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Ivy [Hardcover]

Julie Hearn
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Jun 2008
The only beautiful thing in Ivy's drab life is her glorious red hair. At a young age, her locks made her the target of Carroty Kate, a 'skinner'. She recruited Ivy to help her coax wealthy children away from their nannies so that she could strip them of their clothes - clothes worth a fortune in the markets of Petticoat Lane. It is years before Ivy escapes and finds her way back to her in-laws. Once there, she finds respite in laudanum. But before she can settle into a stupor and forget the terrible things she has done, Ivy is spotted by a wealthy pre-Raphaelite painter. Oscar Fosdick needs a muse (until now he has had to use his domineering mother as a model, something not conducive to producing his best work, he finds). To him, Ivy is perfect, a stunner. Realising quickly that this painter has more money than sense, Ivy's in-laws order her to sit for him, and to do anything else he demands. But not everyone is happy. Oscar's mother is determined to get rid of Ivy. Oscar's famous neighbour is determined to paint her. Carroty Kate is determined to find her, and Ivy herself is determined to escape . . .
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 355 pages
  • Publisher: Ginee Seo Books (17 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416925066
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416925064
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 15.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Julie Hearn used to be a tabloid journalist. After her daughter, Tilly, was born she began a degree in Education but switched to English after suffering a panic attack while attempting to teach maths to year six.

Something she read in Oxford's Bodleian Library, about a young girl who was shown as a fairground "monster" in the 17th century, inspired Julie's first novel Follow Me Down (2003). Since then she has written about witchcraft (The Merrybegot, 2005); the beauty and perils of the Victorian art world (Ivy, 2006), and the legacy of the Slave Trade (Hazel, 2007).

Rowan the Strange, she says, is as much about the craziness of so-called "normal life" as it is about a young boy's state of mind . The more she wrote the harder it became to hold onto, or defend, conventional definitions of madness.

Wreckers, another of Julie's titles, draws on the well-known myth of Pandora's Box, and has been widely praised.

Julie lives in Oxfordshire where she writes full time (most mornings anyway) in a pink and green office in her garden.

Product Description


[Reviews for The Merrybegot]: 'A lively and brilliant work. This book leapt out at me. It startled me and then held my attention. (Gaye Hicyilmaz, TES)

Combines magic realism and historical fact in a formula that Julia Hearn has made her own, proving that her brilliant novel (Sunday Telegraph)

was not just beginner's luck

A fantastic read (School Librarian)

Hearn writes with great Brio and style. Her characters . . . spring from the page. We can hear their voices, and the details of their lives are economically but vividly depicted. (Guardian)

Ingeniously structured, with compelling plot twists, it is engrossing and immediate; Hearn has the skill of a conjuror and her novel casts a spell (Sunday Times)

A gripping, atmospheric novel, which demands reading at one sitting. Five Stars. (Books for Keeps) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Told in clear, vivid prose and peopled with sympathetic characters, it is a huge leap forward for a talented new storyteller (The Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Mrs Hortense Merryfield and Mrs Christiana Larrington of the Ragged Children's Welfare Association (South London branch) chose a bitterly cold spring morning upon which to patronize the deserving poor of Lambeth. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Magnificent 3 Aug 2008
Ivy is a delight to read. It has everything I look for in a good historical book - an interesting, diverse range of characters, an absorbing plot, huge amounts of historical detail, lots of interesting settings, realistic dialogue and it's also really well written!

Julie Hearn's writing style in concise (she says what she wants to say, and then moves onto something else) but the book never comes across as too brief, disjointed or lacking in detail. She manages to portray a huge variety of different ideas, cultures, personalities etc in a realtively short space.

The plot is also believable, and the novel has a real driving force behind it. I found it difficult to put down without reading 'just one more chapter'. Having said that, there is a short space in the middle of the book where the action flags a little, and all any one is really doing is sending lots of letters. But it soon picks up again, and carries from strength to strength until the end.

Also, the main character, Ivy, is a very different sort of heroine. She doesn't have any particular talent, she's not sassy and doesn't have particularly strong views on the world in general that she has to tell every one about. But she is likeable, insecure and kind, and I became very attacthced to her. And at the end, when she decides to take her destiny in her own hands, I wanted to cheer and jump up and down and throw a party. Yeah, I do get a bit over excited sometimes.

So if you like vivid historical books with drama, comedy and just about everything else, I would certainly recommend this book!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An artistic masterpiece 12 Feb 2007
This book first interested me in a catalogue, and although it wasn't quite what I was expecting, it was still very good.

It is about a girl called Ivy (!) who is spotted by a pre-Raphaelite painter in South London. He is taken by her and she becomes his model.

But there is more to the story than this. For it begins a few years back, when Ivy is about five and living with her aunt and uncle, and her numerous cousins. When the family attracts the attention of a pair of naive do-gooders - 'charity mongers' - she is sent to school with one of her cousins - and gets off to a very bad start.

When eventually driven to leave (when practically coerced to eat bacon, for Ivy is a vegetarian - a word almost unheard-of in this instance), she runs away and attracts the attention of Carroty Kate - a 'skinner', a thief who rids rich children of their expensive clothes and finery. Ivy is taken in, and becomes Kate's 'assistant' . . .

Some years later, Ivy, as a painter's model, is suddenly in danger. She has a laudanum habit, is still fighting the pressure put on her to eat meat, and her cousins want money. Her cousin Jared is the typical bully - forcing her to pose for the artist for money with no regards whatsoever for Ivy herself, who is determined to escape.

In addition to this, the artist's jealous mother wants rid of her, and will go to any lengths whatsoever to have her son's model out of the picture (excuse the pun)

But, just as the plot culminates, Carroty Kate turns up again - although not quite as Ivy remembered her . . .

I loved this book. It has a mysterious plot that unravels itself as it goes along, dredging up secrets from the past that could not possibly have been anticipated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!!! 12 July 2009
A Kid's Review
I just finished this one last night, and I was really impressed, Ivy was a funny, dramatic historical novel with an excellent heroine and many other mysterious, sometimes even dangerous supporting characters.

Ivy is in danger, but she doesn't know it yet.

Ivy has been spotted in a rough part of London by Oscar Aretino Frosdick, a rich pre-Raphaelite painter, but Ivy is a girl with a past. No amount of laudanum can block her memories of helping lure wealthy children down alley so that carroty Kate, a "skinner", could strip them of their clothes and jewels.

Realising quickly that Oscar has more money than sense, Ivy's greedy cousins order her to sit for him and to do anything her asks. But there nice little earner has more sinister consequences. Oscar's jealous mother is determined to rid her son of his beautiful model and Oscars famous neighbour wants Ivy for himself....

It was one of the best books I read so far from my pile from my birthday, really good, I cant wait to read Hazel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so well written 21 Jun 2013
By Lotte
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As this was in the 'teen' section, I was expecting to read a basic novel historic type novel about the PRB, but its really well structured, and i was really enjoying it, until it ended, by that i mean... it just ended, i think your supposed to assume there is some sort of metaphor in ivy's exit in the last chapter as indication to what happens next, but i felt a little bit cheated having invested some emotion into the story. As for the Epilogue, i have one word: cringe! But having said all that, it one of the most pleasing novels i've read in a while, recommend to any one who likes pRB art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read. 2 Feb 2009
I enjoyed this book way more than I expected too after I found it in my local library, I have only read a few historical novels but after this, The Luxe series and Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy I will certainly read more.
The story starts with Ivy as a young girl of around 5, she is living with her cousins after being orphaned and she gets spotted when out one day by a woman named Carroty Kate who lures Ivy and uses her to attract other young children who she then robs of there belongings.
We then go to Ivys teenage years where she has again been spotted by an artist named Oscar who wants to use her as his model for painting, it is Ivys red hair that always makes her stand out. Oscars mother is very jealous of Ivy as she was his previous muse and so she sets out to get rid of her, this is where the book becomes funny, the attempts she makes are hilairious.
There are so many twists and turns in this story and lots of other wonderful characters, I will have to check out more of Julie Hearns work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by Chas
4.0 out of 5 stars Ivy
Lovely book easy read. Would recommend. She is an expressive writer but very easy to follow story line, great holiday read.
Published 2 months ago by Gwenda Forsdyke
3.0 out of 5 stars ivy
This book was ok, it was easy to read if a little silly & childish. I would recommend to teenagers.
Published 12 months ago by Mrs Agnes Johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars ivy
i found it held me , mixing novel with fact about the time it was written in , easy to read
Published 13 months ago by lorraine how
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite
Not the best read. It starts quite well but it caused me to lose interest as I went on. I will not be in a hurry to read this author again.
Published 14 months ago by Princess.m
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poorly written
Oh how I wish I didn't allow myself to be seduced by the cover of a book! So it serves me right for purchasing this ill written little tome. Read more
Published 14 months ago by clairerice
2.0 out of 5 stars Is this aimed at the teenage market?
I read only about three chapters of this book; It sounded like a parody of a Dickens novel. There was also too much dialect. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Solitude
4.0 out of 5 stars good
Book was good. Only the ending seemed to be a bit abrupt. Am wondering if there is a second one out?
Published 14 months ago by karen cassidy
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit dull really
This was a well rated book and I expected more from it.it was all a bit silly really, perhaps it would have made a basis for a tv comedy. Read more
Published 14 months ago by skorpion
4.0 out of 5 stars A fair book
It was a very descriptive character read, which was enjoyable. The author made her characters come to life.
But was very disappointed in the ending not made clear.
Published 14 months ago by dzena4
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