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Ivy by Julie Hearn
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An unusual book, for sure. Somewhat Dickensian, but it feels more modern.

The writing was fast-paced, witty and clever. A very enjoyable read. ( )
  dkhiggin | Jun 25, 2017 |
This was a good book. Was an interesting read, however it was very confusing. The character development made it easy to understand most of the character's and their personalities. The one character that I never understood, however, was the main character Ivy. She did have a past that was never fully understood or explained, and she would make decisions and take courses of action that I never thought that she would. This confusion made the book much less appealing. Also, the ending of the book was very sudden and no one knew exactly what she had decided to do. She got from one place at the end of the book, to another in the epilogue and it was not explained how she got there. I felt as if her character development was still in process at the end and the manner in which she got from the one position in life to the other would have helped to fully develop her. Still a decent read. ( )
  theadawn | Apr 28, 2012 |
PLUS -
* An interesting though not perfect historical novel set in Victorian London. Split into two parts we follow Ivy as a child, when she finds herself taken up by a band of thieves, and then later as an older girl when she becomes a model for an aspiring Pre-Raphaelite painter.
* I enjoyed the descriptions of Victorian London, and the book was more humourous than I expected. Watch out for the episode where the lady do-gooders venture into the slums on the look out for children to help, and the painter oblivious to the discomfort of his models.

MINUS -
* I didn't find Ivy a particularly likeable character, and as a result didn't feel all that bothered about what happened to her.
* Several of the characters (Ivy's family, the painter and his mother) felt a little like charicatures which made me feel as if the historical aspects of the book didn't quite ring true.

OVERALL -
* I wanted to enjoy this, as I had liked Rowan the Strange but it just didn't quite do it for me. ( )
1 vote CaroTheLibrarian | Dec 20, 2010 |
Sometimes a girl just needs a really good work of historical fiction to ease her hectic life. Ivy by Julie Hearn was exactly what the doctor prescribed. First, there is the gorgeous cover, which actually kind of threw me. I went into the book expecting some sort of romance, just because there was a woman on the cover. Silly me. What I got in return was something much better.A quick summary before I begin to cover this book in laurels, Ivy is basically about a girl named Ivy who has been shafted by life. She was an orphan, then she went to live with some evil relatives, becomes a street criminal, picks up an addiction, and later becomes an artists model. Oh and did I mention it is set in Industrial-Era England. Oh fuck yes.I am a glutton for characters. The characters in this book are quite intriguing, there is Carroty Kate, who is sort of like Fagin in Oliver Twist, and by Oliver Twist, I actually mean the Disney film Oliver And Company. Ivy is interesting too, she's not at all what I thought she would have been. Not one bit.When it comes to prose, yes I can put up with crappy writing if it means action (I did actually like Twilight at first, after all). Hearn's writing, however, is not crappy. Actually I was quite engaged by her prose. I definitely used time I should have spent planning lessons reading this book instead. Yes, yes priorities, what are they? Despite the lack of a heartthrob (heartthrobs make me tear up when they do adorable things), I still got all weepy at the end, because I truly am a glass case of emotion.What, pray tell, did I learn from this book? Well, laudanum is a drug that makes you tired. Life as an Orphan in Industrial Era England sucks, you will fall into a crowd of seedy people, because damn it that is how it works in books. Books that are somewhat reminiscent of Charles Dickens minus hundred year old wedding cakes and singing orphans make me feel full of joy. ( )
2 vote booksandwine | Oct 7, 2010 |
Reviewed by Tasha for TeensReadToo.com

Ivy's life isn't exactly picturesque. At a very young age, she is orphaned and forced to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousins, who really can't afford to support another child. Once old enough, she is sent to school, but doesn't even last the whole day. While running from school her beautiful red hair makes Carroty Kate, a thief who literally steals the clothes off of people's backs, catch sight of her and snatch her up.

Forced into becoming a con artist, Ivy is brought into a clan of thieves where every night she is given laudanum in order to suppress the terrible nightmares she faces. Years later she escapes, fleeing back to her aunt and uncle's house. Everyday she works in order to provide for her still-struggling family, while also fighting her addiction to laudanum.

Then one day a young painter, who instantly decides that he must have her as a muse, glimpses her. Ivy and family reluctantly agree, as the money is good, and it could have its benefits. Ivy soon realizes, though, that modeling isn't what she imagined as she deals with a jealous mother, a familiar band of thieves, a persistent addiction, and a way too controlling cousin.

IVY is a great historical novel. There is so much to learn from this brilliantly written story that it was hard to see it end. Not only are there historical facts, but also some life lessons that still apply in modern times.

Ivy was by far one of the more interesting characters that I've ever read about. She has many quirks and led a terrible life. It was great to see a fully-developed character whose personality, however weird it may be, shone throughout the story. I really liked how Ivy was so mature for most of the story, but still had a childlike aspect to her when the reader found out how much of a passion she had for animals. She was so excited by the fact of getting to work with dogs that at one point in the story it almost seemed like she had transformed herself into a girl who hadn't had any hardships.

I also really liked how Ivy learned that modeling wasn't the best thing. Even though the story is set in Victorian England, Ivy still faces the problem of dealing with jealousy and not being good enough, which is something I'm sure many people in this day and age can relate to, as well. She also shows people how much trouble an addiction can cause, and also how hard it is to break it.

Overall, Julie Hearn did a great job recreating a very real Victorian England. Fans of historical fiction will absolutely devour this book. I am very much looking forward to reading more of Ms. Hearn's work and will definitely recommend this book to many. ( )
1 vote | GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
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Epigraph
One face looks out from all his canvasses,

One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans;

We found her hidden just behind those screens,

That mirror gave back all her loveliness.

A queen in opal or in ruby dress,

A nameless girl in freshest summer greens,

A saint, an angel; -- every canvas means

The same one meaning, neither more nor less.

He feeds upon her face by day and night,

And she with true kind eyes looks back on him

Fair as the moon and joyful as the light.

-- from "In an Artist's Studio" by Christina G. Rosetti
Dedication
For my
Mum and Dad,
with love
First words
When she was born her father took one look at her and spat into a corner.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In mid-nineteenth-century London, young, mistreated, and destitute Ivy, whose main asset is her beautiful red hair, comes to the attention of an aspiring painter of the pre-Raphaelite school of artists who, with the connivance of Ivy's unsavory family, is determined to make her his model and muse.… (more)

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