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The Ivy Tree (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – July, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


"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 Inside Flap

A trick of coloring...Her walk...The way she smiled. If Mary Grey looked so much like the missing heiress, why should she not be an heiress? To the lonely young woman living in a dreary furnished room, faced with an uncertain future, the impersonation offered intriguing possibilities.

And so plain Mary Grey became the glamorous Annabel Winslow. But she did not live happily ever after. In fact, she almost did not live at all. Because someone wanted Annabel missing...permanently. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Rediscovered Classics
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527265
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mart Stewart, one of the most popular novelists writing today, was born in Sunderland, County Durham, England. After boarding-school, she recieved a B.A. with first class honors in English Language and Literature from Durham University and went on for her M.A. Later she returned to her own University as a Lecturer in English. She married in 1945. Her husband is Sir Frederick Stewart, who is Chairman of the Geology Department at Edinburgh University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society.Mary Stewart's career as a novelist began in 1954 with the publication of Madam, Will You Talk? Since then she has published fifteen successful novels, including The Last Enchantment, the third book of the magical trilogy about the legendary enchanter Merlin and young Arthur. Her books for young readers, The Little Broomstick (1971) and Ludo and the Star Horse (1974), quickly met with the same success as her other novels. In 1968, she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. In 1971, the Scottish Chapter of the International PEN Association awarded her the Frederick Niven prize for the The Crystal Cave. In 1974, the Scottish Arts Council Award went to Ludo and the Star Horse.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Diana Faillace Von Behren TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 22, 2002
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.
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Granger on September 15, 2004
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.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1999
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!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on April 4, 2006
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.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By earlbarb@rconnect.com on November 6, 1997
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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