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The Ivy Tree [Paperback]

Mary Stewart
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 2007
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.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Reprint edition (Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527265
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.1 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,593,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Stewart, one of our most popular novelists, was born in Sunderland, County Durham and lives in the West Highlands. Her first novel, MADAM, WILL YOU TALK? was published in 1955 and marked the beginning of a long and acclaimed writing career. All her novels have been bestsellers on both sides of the Atlantic. Her book for younger readers, THE LITTLE BROOMSTICK, LUDO AND THE STAR HORSE, and A WALK IN WOLF WOOD, quickly met with the success of her other novels. In 1971 she was awarded the International PEN Association's Frederick Niven Prize for THE CRYSTAL CAVE, and in 1974 the Scottish Arts Council Award for LUDO AND THE STAR HORSE.

Product Description


The Ivy Tree has the ideal thriller blend of plot, suspense, character drawing and good writing (Daily Express)

Mary Stewart harvests a rewarding field. Her credible heroines get caught up in credible adventures; her place is deceptively gentle; her atmosphere perfect (Evening Standard)

She set the bench mark for pace, suspense and romance - with a great dollop of escapism as the icing (Elizabeth Buchan)

A comfortable chair and a Mary Stewart: total heaven. I'd rather read her than most other authors. (Harriet Evans) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A classic mystery of deception and suspense - reissued in stunning new series look --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good tale 23 May 2012
By Dolphin TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
To my mind, this is one of Mary Stewart's best works, although inevitably it reflects the views and attitudes of the time in which it was written, as well as some very deep-seated provincial prejudice that might surprise the modern reader. The novel opens on a sunny, warm day in spring with our heroine contemplating the beautiful panorama of fields and farms from somewhere along Hadrian's Wall (not far from Newcastle, in the north of England). However, the peace of this idyllic scene is very quickly shattered by the arrival of a voluble and compelling young man with a secret obsession. The story moves along at first at a leisurely pace, as connections are made and the blocks of a complex deception are carefully stacked into place. There is a clear reference to Brat Farrar and that is recommendation enough for me ... I have already bought a copy and will be reading it next.

Lady Stewart deftly incorporates archaeological and geological elements (on which subjects she is particularly well versed), and the descriptions of the Northumberland countryside are lyrically exquisite, but is it really always that warm and sunny in June? Apparently not, as the story, gradually building in pace and intensity, mirrors the development of a weather front which eventually explodes into a devastating summer thunderstorm and, suddenly, everything happens at once. From this point onwards, the book becomes a page-turner and I'm finding that even now, on my fourth reading, I can barely put it down.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intricately plotted mystery 4 May 2011
"The Ivy Tree", first 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 unravelled it early on, but that did not spoil the pleasure of reading), this is a thoroughly good yarn.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but not fantastic 7 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of Mary Stewart in many ways; this book is good, but I don't think it's quite one of her best. The plot is interesting, with some quite subtle psychological repositioning going on all the way through, as the truth gradually reveals itself, but in this novel her calmness lets Mary down. If Daphne du Maurier had written this, it would be a suspense-laden classic: in Mary's hands, it's somehow fallen slightly on its nose. Still, great fun for a holiday or the beach - and the twists do keep coming, even if you're sure they're all out.
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3.0 out of 5 stars not the best mary stewart novel 27 Feb 2014
By sheila
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really couldn't 'get into' this book I like Mary Stewart normally,her style is really readable. This book was a unremarkable from the start and I haven't finished it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite author ever! 25 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of Mary Stewart's best novels, as good today as when I first read it many decades ago. Very few novellists evoke the atmosphere of a place as well as Mary, this one is set in Hadrian's Wall country which I am familiar with. Well written and fast paced.
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1.0 out of 5 stars drivel 11 Dec 2013
By pgh
Wouldn't publish my last review so here goes again. This book must be one of the ancestors of the 'Mills and Boon' series. never read one of those but pretty sure its this type of thing. How an author can write a plot line where you are totally led to believe one thing only to turn everything on its head without any clues because the plot is so unbelievably weak is infuriating. Obsessed with moody stereotypes and what they are wearing, i can only think this thin romantic rubbish was aimed at a certain female audience way back when. Only bought it because it the author was recommended and It was supposedly set in lovely Northumberland, totaly dissapointed . It was like watching a really bad tv who- dunnit. Who cares
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect 24 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another brilliant Mary Stewart novel. I love her books full of mystery and suspense and always a twist at the end. Perfect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Read 22 Jun 2011
By Ann M
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The novel owes much to the excellent Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey in that it is concerned with impersonation. It is set in the beautiful Northumberland countryside near Hadrian's Wall where Mary Gray from Canada, whose forbears come from the area, meets Con Winslow. He persuades her to impersonate his missing cousin Annabel in order to help him inherit the property Whitescar which he runs for his uncle. The characters are well drawn and there is plenty of suspense and action. Altogether a gripping read.
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