The Ivy Tree

by Ralf
(Paris)

The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart is one of those old novels (I read it a good fifty years after it was published in 1961), in which I surprisingly found intense pleasure. The book starkly brought forth the importance of relationships and sacrifice in one’s life without sounding preachy.


The story itself is about a young Canadian woman, Mary Grey, who had come to spend some time in England, where she was noticed by a handsome man, Connor Winslow, who takes her to be his cousin, who went missing for eight years, and is presumed dead. After a sharp exchange, which oscillates between tacit threats and aggressiveness on both sides, she manages to convince him that she is not his cousin.

Connor then goes on to offer her a job, which is to pretend as Annabel Winslow, his lost cousin till their grandfather makes his will in their favor. After some hesitation, she finally accepts. The plot then goes on to explore a myriad of human emotions ranging from Love, Attachment, Loyalty, Betrayal and Determination. Every time I thought I knew what is coming next a new twist propped up keeping me engaged till the climax.

The author’s key yet subtle message regarding importance of Love, Affection and Human Relationships is something that has never left me after reading this book. The story is written in first person, the book is remarkable for the manner in which the author was able to portray the conflicting emotions of Mary Grey. There is a diabolical cleverness in the way characters and twists are introduced through the pages surprising the reader.

Finally, in addition to the plot the author has woven such a beautiful composition of characters, all remarkable, some extraordinarily engaging, and making me want to meet them... Mary Stewart is an incomparable author, in my eyes.

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