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Ivy Hardcover – June 17, 2008
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—In true Dickensian manner, this atmospheric, richly detailed story takes readers from the slums to the upper-class locales of mid-1800s London. Ivy is a victim throughout much of the book, trying to escape villains who seek her demise. Orphaned and living with uncaring relatives, she runs away at the age of five, after bad experiences during her first day at school. Lost, she is lured by Carroty Kate into a gang of thieves, where she becomes addicted to laudanum. Ten years later, Ivy is back with her family, who profit from her work as a model for a pre-Raphaelite artist with an evil, jealous mother. In a fog of addiction, Ivy lives at the mercy of her circumstances until she is finally able to take charge of her future. Quirky characters, darkly humorous situations, and quick action make this enjoyable historical fiction. An afterword about Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his wife Lizzie Siddal as the inspiration for this novel is included.—Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Hearn (The Minister’s Daughter, 2005) pulls off an intriguing, Dickensian tale that combines authentic nineteenth-century period detail with well-developed, credible characters and an out-of-the-ordinary setting—the Pre-Raphaelite art world. London slum-dweller Ivy was kidnapped at five, on her first and only day of school, by a small band of gentle thieves. She returned home a few years later, a laudanum addict. At 15, she’s roused from her typical drugged state in order to earn money as a painter’s model, at which point the adventure goes full throttle: the painter’s mother is jealous enough to try both poison and imprisonment to do away with Ivy; the painter himself is so self-centered that he only notices Ivy’s physical strikingness, not any of her social or emotional needs. Eventually, Ivy eschews her laudanum in order to take control of her life, which, in spite of a bad beginning proceeds promisingly—with some help from the thieves introduced earlier. Fans of Eleanor Updale’s books will immediately take to this tale of Victorian trials, tribulations, and scamps. Grades 8-10. --Francisca Goldsmith
Top customer reviews
Hearn is skilled at getting the right pitch of language, setting, and action to combine in an irresistible blend of temptation that sucks in the reader and doesn't let go. Ivy has it all. Readers and fans of the Victorian era will certainly want to read this novel. I swear Hearn channelled Charles Dickens through out the novel - it's that good!
Ivy is a poor girl living in Victorian England, has a bad day at school and runs away. She falls in with some unsavory characters that introduce her to Laudanam. Several years later, after reuniting with her family, Ivy is an addict. She falls into a modeling job for an artist. What I loved was how Hearn shows how the Victorian art world had a revival of sorts with Ophelia. A lot of paintings depicting Ophelia were made in this time period, but I loved how the author uses this knowledge, then adds a twist to help give Ivy a major realization.
Trust me - if you like the Victorian era or the themes of the time, then you should pick up this book! (The subject matter is serious, but the results are tame due to the fact that this is YA fiction).
Laudanam, Ophelia, art, petticoats, adventure - everything is in this novel.
Oh, and tea! Did I mention there is tea?!
I first chose it as it was basically my namesake, I am after all "Ivy Vine" and also a true redhead. This was one of the first picks available to me from my very first Amazon Vine Newsletter, and I took it as fate that I needed to choose it.
After having been homeless in America in the last 10 years, it was interesting to see the viewpoints and everyday living for those in England in the past (the 1600's I think, though I could be very off with that date). Especially when dealing with poverty and how whole families had to try and survive from the smallest amount of income or "help".
This book was written for teens, and it keeps the historical aspects to a nice simple language, to try and not frighten off those like me that tend to get more distracted by all that stuff than having it enhance the novel as it was intended to do. The characters are interesting, you only learn a bit about some but that's all that is required for them, though I did end up wishing that the book had continued a bit longer, and that the ending was a bit different - no mention of these bits so I don't spoil the plot for others.
All in all, I found myself wrapped up in reading this book from the moment I picked it up, and every spare minute I had was used to continue reading, so that I finished it in 2 days (with only reading 3-6 hours each day, not a whole lot as I did do other things).
It was a great read, and I might actually check out other novels by this author in the future, even though it is not something I normally read (which is usually mostly Paranormal books, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller or Horror).
I recommend it to anyone that might have an interest in historical living (and dealing with poverty issues) back in England several centuries ago, but wish to have a more simple and easy read and an interesting plot to go along with it all...
Ivy reminds me of Little Dorit. But, Ivy is sexier and more fun.
You'll cheer and laugh and occasionally become indignant, but you'll have fun following her around.
Must admit, though, I've always had a weakness for the red-headed muse. Will be my downfall I'm afraid. Much safer to adore this fictional character.
I enjoyed the way the author played with some of the traits of Dicken's books; for one thing, there are some wonderful names here: Mrs. Hortense Merryfield (who is anything but merry) and Mrs. Christiana Larrington for a start. And then there are the chapter headings: my favorite perhaps was "Chapter 2: In which Mrs. Larrington Suffers in a rather Extremely Confined Space.
Given the cover, and some of the rather sexual aspects in the book, I would suggest parents consider their children's maturity level in regards to this book. That being said - if your child has read Twist, he'll have no trouble here. And if she hasn't, I would suspect that after reading this, she'd have no trouble at all with it!
Oh, and even tho its a YA book, I'd highly recommend it to those not quite so young. Its a fast read and rather enjoyable. The only reason I did not give it a five is that those are reserved that for the top of the top. This was a good read, and a well deserved four star.