Doesn t the synopsis sound divine I thought so too I checked this book out from the library because the synopsis coupled with the cover won me over There s an ethereal sense about the girl on the cover, perhaps the curve of her cheeks that whispers of vulnerability and I m going to wax poetic until I stop myself.Okay, I m done.Anyway, the book didn t deliver as I had hoped it would It was sort of like seeing the potential, knowing it was in there but failing ultimately to find it manifested I liked the way Ivy was characterized and the other characters too were superbly delineated The villains, the supporting characters, most of them were granted the attention I love in my books.There is this painter in the book who is called The Italian Now, if you re into art and paintings, you ll probably know than me but I didn t I couldn t understand what his importance was to the story and honestly, the book ended and he still didn t seem to have gained much importance to the narrative There was no point to him So why is he granted that much importance Because he s the famous artist I think one of the Rossetti brothers, I m only familiar with Christina Rossetti and that too because of her Dear John poem and This book had sparks of brilliance that failed to materialize into a full blown fire None of the plot lines were explored to my satisfaction and the ending was just an abandonment of the narrative What happens to Ivy Why doesn t the mother get punished And what about the Italian There was no disclosure, no poetic justice or justice of any kind , there were no developments of character it seemed like a vignette albeit an extended one than a novel I am not saying that all novels have to linear or follow the pattern of a beginning, middle and end What I m saying is that when I m reading a book, I expect to take away something from it other than a lingering annoyance It is because I cared about the characters and because they were intriguing that I read the book The entire book is one giant tease Honestly Which is a pity because it could have been so much. Ivy s life is far from picturesque Orphaned at a young age, she moves in with her in laws, a poor family of scoundrels At the age of five, she runs away and finds herself an addition to a troupe of thieves, in particular, the skinner Carroty Kate In order to silence Ivy s screams in the middle of the night caused by nightmares, Kate starts giving Ivy laudanum, one drop at time.Eleven years later Ivy is back home with her family, when her bright red hair and pale beauty catches the eye of a pre Raphaelite painter, who wants her as his muse and model Ivy is forced into an arrangement with the artist, Oscar Aretino Frosdick, by her bullying Cousin Jared and her invalid aunt, who desperately want the money But not everyone is happy with this, including Ivy who escapes through her addiction and Frosdick s jealous mother Ivy must now decide what she wants from her life, only made difficult when her past comes back to haunt her I really enjoyed this book I love books set in London, particularly the Victorian era, so this book definitely was a treat I loved how this book was romantic, but not in the traditional girl loves boy kind of way The intentionally anachronistic writing oozed charm and humor, and the chapter headings were great An example is Chapter Twenty five In Which Oscar s Physical Well Being Is Once Again at Risk The plot was very Dickensian, and I couldn t help comparing it to Oliver Twist in my mind The characters were quirky, and Ivy was a good protagonist She had flaws and strengths I liked how despite everything she has been through, she still maintained a childlike fascination with animals I do recommend this book and it s beautiful cover art I went in expecting some typical rags to riches romance, but was pleasantly surprised. I have no idea what was going on with this book Every time I thought it was going to be one thing, it veered in a completely different direction It had all the essential ingredients of a Victorian melodrama an orphaned heroine, a den of thieves, laudanum addiction, pre Raphaelite painters but it was so bizarre, and the writing so clunky, that it left me completely cold I felt alienated from Ivy, who was very difficult to warm to I found her vegetarianism unbelievable as if a starving child would refuse to eat meat , along with her miraculous recovery from her 10 year plus laudanum addiction After going cold turkey she had one day of withdrawal symptoms, and was completely fine by the second day Yeah, right And god, how annoying was the ending Nothing was resolved Don t even get me started on the identity of Carroty Kate Also, what was up with constantly referring to Dante Gabriel Rossetti as the Italian I don t get why Julie Hearn felt she had to be so coy, as a any idiot could guess his identity, and b Lizzie Siddal was mentioned by name several times And excuse me, but what was all that about Rossetti having poor hygiene and a stomach the size of a bolster I ve seen Desperate Romantics, okay Rossetti looked exactly like Aidan Turner This is a historical fact. I hate reading books out of order, so when I realized I had read Hazel, about Ivy s daughter, I had to rush to the library electronically speaking to order this earlier book I read it last night when I should have been sleeping I found this book somewhat disappointing because it was all over the place dazzlingly beautiful redhead yes , neglected orphan yes , abusive family yes , abusive teacher yes , Victorian do gooders yes , bands of thieves yes , drug addiction yes, laudanum , artists yes , artist s models yes , jealous mothers yes , murderous pythons yes , cross dresser this was unexpected, not necessary, and not very convincing.Several things puzzled me 1 Ivy is a vegetarian in approximately 1890 Would an illiterate five year old growing up in a slum around the turn of the century boycott meat unlikely she would have had much opportunity to eat meat in the first place I realize there were vegetarians in Victorian England but I question whether Ivy would really have been aware of what she was eating other than that there wasn t enough of it She does have a weird affinity with animals but is otherwise fairly cold, both in this book and in Hazel This is not surprising, given her violent childhood but it makes for an odd heroine.2 Ivy becomes addicted to laudanum when she is 5 7 years old, yet suddenly manages to detox ten years later with barely any agony at all Let alone how did this girl in the slum get so much laudanum and she wasn t selling her body which would have been plausible.3 I read this book partly because I was curious about her relationship with Hazel s father but it ends before she meets him She is about to begin working at a Home for Dogs, which we know is where he will fall in love with her, while searching for his sister s pet.Ivy is 40 50 when Hazel ends so her story may not be done but this book left me unsatisfied, especially as it was my last read of 2009. Cover Blurb Not a fan of it it leers, and it is really quite misleading about what sort of book it is I was expecting something sappy, and horribly mushy, and probably even edgy, with than one bedroom scene Yeah, my expectations were not high, and now that I ve read the book, I really think they ought to have chosen a different approach with the cover.What I Liked I love, absolutely love, Mrs Frosdick She is wonderfully horrid I am seriously jealous of the Author for coming up with her I loved how she kept trying to kill Ivy, and how very proper she was in her behavior she was worthy of Dickens Carrotey s gang was very amusing a very good nod to Fagan s boys in Oliver Twist without being too obvious And Ivy s relatives were completely awesome, conniving little crooks.What I Disliked b I did like Ivy, but I got to know so little about her personality that it really did begin to feel like the story had no protagonist I was able to see her potential, which is what kept me from getting annoyed with her, but the Author really should have given the Reader opportunity to know her I got to know all of the other characters very well and I loved them But a story will always feel hollow if there isn t a protagonist.Believability While all of the characters felt legitimate, and the Author did a superb job with accents, there were a few unconvincing things One Ivy being a vegetarian I m sorry, but if a child were starving on the streets, like Ivy, that child would get over her qualms about eating meat very quickly Two Ivy recovers from her laudanum addiction with remarkable ease, especially considering how addicted she s supposed to be She has one severe relapse which isn t even that severe in itself and that s it Sorry not buying it.Writing Style I actually really liked it While not nearly as bitingly sarcastic as Dickens it s hard to be that cynical he was a master at it , her writing follows along the same lines, and it is hilarious Unlike some people, I did like how the Author kept referring to Rossetti as simply the Italian But because it was so obvious who the Italian was, the Author shouldn t have ever said his name in the book, because then it gave an impression that the Reader was supposed to be shocked at the revelation of his identity I found the whole scene with Carrotey Kate revealing who she is was confusing and I personally didn t even understand the point behind it.Content Ivy s relatives constantly hint to Ivy that if Mr Frosdick wants Ivy to become his mistress, she should let him for a price, naturally This does lead to her relatives constantly making rather lewd jokes, but Mr Frosdick never once makes any sort of advance on Ivy, and the relatives jokes are never graphic.Conclusion To be honest, the ending was extremely anticlimactic And I thought the Author passed up a lot of opportunities to bring her story in so many different directions Like with Carrotey Kate s gang she could have done so much with them, or Ivy s time at the school, and her relatives constant scheming While the Author had rather Dickensonian characters, she missed opportunities to deepen her plotline and connect characters together that Dickens never would have And I think that if the Author hadn t passed them up, this book would have had a far interesting, far satisfying ending I did like the book Mrs Frosdick totally makes it worth reading, but I mostly saw missed possibilities in it, and for that I am sad.Recommended Audience Historical fiction fans, especially Readers who are looking for a story that has a hint of Dickensonian humor to it Don t be fooled by the cover, people it s really a very funny story Girl and guy read, fourteen and up. There is a lot of historical, though not very descriptive, passages about Victorian England the pre Raphaelite art movement, and the author s coyness about revealing the identity of the Italian gets tiresome pretty quickly, especially for those who studied English literature and was able to ascertain the name fairly early on.This is a pretty typical story of a hard luck girl who, through sheer luck and it was luck since Ivy is pretty dumb, not uneducated, though she is that, too manages to fall on her feet and literally escape to a better life The secondary characters are much interesting than the heroine They are better developed and it is easier to understand their actions and even their thought processes Either because of her laudanum addiction or just her inherent dullness, Ivy is just not that interesting As I mentioned earlier, she goes through life and finds her happiness on sheer dumb luck and not through any physical or intellectual effort of her own. When I picked this book out of my pile to read, I admit I judged the cover I thought it was going to be a cheesy love story or be about some kind of jacked up version of Poison IvyBut, I was way off Ivy is a girl living in London, with basically no one to care for her and no way of supporting her own self One day she happens to meet a skinner, a robber of small children But, this woman, this Kate takes a liking to the read headed little Ivy and devises a plan to use her She takes her in along with the rest of the band of thugs and theifs When things go wrong on a rob, Kate tells Ivy to run away to go Home She crawls back to the sham she calls a family, but not before catching the eye of an artist, a painter He pays to have her model for his pictures Things get really interesting when the Mother of said artists decides she doesn t like this model and tries to kill her left and right without her son knowing He s an idiot We wonder if Ivy can out think and dodge this mad woman or if she is truely spineless and addicted to her medicine.Sidenote London really takes a beating in this one..Eh, 3.5 stars. Hearn, Julie Ivy, 351 p Atheneum Simon , 2008 Ivy lives with her aunt and uncle and their extensive amount of children in the the slums of England during the 1800 s As a child, Ivy was taken by a gang of thieves, but returned to her uncle s home after a couple of years Now, eight years later, an artist has spied the beautiful, ethereal Ivy among the dirty streets and is determined to make her his model, not know that she comes with an addiction Something about the artist and his household and these new circumstances starts to break through Ivy s fog and she starts to begin thinking and feeling again Ivy will have enemies and she will have chances, but will she be able to make the choice I would consider this book a lighter, female version of Oliver Twist, not so much David Copperfield, with not as great a depth of description, characterization or heart Another 20 pages to shore up the happy ending would have gone a long way to make me fond of this work That being said, it is a good, light read for older students HS OPTIONAL Cindy, Library Teacher.http kissthebook.blogspot.com 2008 I started this book wanting to love it because of its subject matter since the Pre Raphaelites and Lizzie Siddal in particular are dear to my heart I m disappointed that I couldn t embrace it as much as I had hoped I can t understand why the author couldn t use Rossetti s name Repeatedly he is referred to as the Italian After the third or fourth reference, I was exasperated After reading it so many times the Italian, the Italian, the Italian it just became an intrusive element in the story The artist, Oscar Frosdick, is described twice as a member of the Pre Raphaelite elite Yet when he paints Ivy as Ophelia, he chooses the nearest roses he can find for Ophelia s flowers instead of using the actual flowers Shakespeare named in Hamlet The flowers are symbolic and no Pre Raphaelite artist would have accepted such a substitution I felt that this was s slapdash scene and is another example of how this story has great potential that it simply didn t meet.The ending, well, wasn t quite an ending Or even an explanation There are too many things left unexplained and characters left abandoned. The Only Beautiful Thing In Ivy S Drab Life Is Her Glorious Red Hair At A Young Age, Her Locks Made Her The Target Of Carroty Kate, A Skinner She Recruited Ivy To Help Her Coax Wealthy Children Away From Their Nannies So That She Could Rob Them Now She Has Been Spotted By A Famous Painter
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Ivy book, this is one of the most wanted Julie Hearn author readers around the world.
- 333 pages
- Julie Hearn
- 13 October 2018 Julie Hearn