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The Ivy Tree

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,729 Ratings  ·  331 Reviews
Alternative cover for ISBN 0340011157
Paperback, 319 pages
Published 1964 by Coronet Books (first published 1961)
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Deanna Madden Hi Kelly,
I just finished reading the Chicago Review Press paperback edition of The Ivy Tree (223 pages). The print was tightly packed on the pages, so…more
Hi Kelly,
I just finished reading the Chicago Review Press paperback edition of The Ivy Tree (223 pages). The print was tightly packed on the pages, so I can see where another version with the font larger and maybe more generous spacing between lines might easily make it a longer novel.


Community Reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Deception and hidden identity are at the heart of this 1961 Mary Stewart novel. Mary Gray travels from Canada to Northumberland in northern England,


where she's accosted on Hadrian's wall, in the middle of nowhere, by an extremely handsome but very hostile guy, Con Winslow. Con is certain that she's his long-lost relative, Annabel Winslow, and threatens her. Once she convinces him that she's not Annabel, it gradually occurs to Con that it would be very useful to him to have Mary pretend to be An
Feb 22, 2010 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: table
i admit i have a weakness for all that wuthers, so i really enjoyed this. it's got everything you need to make your own gothic romance playset, so it's a little predictable, but it's a quick read and perfectly acceptable (i.e. not to be ashamed of)escapist fiction. plus, they reissued them in these nice trees-and-moors covers, which means the old, bad romance-looking ones are gone for good. when i was reading that damn nora roberts book, i was very much aware of its physical presence. i don't ha ...more
Apr 20, 2013 Willow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, buddy-read
I’ve been kind of putting off writing a review for this. I guess it’s because I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the other Stewart books I’ve read. There was no exciting car chases or exotic locations. The hero was a real dud for me. I always felt like the author was holding information back, which always sends out lots of flags. You can always see that there is going be a big twist at the end when information is being withheld, especially when it’s in first person.

That’s not to say it was bad.
Jan 20, 2015 Hana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This might well be the most cleverly and tightly plotted of all Mary Stewart's romance-mystery novels and--alone among her novels--this is the only one with a seemingly unreliable narrator. When we first meet Mary Grey, she is enjoying the early morning sun and (of course!) having a smoke in the fine spring air near Hadrian's Wall.

The second hand smoke doesn't seem to bother the lambs.

What I loved most was the skill with which Mary Stewart kept me in suspense about who Mary really is while leadi
Apr 18, 2013 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not my personal favorite in the Stewart pantheon, The Ivy Tree is still a well executed and cleverly plotted suspense novel from the queen of romantic suspense, and deserves every one of my 4 stars. It's been a while since I first read this, so while I remembered the main jist of the story for this re-read, there was even more I had forgotten, which was ok.

It's hard to review this book, because to say almost anything about the plot or the characters might spoil the tale for new-comers. So

This is the third novel by Mary Stewart I’ve read in the past few months and my least favourite so far. It lacks in a number of departments. Firstly, although the novel is nominally set around Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, the setting could just as easily have been any rural England location with horses. Some early references to the Wall and a theme involving a search for Roman ruins provide the totality of the Northumberland scene setting. While the descriptive writing is excellent, it does
Jul 06, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, 2012
Where is Alfred Hitchcock when you need him? I think this book would have been right up his alley and would have made a marvelous movie under his direction.

I absolutely loved it. How could you not when there were passages like this:

The kitchen was a big, pleasant room, with a high ceiling, a new cream-coloured Aga stove, and long curtains that stirred in the June breeze. The floor was of red tiles, covered with those bright rugs of hooked rag that make Northern kitchens so attractive. In front
 Carol ♔ Type, Oh Queen! ♔
I have been thinking about this book this morning & my star rating veered all over the place until I finally settled on a four.

There is a lot to love about this book, especially the descriptions of scenery & mystery. & it was a page turner, that kept me interested until the end. While I wasn't sure who the heroine really was till near the finish, I also wasn't sure who the love interest was - the romance was sparse, even by Stewart's standards. In fact, two of the secondary character
Debbie Zapata
May 14, 2016 Debbie Zapata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: douglas
If you were asked to step into someone else's shoes; BE that person, could you do it? Would you do it? This was Mary Grey's first dilemma, one which she resolved by agreeing to the plot suggested by a strange woman she talked with in the town of Newcastle. But is the plan really as simple as it seems? Is Mary Grey who she says she is? Is Connor nothing more than a darkly handsome stranger or something quite different? What exactly is an ivy tree? And, most importantly, is scene-stealing Tommy re ...more
Diane Lynn
Apr 16, 2013 Diane Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I might have been alone in a painted landscape. The sky was still and blue, and the high cauliflower
clouds over to the south seemed to hang without movement."

So begins this story of impersonation set in Northumberland. Mary Grey, visitor from Canada, is mistaken for the lovely Annabel Winslow who had run away to the States eight years ago. What could have sent Annabel fleeing? That is the first question of many. Mary meets Connor Winslow, cousin to Annabel, and then Con's sister, Lisa. The th
Jackie "the Librarian"
Oct 03, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: for those who like thrillers with resourceful young women
Another Mary Stewart romantic thriller where the heroine is lovely, wears frocks, and uncovers a murderer. And it's the only place I've ever heard of "singing hinnies." I ate up these books like they were popcorn when I was a teenager.
We enter the story at Hadrian's Wall, where Mary Grey is accosted by a man who insists that he knows her, and that her name is really Annabel. Mary assures him it is not, and has the driver's license to prove it.
But that only changes the tenor of Conner's interest
Feb 22, 2015 Meep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a long time favourite of mine, read several times.

A version of 'Brat Farrar' written not long after that book ([edit]I double checked - 12years after) and with it's own twist. Mary Stewart weaves a tapestry drawing you in with poetic whimsy that brings alive the mood and moment, it took a second read to see the clues so cleverly hidden in the musings. It's the writing that raises this from a simple mystery to something special, almost mystical in places.

There's a timeless quality to it a
THE IVY TREE (Suspense, Mary Grey/Annabel Winslow-England-cont) - Ex
Stewart, Mary – Standalone
Hodder & Stoughton, 1961, UK Hardcover
First Sentence: I might have been alone in a painted landscape.
*** Annabel Winslow has been dead for four years. Mary Grey, over from Canada, looks enough like Annabel to be her twin. When Conner, foreman at Whitescar, stumbles upon her, it takes a bit of convincing that she is Mary. Con, and his half-sister, Lisa, work up a plan for Mary to pretend to be the m
Mar 26, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, mystery
Possibly my favourite Mary Stewart so far -- and the last of her mystery/romances, which is possibly why. Gah, I can't believe I have no more to look forward to. I accidentally spoilered myself as to the end of this one, but that was okay because the narration is clever enough that I just spent the time trying to catch Mary/Annabel out.

I wish I knew what it was that makes Mary Stewart's mystery/romances work for me, but I can't really put my finger on it. Something about the atmosphere, the char
I'll always have a soft spot for this author's wonderful work. This is a quietly paced cozy mystery, wonderful for time and place. Set in the isolated bleakness of Northumberland it involves a missing heiress who suddenly returns under a cloud of mystery.

Whilst I don't think it is as strong as some of Mary Stewart's other books, it's still an engaging read. I enjoyed that it was not revealed who Annabel Winslow really was until the final pages. I also liked that the hero wasn't quite as clear cu
Mike Debaptiste
by Mary Stewart
William Morrow 1961

This is a classic that will still be in print 100 years from now. I've read it several times, and also the UK edition, which is slightly different. The Morrow U.S. edition and following reprints cut out an entire chapter and a major plot point that really does add more depth to the story. You really have not read this book until you've read the original UK edition. From the 1961 hardback dust jacket:

"Mary Grey had come from Canada to the land of her
May 07, 2016 Suzannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, mystery
Reread May 8, 2016. This was the book that got me hooked on Mary Stewart and it actually improved on second reading. Still one of her best, with exquisitely-constructed suspense, a thoroughly memorable plot twist, a wonderfully three-dimensional villain, and some great themes about doing the right thing rather than the thing your heart leads you to do, with far more of a sense of Providence and morality than I've found in Stewart's other works. This is also definitely a book you have to read at ...more
Michael Sorensen
May 19, 2008 Michael Sorensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-favorites
I read this book while sitting on Hadrian's Wall in Great Britain (and got soaked for my troubles during the Hexham Fair later that week...) and so I felt right at home in the World of "The Ivy Tree" which takes place in that very place. This is a terrific suspense romance. My wife has currently read it twice since I introduced her to it last year, and I have multipled it myself several times. On my faves list.
Mar 13, 2016 Teri-k rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance-clean
Gothic romances are not a favorite genre of mine. But Mary Stewart is writer I love to read, no matter the genre she's writing in, so I was happy to get a chance to read The Ivy Tree. (Her straight rom-suspense are my favorites.)

Two of Stewart's strengths show here. First there's her ability to create characters you believe in but don't quite trust. It keeps her stories mysterious. In this book there isn't a character except the cook that I don't suspect at some point, and I think I got suspicio
Apr 03, 2010 Shayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only Stewart books I'd read before were her "Merlin" series (which I own and love). This one (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 spoil
Mar 20, 2015 Tweety rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of suspense
Recommended to Tweety by: Dorcas
I almost gave this a five but, the first half was slow and I actually figured it out momentarily.Still it was well worth the read. And I liked that it had a thrilling end. So all in all I'm glad I read it. One thing that drove me into distractions is that for the whole first half of the book Mary had as a permanent fixture a cigarette in her hand. Do you know how tiresome that is? I quite frankly could not picture her as young with that thing in her mouth. All the people I know who smoke as muc ...more
Autumn Doughton
Another enjoyable read by Mary Stewart. I'm so glad to have "discovered" her right before summer. Now I have tons of fast, fun reads for by the pool!
The Ivy House wasn't nearly as good as Nine Coaches Waiting, but it was still a very readable and intriguing mystery novel. I liked the story and the characters and the setting (England 1960s). The fault I had with the book, and the reason I could only give it 3 stars, is that I had a major problem with the first-person narrator keeping secrets from
Dec 29, 2007 Vidya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Started out okay and it had a great premise - imagine a young girl of 19 leaving her home and village suddenly and re-surfacing after 8 years... But the story suffers from too much description - the house, the farm, the horses, the gardens and also the mind games that the imposter Annabel plays - which takes away from the fast pace of the novel. And after so much build-up, it ends a little tamely.
Apr 21, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow what an ending! The twists and turns kept coming and every other chapter I changed my mind. Was she or wasn't she Annabel? I'm not saying.....but it was sure fun finding out!
Wanting to give this a 4 star, I just couldn't stretch that far. The people were so full of duplicitous reasoning, and convoluted history, that much of the dialog became too redundant and reactive for me after about the 1/2 way point. None of them seemed much like real people to me, especially the Grandfather. But it is such a closed and rather privileged world that all of them seemed like diva stars in their own plays to me, for one reason or another.

But the countryside descriptions were good
Apr 03, 2012 Nan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another one of those books I loved as a reader, years ago. These days I re-read this as a writer to see how Stewart pulls off a first-person narrative that holds a shocker at the end. As with all these suspense/thriller/romances from her early career (as opposed to her Merlin books, a different genre), our heroine is a decent, resourceful, well-adjusted young woman who has to cope with danger. The set-up is that Mary Grey of Canada is a dead ringer for the missing English heiress Annabel Winslo ...more
Oct 12, 2009 Barb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
I recently read 'Nine Coaches Waiting' by Mary Stewart and loved it. I thought I'd try another one of her books and 'The Ivy Tree' sounded the most compelling to me.

The story revolves around a case of mistaken identity. Annabel Winslow ran away eight years ago. Then one day a woman named Mary Grey comes to the area, Mary and Connor Winslow cross paths. Mary Grey looks so much like Annabel Winslow that her cousin Connor is convinced that they will be able to trick her ailing Grandfather and the
3.5 stars. Another good mystery/romantic suspense story by Mary Stewart; The Ivy Tree wasn't my favorite, but was still good. The secret about Mary was an interesting twist, but I'm not sure how plausible the whole premise was. Sometimes I feel like Stewart's books verge on insta-love, but not this one, which was a good thing. This was written in 1961 so there is an excessive amount of smoking compared to today's books and a couple of sexist lines that dated it as well, but it is a product of it ...more
The Lit Bitch
This book is an enchanting cocktail of a gothic novel and with a splash of classic film noir–two of my most styles! Of course the gothic elements are easy to recognize–crumbling castles, families fallen from grace, a doppelgänger, mistaken identity mixed with the film noir mise-en-scene–lots of smoking, seedy characters, corruption, and ‘wuthering’ shadows can’t help but engross the reader! This is different than most gothic novels in that it is set in modern day which I didn't think I would lik ...more
It seems to me that every Stewart story should have been filmed by Hitchcock. Why weren't they?

Anyway, a perfect story set near Hadrian's wall, with old estates, family conflict over inheritance, a little mystery, a lot of suspense, and some accurate and engaging scenery.

I suppose the Barbara Vine books come out of this sort of mold, as well as the Mary Higgins Clark books.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.

She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she
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