The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart

Mary Grey has nothing to look forward to except a future as colorless as her name. So if she looks, walks, and smiles so much like the glamorous missing heiress Annabel Winslow, why not be her for a little while? (*)

Arriving in Northumberland to visit the land of her ancestors, Mary Grey was confronted by a handsome stranger mistaking her for her cousin, Annabel, whom he believed was dead for years. Now she was presented by a most tempting offer, for her to disguise as Annabel and assume her place in Whitescar, the home of the Winslows, with Connor pulling the strings.

When I discovered Mary Stewart, I fell in love with her style of writing and the quiet charm of her heroines. It seems she likes to begin things in a certain poise, as displayed in a couple of her books. The chapter opens with Mary lounging on the Roman wall, cigarette in hand, staring out at a beatific landscape. There's a certain feel of film noir in her prose and lush descriptions, a dash of mystery, secrets and thrill in a romantic setting.

The Ivy Tree is an entertaining read albeit quite subtle in the laying out of the story. Stewart writes her characters in a somewhat suspicious nature you never know who to root for. The shadiness of the people compliments the dark and vintage feel of the atmosphere. It will keep you guessing right out to the end.


Mary Grey had come from Canada to the land of her forebears: Northumberland. As she savored the ordered, spare beauty of England’s northern fells, the silence was shattered by the shout of a single name: "Annabel!” And there stood one of the angriest, most threatening young men Mary had ever seen. His name was Connor Winslow, and Mary quickly discovered that he thought she was his cousin—a girl supposedly dead these past eight years. Alive, she would be heiress to an inheritance Connor was determined to have for himself.

Title: The Ivy Tree
Author: Mary Stewart
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Published: 2007
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Rating: ♨♨♨♨ (4 cups - It reads like straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock film. Delightful in its lyrical writing combining romance, mystery and suspense.)