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The Ivy Tree [Paperback]

Mary Stewart
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 13.95
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2007
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!” And there stood one of the angriest, most threatening young men Mary had ever seen. His name was Connor Winslow, and Mary quickly discovered that he thought she was his cousin—a girl supposedly dead these past eight years. Alive, she would be heiress to an inheritance Connor was determined to have for himself. This remarkably atmospheric novel is one of bestselling-author Mary Stewart’s richest, most tantalizing, and most surprising efforts, proving her a rare master of the genre.

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Review

"Throughout the intricacies of plot within plot, Mary Stewart keeps her readers guessing and sustains the suspense . . . This tale spinner is still supreme."  —Kirkus Reviews


"This involved novel of impersonation and inheritance reads like Daphne Du Maurier . . . The author's easy narrative style, her vivid descriptions of the Northumberland countryside, the sharp delineation of her characters, and her impeccable good taste guarantee satisfaction to fans of the genre."  —Library Journal


“It’s hard to think of anyone more insistently readable than Mary Stewart; The Ivy Tree is as un-put-downable as any of her previous novels . . . No one writes the damsel-in-distress tale with greater charm or urgency."  —The New York Times Book Review


“Perils await every turning page.”  —Washington Post


"The story moves with a fine pace of suspense and holds all the elements of a mystery tale. Equally rewarding is Miss Stewart's love for the English countryside and for horses which shines through her polished writing."  —New York Herald Tribune

From the Back Cover

"Exciting."--The Christian Science Monitor

"Perils await every turning page." -- The Washington Post --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
This book was a really great book. It had the perfect classic plot with a great twist. The ending was cool and the charector's were well developed. Mary Stewart is a good auther and a great inspiration.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less typical of Mary Stewart Feb. 28 2010
By Me3
Format:Paperback
I am re-reading all the Mary Stewart books - a long-time favourite author of mine. This story is a little different in that her main character does NOT appear to be her typical really likable, admirable young woman of sterling character. I also knew the villan right away which is something I do not like. This put me off a bit. But since this was the last one of Stewart's books was reading, I continued. The story is interesting and is well told. The main character turns out to be a nice person after all. The other Amazon comment about the 'Mary Grey' is incorrect, it is well explained but I dislike ruining the story for someone who has not yet read the book. This book was written in 1961 - too much smoking and a cell phone would have solved a lot of problems but still a very good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Always good May 22 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have yet to read anything by Mary Stewart that I didn't like. She always tells a great story well, would recommend her highly.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book March 22 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked this book a lot, and according to the other revews, I'm not alone. It was suspenseful with a great plot with a little romance thrown in. My only problem- I guess I'm the only one who didn't understand this- is the relationship between Annabel and Mary Grey... Those of you who have read this will know what I mean, but it went completely over my head. Anyway, it was a great book otherwise and I recommend it to anyone.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  63 reviews
123 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intricately Plotted Literary Thriller Oct. 22 2002
By Diana F. Von Behren - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
For those of you who enjoy straight-out romance, or the Nora Roberts brand of a little suspense thrown in with a lot of romance, Mary Stewart is not the author for you. Stewart requires indepth reading, her plots are intricate, her characterizations strong. She is incomparable; her words are literature. Although descriptions abound, there is not any graphically detailed sex, so if this is not your cup of tea, read no further and look for another selection.
This particular book does not fit into any of the usual Stewart categories----the great chase as in 'Madam Will You Talk?', the closed room police procedural as in 'Wildfire at Midnight' or the Evil Relative with Nefarious Intentions as in 'Nine Coaches Waiting'----rather, it is a story of impersonation. . . and one of Stewart's best offerings in terms of just about everything: plot, tone, description, dialogue, characterization etc.
Mary Grey accepts a 'job',posing as Annabel Winslow, the long-lost cousin and heiress to Whitescar, a lucrative North England working farm---her employer, her 'cousin' Con has much to gain once Annabel's cantankerous old grandfather passes on. At first, after careful schooling by Con and his half-sister, Lisa, Mary takes to her new position smoothly, easily edging her way into life on the farm with a barrage of lies that seem to be second nature to her. No one doubts her identity until she discovers the presence of an unknown lover that may blow her cover. The real reason Annabel Winslow left Whitescar eight years earlier hits the reader with tour de force revelation which Stewart masterfully manipulates.
I won't spoil the story any further. It must be read slowly and savored like a good $100+ bottle of wine. The language is glorious,meant to be read aloud. The words paint wonderfully lush and powerful images of life in the north country. The characters likewise are finely drawn, flesh and blood human beings whose emotions thunder off the pages with the same potent electric charge of lightning that finally splits the old ivy tree in two towards the end of the story. Even the secondary characters are not to be missed. Mrs. Bates with her nosy northerner's distrust of anything 'London', Julie, the pettish young adult who is Annabel's mirror image, and Donald Seton, the stuffy, but warm-hearted Scot archaeologist with a soft spot for the greedy cat Tommy and his litter of kittens. Even the colt, Rowan, has a personality all his own; Stewart knows and loves her animals and this like all her other novels is a tribute to the creatures and places she loves best.
I have read and listened to this book over and over again. Each time, even though I know the ending, I find new techniques to ponder and wonder over. Stewart is simply fantastic; shame on anyone who prefers lesser works to her masterpieces.
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Question of Identity Sept. 15 2004
By Sarah Granger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you want to discover how perfectly plotted this book is, you must read it at least twice. You will be stunned by the clues that are there from the beginning (starting with the opening paragraphs) and sprinkled throughout the text. Over and over again, the answers are there - hiding in plain sight.

Of all the Mary Stewart mysteries (and I have loved them all), this has long been my favorite. I have always been drawn to questions of identity (from fictional characters like Josephine Tey's Bratt Farrar to Anna Anderson's claim to be Anastasia).

This is a quiet book, haunting in it's depiction of loss - a grandfather's loss of a favorite granddaughter; a woman's loss of place and name; a lover's loss - of promises, of time; a man's loss of wife and health. And a lost note, the delivery of which might have changed much of what ensued.

The echoes of the past build and build until they crash resoundingly into the present and affect all of the lives of all of those around Whitescar.

Read it through, and then re-read the first couple pages. It was all right there to begin with.
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Mary Stewart novels! June 23 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read and reread this book so many times! I already know the plot but the descriptions and dialogue are really enjoyable. The atmosphere the author creates is so indefinably romantic and enjoyable, I don't know how the author does it but I am grateful, I only wish there were even more of her books out there, if anyone is looking for more Mary Stewart check out Madame, Will You Talk, Nine Coaches Waiting, Wildfire at Midnight, Airs Above The Ground, Touch Not the Cat, and My Brother Michael, they are also incredible!
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who are you? April 4 2006
By Jeanne Tassotto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As the story opens Mary Grey is enjoying her day off taking in the local tourist sights near her new home. She has recently left her native Canada to return to Northumberland where her greatgrand parents had been born. Suddenly a young man confronts her, calling her Annabel and insisting that she is his cousin who disappeared eight years earlier. Mary manages to convince him of her identity but soon finds herself embroiled in a plot to impersonate the missing Annabel in her family home, Whitescar.

Gradually it becomes apparent that all is not quite as it seems, everyone there seems to have a secret, her Grandfather has not disclosed who will inherit the family farm, 'cousin' Con has not revealed the depths of his ambition, the missing Annabel left behind secrets when she fled, even the estate itself has been keeping things hidden. Eventually all is revealed with the usual Stewart flair for drama and romance.

This 40+ year old book has aged well. There are some references that place it firmly in the early '60's, for example, a cell phone would have eliminated much of the tension, it is still a thoroughly enjoyable story, very reminiscent of BRAT FARAR. As usual with Stewart's work the setting and characters all come to life. The plot is cleverly handled, the clues to the mysteries are all there for the reader to follow but so subtly done that it will be a very rare reader who does not get at least a few surprises along the way including true identities of more than one character.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Stewart at her best--A flawless English mystery Nov. 6 1997
By earlbarb@rconnect.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Among Mary Stewart's books, and I have read most of them, this would probably be known as a "sleeper." However, having read it through three times plus scanning it several other times, I feel it is one of her best! The first time I read it I was aghast at first because Mary Stewart's heroines were always very moral women--the stuff good role models ate made of. Mary Grey doesn't seem to fit the role! After the first time I read it I had to go to England and see the area where the book was set. However, my husband wasn't as eager as I was to search out the setting and I came home disappointed.
Seven years later, after having my husband read it and reading it twice more myself, we returned to England, and this time found Crag Lough by Hadrian's Wall, where the book opens. We tried to imagine which of the farms we could see from there was Whitescar and where Forrest Hall would have been.
I have searched the book several times for looking for flaws, but it is perfectly executed. Like all good mysteries she does include an important clue in the very first chapter. Yet, I read the chapter four times before I found it!
This book still "haunts" me even today as I gaze at the pictures we took of Crag Lough and Hadrian's Wall. Originally published in 1961, it is as exciting today as it was when it was first published, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good suspensful romantic mystery.
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