the set-up of the plot. Once the reveals begin happening, though, it is a race to the end. I thought that Stewart's method for revealing one of the twists was particularly subtle and clever, and a bit bewildering at the beginning of the process.So many of these stories are set in Cornwall and on the moors, that I always like to mention the setting. This one is set in Northumbria, near Newcastle, on the heath and near Hadrian's Wall. There is less use made of the setting in this book than in many, but it's a nice change from some of the more traditional locations, and the plot involves an investigation into Roman artifacts. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed The Ivy Tree, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys vintage gothic romance.

  • Diane Lynn
    2018-11-24 07:43

    "I might have been alone in a painted landscape. The sky was still and blue, and the high cauliflower clouds over to the south seemed to hang without movement."So begins this story of impersonation set in Northumberland. Mary Grey, visitor from Canada, is mistaken for the lovely Annabel Winslow who had run away to the States eight years ago. What could have sent Annabel fleeing? That is the first question of many. Mary meets Connor Winslow, cousin to Annabel, and then Con's sister, Lisa. The three of them hatch the impersonation scheme. I won't say more because just about every detail is important. I can say that this story is thrilling and a real page turner towards the end.There are many memorable characters and Mary Stewart does a fantastic job of bringing them to life. There is humor, one particular scene with a cat named Tommy comes to mind. Stewart's descriptive prose had me chuckling. Rowan, the horse, even has a role to play. And of course there is an "ivy tree," but what role does it play?The plot has so much more to it than first suspected. Stewart has cleverly sprinkled clues throughout and a reread is an absolute must in order to fully appreciate the genius of Mary Stewart. Immediately upon finishing, I had to go back and reread the first couple of pages. (view spoiler)[ The first clue I missed was on the second page! (hide spoiler)] This book should have been made into a movie long ago.

  • Meep
    2018-11-20 07:58

    This is a long time favourite of mine, read several times.A version of 'Brat Farrar' written not long after that book ([edit]I double checked - 12years after) and with it's own twist. Mary Stewart weaves a tapestry drawing you in with poetic whimsy that brings alive the mood and moment, it took a second read to see the clues so cleverly hidden in the musings. It's the writing that raises this from a simple mystery to something special, almost mystical in places.There's a timeless quality to it and a great cast. Lots of creepy suspense, discreet but real emotion. An evilness that is open, full of charm, very nearly likeable. This isn't a book where you have to unveil the evil, it's one where it parades in the open, preens under your regard raising the question as to what it'll do. While the flip side is there in a chillingly pragmatic perspective.I like Mary, she's a jigsaw puzzle that comes together with the truth. Expounding on her would reveal too much. The quiet dignity of Adam appeals to me, the quiet strength of a man whose lived through his poor decisisions, there's a strong element of Bronte's Rochester about him.Gothic ruins, an old family with a fading figurehead, suspense, romance and even kittens. My favourite of Stewart's mysteries. The end is back to a timeless day, bringing us back to the beginning for a new beginning. Everything in it's time.

  • LJ
    2018-11-20 14:38

    THE IVY TREE (Suspense, Mary Grey/Annabel Winslow-England-cont) - ExStewart, Mary – StandaloneHodder & Stoughton, 1961, UK Hardcover First Sentence: I might have been alone in a painted landscape.*** Annabel Winslow has been dead for four years. Mary Grey, over from Canada, looks enough like Annabel to be her twin. When Conner, foreman at Whitescar, stumbles upon her, it takes a bit of convincing that she is Mary. Con, and his half-sister, Lisa, work up a plan for Mary to pretend to be the missing Annabel long enough to ensure her grandfather passes the ownership of Whitescar to Con in his will. Annabel Winslow has been dead for four years. Or has she?*** This is Mary Stewart at her very best. With lovely nods to Josephine Tey’s “Brat Farrar,” which I also loved, “The Ivy Tree” is a more complex, layered book, although the clues are there for us to find. Stewart’s characters come alive and even have reader questioning just who is Mary? There is that constant threat of danger. Her descriptions and use of imagery make me go back and re-read passages for the pure pleasure of her words. It is a story of love, loss, and hope is wonderfully timeless. Stewart is always such a pleasure to read and this is one of, if not the, best of her works.

  • Nikki
    2018-12-05 10:41

    Possibly my favourite Mary Stewart so far -- and the last of her mystery/romances, which is possibly why. Gah, I can't believe I have no more to look forward to. I accidentally spoilered myself as to the end of this one, but that was okay because the narration is clever enough that I just spent the time trying to catch Mary/Annabel out.I wish I knew what it was that makes Mary Stewart's mystery/romances work for me, but I can't really put my finger on it. Something about the atmosphere, the characters, the simple inevitability of it all, the way she can make me believe the most terribly far-fetched things. The way I end up falling in love with most of her pairings. She didn't make me fall in love with Con -- I saw him coming far too easily, the way he was -- or understand Mary/Annabel's willingness to work for his interests, but still. Somehow I accepted the plot anyway.I'll miss Mary Stewart's romances. They're immensely easy to read, addictive, and usually well-balanced as regards the amount of suspension of disbelief necessary, description vs. action, characters, romance vs. mystery... I'd have to be very sure of someone's taste before recommending these, I think, but I was utterly and unexpectedly charmed.

  • Tammie
    2018-12-10 12:37

    Mary Grey had come from Canada to the land of her forebears: Northumberland. As she savored the ordered, spare beauty of England’s northern fells, the silence was shattered by the shout of a single name:“Annabel!”3.5 stars. Another good mystery/romantic suspense story by Mary Stewart; The Ivy Tree wasn't my favorite, but was still good. The secret about Mary was an interesting twist, but I'm not sure how plausible the whole premise was. Stewart's books usually incorporate insta-love, but not this one, which was a good thing. This was written in 1961 so there is an excessive amount of smoking compared to today's books and a couple of sexist lines that dated it as well, but it is a product of it's time and I enjoyed reading it as I pictured the early 60s setting. I think the biggest issue I had with the book is that there is so much description. Stewart has a talent for writing good descriptive surroundings, but in this case it was a bit too much and I felt like it ate into a couple of the suspenseful scenes. The best thing about this book is that Mary Stewart kept me guessing about Mary's identity.Review also posted at Writings of a Reader

  • Jackie
    2018-11-28 10:06

    Another Mary Stewart romantic thriller where the heroine is lovely, wears frocks, and uncovers a murderer. And it's the only place I've ever heard of "singing hinnies." I ate up these books like they were popcorn when I was a teenager. We enter the story at Hadrian's Wall, where Mary Grey is accosted by a man who insists that he knows her, and that her name is really Annabel. Mary assures him it is not, and has the driver's license to prove it.But that only changes the tenor of Conner's interest in Mary. Once he is convinced she ísn't Annabel, he quickly tries to persuade her to masquerade as Annabel, in a scheme to get an inheritance. Mary finds herself agreeing, and soon is up to her pretty neck in more than she bargained for. She soon starts to wonder why Annabel disappeared, and if she herself might be in danger.And then she discovers that Annabel had a lover that Conner didn't know about...Read this in conjunction with Josephine Tey's Brat Farrar for a imposter/inheritance double-feature of fun!

  • Tweety
    2018-12-07 11:39

    I almost gave this a five but, the first half was slow and I actually figured it out momentarily.Still it was well worth the read. And I liked that it had a thrilling end. So all in all I'm glad I read it. One thing that drove me into distractions is that for the whole first half of the book Mary had as a permanent fixture a cigarette in her hand. Do you know how tiresome that is? I quite frankly could not picture her as young with that thing in her mouth. All the people I know who smoke as much as she did sound like there's sandpaper down their gullet. But that of course is besides the point. The mystery was good and reminded me of Nancy Drew, just not for children. There was some cussing not any horrible ones, and mainly in the beginning. Apart from that there was nothing undesirable in the story. I will read more by this author if this one is any thing to go by. Another mystery similar to this isDeath in Zanzibar and The Forsaken Inn both of which I enjoyed.

  • Kaethe
    2018-11-19 14:59

    It seems to me that every Stewart story should have been filmed by Hitchcock. Why weren't they?Anyway, a perfect story set near Hadrian's wall, with old estates, family conflict over inheritance, a little mystery, a lot of suspense, and some accurate and engaging scenery.I suppose the Barbara Vine books come out of this sort of mold, as well as the Mary Higgins Clark books.

  • Enchantressdebbicat ☮
    2018-12-05 11:59

    Fantastic! Review to follow

  • Mike Debaptiste
    2018-11-11 08:54

    THE IVY TREEby Mary StewartWilliam Morrow 1961This is a classic that will still be in print 100 years from now. I've read it several times, and also the UK edition, which is slightly different. The Morrow U.S. edition and following reprints cut out an entire chapter and a major plot point that really does add more depth to the story. You really have not read this book until you've read the original UK edition. From the 1961 hardback dust jacket:"Mary Grey had come from Canada to the land of her forbears: Northumberland, where Hadrian built his wall nearly 2000 years ago. As she leaned against the sun-warmed stones, savoring the ordered, spare beauty of England's northern fells, the silence was shattered by a single name hurled, as it were, like an epithet: "ANNABEL!"And there stood one of the angriest, most threatening young men Mary had ever seen. His name was Connor Winslow, and from his spate of words Mary discovered that he thought she was his cousin - a girl supposedly dead these past eight years. Alive, she would be heiress to an inheritance Con determined to save for himself....Thus begins a story of an impersonation fraught with the perils of treading present depths without the bouyancy of an innocent past. To it, Mrs. Stewart brings her remarkable ability to create atmosphere be it joyous, brooding, or terrifying. And with her acknowledged talent for characterization, she delineates sharply the savage, ruthless, half-sardonical Con; his drab half-sister Lisa, firm only in her dedication to Con and his wishes; arragant Matthew Winslow, a failing tyrant, but tyrant nonetheless where his family was concerned; the ebullient, sometime rebellious Cousin Julie; and Adam Forrest, the reserved owner of neighboring Forrest Hall, now a widower, but eight years before, inextricably tied to a hysterical, neurotic wife and tormented by his love for Annabel."If you like a book in which secret after secret, shock after shock jump out at you - this is it. Secrets of the past burn strongly up into the present in a lush northern England farm setting vividly painted by Stewart's magnificent prose. The character Con is credited for starting the macho arrogant male lead in all the Harlequin and similar romances that followed in the wake of this frontrunner, and persist to this day in the current romantic suspense books. He is the daddy of them all.Again, why Hitchcock didn't make this into a movie (or any of Mary Stewart's books, for that matter) is a mystery to me. Perhaps he did not want to feature a female as the lead? But any of her books, especially this one, would have graced the screen as a chilling romantic thriller.Mike

  • Chrissie
    2018-12-09 12:48

    Moody and atmospheric, with heavy hints of Rebecca, this is precisely the kind of Gothic Mystery/Suspense I like. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect going into this, but this book begins with a head-down charge at the plot and I loved it. Yes, this was descriptive the way Gothic novels are, but Stewart never let it overtake the plot or the momentum of the story.First published in 1961 in Britain (1962 here in the States), The Ivy Tree has an almost timeless quality to it. Yes, there are cars and talk of post-war conditions being near a generation back, but there was a distinct Victorian-era (or so) feel to this. I suppose part of that is what plays into the romantic, airy quality of the setting.Not nearly as grand or as well-known, but I'd venture to say that this is my own personal Wuthering Heights, a book for which I do not care. But here I have all that I had originally anticipated in Wuthering Heights and more. An atmospheric quality that is heady with themes and mood, but never overdone. The characters are surprisingly well-rounded and three-dimensional. Especially our heroine and narrator, Mary Grey. She's stubborn and strong, humorous and charming, but with real emotions and none of that unbelievable level of angst you get from Wuthering Heights and the other prime example, Jane Eyre.The allegorical motifs running through this novel are quite interestingly woven seamlessly into the plot. The novel is laced with Biblical overlaying themes, but nothing terribly obvious and these connections only serve to add an additional level of mood to the story. Successfully so. Hints of Adam and Eve, sure...but also the Tree of Knowledge, the prodigal [daughter], and even the serpent in the Garden. There are others, but that might require a more in-depth review that is just chockfull of spoilers.I'm so happy I took a chance on this and I totally plan on reading more work from Stewart.

  • Cphe
    2018-11-14 15:04

    I'll always have a soft spot for this author's wonderful work. This is a quietly paced cozy mystery, wonderful for time and place. Set in the isolated bleakness of Northumberland it involves a missing heiress who suddenly returns under a cloud of mystery.Whilst I don't think it is as strong as some of Mary Stewart's other books, it's still an engaging read. I enjoyed that it was not revealed who Annabel Winslow really was until the final pages. I also liked that the hero wasn't quite as clear cut as in other books.Really enjoyed the descriptions of the Northumbrian countryside, it's history and beauty.

  • Suzannah
    2018-11-20 15:06

    This was the book that got me hooked on Mary Stewart and it actually improved on second reading. Still one of her best, with exquisitely-constructed suspense, a thoroughly memorable plot twist, a wonderfully three-dimensional villain, and some great themes about doing the right thing rather than the thing your heart leads you to do, with far more of a sense of Providence and morality than I've found in Stewart's other works. This is also definitely a book you have to read at least twice to get the full effect of. Thoroughly enjoyable.

  • Michael Sorensen
    2018-11-11 12:52

    I read this book while sitting on Hadrian's Wall in Great Britain (and got soaked for my troubles during the Hexham Fair later that week...) and so I felt right at home in the World of "The Ivy Tree" which takes place in that very place. This is a terrific suspense romance. My wife has currently read it twice since I introduced her to it last year, and I have multipled it myself several times. On my faves list.

  • Barbara Klaser
    2018-12-05 08:41

    Another Mary Stewart reread. This is another that I think I only read once before. Maybe twice, maybe. It's probably my least favorite of the author's books in this category, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth reading. This story is a departure from her other romantic suspense novels, in that the protagonist's identity is as much of a puzzle as who else might be a threat. It would even be difficult to categorize this story as strictly romantic suspense, or mystery, though it is definitely full of suspense, intrigue, and even romance. But then Mary Stewart didn't set much value in genre categories anyway, so you just have to kind of go with it and trust her.The story starts off a bit slowly, but maybe that was only my impression, or maybe it's because anyone who reads a few of the author's other books before this one expects something different from the start. But as the story picks up and leaves the reader wondering, and then wondering again, just who this impostor is and why she is the point of view character, it becomes more compelling, and before you know it you're in the thick of the intrigue, and you simply read on to the end, because you have to.One thing I loved from the start about Mary Stewart is her love of animals and how she incorporates them into her stories as characters rather than part of the setting. With this story it's first a collie who seems to reflect its owner's personality. Later horses, including one that is almost mythical, and I think somehow provides a great preview of what's to come in the author's later books based in the Arthurian legends. Then of course that wonderful cat, Tommy, who manages to steal the limelight sometimes, at least for a cat lover like me.

  • Shayne
    2018-11-29 14:52

    The only Stewart books I'd read before were her "Merlin" series (which I own and love). This one (published in 1961)was written as a contemporary novel, but is now something of a period piece. I was immediately struck by how much the protagonist smokes! More subtly, the attitudes to the "place" of men and women, and the power [im:]balances between them, make it impossible to forget that this is a novel of an earlier time.There are plot elements that I can't refer to without revealing major spoilers, so I won't. But I found this a gripping story, with well-drawn characters and an intriguing plot. Towards the end, the tension is ramped up to the point that I almost became breathless at times.The setting (near Hadrian's Wall) is attractively described, and Stewart manages to slip in some geology and Roman history without ever remotely overdoing it. She also appears to know a lot about horses; I enjoyed the horsey bits very much.Whether or not the "mystery" remains mysterious, I think this is a thoroughly good yarn.

  • Teri-K
    2018-12-08 06:38

    Gothic romances are not a favorite genre of mine. But Mary Stewart is writer I love to read, no matter the genre she's writing in, so I was happy to get a chance to read The Ivy Tree. (Her straight rom-suspense are my favorites.)Two of Stewart's strengths show here. First there's her ability to create characters you believe in but don't quite trust. It keeps her stories mysterious. In this book there isn't a character except the cook that I don't suspect at some point, and I think I got suspicious about her once for a paragraph or two. Second, there's Stewart lovely descriptions. She makes her locations feel real and specific. At one point she described a bird singing on a hazel branch and I felt like I was there. I adore a book that can take me away to another place, and Stewart always does.So, though the genre isn't a winner for me, Stewart's writing made this a book I thoroughly enjoyed.

  • Autumn Doughton
    2018-12-08 08:47

    Another enjoyable read by Mary Stewart. I'm so glad to have "discovered" her right before summer. Now I have tons of fast, fun reads for by the pool!The Ivy House wasn't nearly as good as Nine Coaches Waiting, but it was still a very readable and intriguing mystery novel. I liked the story and the characters and the setting (England 1960s). The fault I had with the book, and the reason I could only give it 3 stars, is that I had a major problem with the first-person narrator keeping secrets from the reader. Without giving away the plot I can't say more than that it just seemed ridiculous for the book to be written in the first person while the narrator purposefully held back pertinent information. The purpose of first-person narrative is for the reader to feel immersed, body and mind, into the narrator's role. It just didn't work well in this case and as a result of this, the entire story suffered. Even so, I'm still excited to jump into the next Stewart book on my queue!