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The Reinvention of Ivy Brown Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 1 Sep 2009

3.0 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books (1 Sept. 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0753142848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753142844
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Product description

Review

'What a fabulous book! The early sixties period is wonderfully evoked, while the atmosphere of foreboding makes it a gripping page turner. Find a cosy place and settle in for a great read.'
-- Imelda Staunton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Roberta Taylor's memoir Too Many Mothers sold over 250,000 copies. Her gripping first novel, now available in paperback, is a tale of love and betrayal set in the freezing winter of London in 1963.

'A lovely book... [Roberta Taylor] is such a good writer... so original and different from other people, so outspoken and yet so warm.' Jilly Cooper

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is no doubt that this book has been written by an accomplished author - the use of language is certainly descriptive even if it isn't really to my own taste. Be prepared for a liberal dose of crude and strong words.

Plot-wise it is just ok - not particularly exciting and you can already guess the ending from the very start of the book. So no surprises in store either.

Where I really felt disappointed was the characters who all came across as cold and shallow. Not truly three-dimensional and warm people like Mauve Binchy (one of my favourite authors) manages to create with ease. It simply wasn't the kind of book I like to curl up and read at the end of a long, hard day.

From the blurb about the book, I really thought I would enjoy it but sadly it just wasn't for me. I've still given it 3 stars because my opinion is not to say it's a bad book - just not something that personally appealed.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was really looking forward to reading this book and, as it had been on my wish list for a while, I was really pleased to be offered it through the Vine programme.

However, I found it a pointless and disjointed story, and it was extremely badly written. The characters were badly drawn and were not brought together properly, hence the whole thing was rather confusing at times. I was glad it's only a short book!

There was no substance to the story whatsoever and the title, The Reinvention of Ivy Brown, wasn't explained. In fact, Ivy Brown was only a character amongst many. It certainly wasn't a story about Ivy Brown and her reinvention.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anybody and was sorely disappointed with it.
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By Four Violets TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Three women, working at the same London company in the 1960's. One the 40 year old tea lady with a past; one a malevolent 30 year old typist; and one the innocent 16 year old filing clerk. Downstairs in the basement of the building is a printers where a young lad works who has a unique and ultimately disquieting, not to say tragic, relationship with each of the three; revelations about which gradually unfold as the novel switches back and forth between 1963 and 1983.

Some of the denouement I saw coming a long way off; but a few of the developments are startling although perhaps overly co-incidental.

There are wonderful flashes of originality and very nice period detail and build up of suspense; but although I read the book in four days I had to write down the names and history of several of the characters to refer to as I easily confused them. The last few chapters unfortunately seemed forced, flat and hurried; and several unanswered questions still hang in my mind, which are impossible to reveal without giving the plot away.

The book is definitely worth buying for the nostalgia evocation of the smog and cold of 1963, inky carbon paper in the typing pool, stilletos, Woodbine smoke on the top deck of the bus, Elvis, beatniks and ban the bomb. All the clues to unlock the mysteries and secrets from the past are there in the pages - but read carefully or you will miss them.

Roberta Taylor was an actress in both Eastenders and The Bill . Born in London in 1948, she has previously published a memoir, Too Many Mothers.
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By Candi Says VINE VOICE on 18 July 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Written by Roberta Taylor, who starred in Eastenders and The Bill, the story is set in 1963 and has flashes forward to 1983.

The story is centred around a building in early 60s London which is home to various businesses. It is the coldest winter in years in London. There are 3 women who are the main characters in the story. All of them work in this building and all of them are unknowingly linked to the same man who also works there. We meet the Ivy of the title, a bitter woman who is a typist, Janet a young, awkward post girl of strict upbringing and Eileen, an older tea lady who lives with her parents and is hiding a secret. The young man who brings them all together is Arthur, a handsome jack the lad who works for the printers.

Over the chapters we get to know the characters until slowly everything builds to a dramatic ending.

The book is very descriptive of the surroundings and I found myself being drawn into 60s London at a time of bad weather, protest marches, young student beatniks and typing pool dramas.

In summary I enjoyed the book very much and it was an easy read but I did feel that it had a quick ending after a long build up. I found it slightly confusing in that the description on the book seemed to centre around Ivy and how she tried to uncover secrets from Arthur. However, it was as much about the other characters as it was about her and indeed they got as much book space as she did. I also wasn't quite clear what Ivy did in the end and wasn't sure about her 'Re-Invention'.
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By Angel Delta TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Mar. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ivy Brown is a 30 year old spinster, small, ginger and plain - her large beaver lamb coat "made Ivy's little head look like a a Percy Dalton's peanut struggling to pass through the arse of a black Labrador." Ivy can't wait for her parents to die and she is lusting after Arthur, eight years her junior, with whom she has had several sexual trysts in the back of his works van.

But the advances of this unpleasant woman become unwelcome to Arthur and he has to get out of the relationship which pleases his sister, Eileen. Ivy suspects that 16 year old Janet, the repressed daughter of a Catholic family, is the focus of Arthur's attentions and she plots her revenge.

The narrative alternates between 1963 and 1983 as the origins and the consequences of the actions of Ivy, Eileen, Janet and their families unfold. There are dark secrets and dark actions.

This is London, 1963 at the end of one of the coldest winters on record. Roberta Taylor evokes the images of those days with deft prose and captures perfectly the repressions of the time and the gradual emergence of a new way of life from the austerity of the postwar years.

This is a dramatic and compelling novel and a thought provoking view of the consequences of lonliness.
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