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The Ivy Tree

Narrated by: Amy Molloy
Length: 15 hrs and 10 mins
3.8 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Summary

Mary Stewart, one of the great British storytellers of the 20th century, transports listeners to rural Northumberland for this tale of romance, ambition and deceit - a perfect fit for fans of Agatha Christie and Barbara Pym. 

Whitescar is a beautiful old house and farm situated in Roman Wall country. It will make a rich inheritance for its heirs, but in order to secure it, they enlist the help of a young woman named Mary who bears remarkable resemblance to missing Whitescar heiress Annabel Winslow. Their deception will spark a powder keg of ambition, obsession and long-dead love. 

The ivy had reached for the tree and only the tree's upper branches managed to thrust the young gold leaves of early summer through the strangling curtain. Eventually the ivy would kill it....

©1961 Mary Stewart (P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic reviews

"There are few to equal Mary Stewart." (Daily Telegraph)

"Mary Stewart is magic." (New York Times)

"One of the great British storytellers of the 20th century." (Independent)

What listeners say about The Ivy Tree

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

So disappointing

A real poor narrator. Completely spoiled an old favourite. I was so looking forward to this but every chapter is a struggle. Such a shame. I am hoping to eventually manage to get to the end, have to keep rewinding.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story but .......

Oh dear what a pity that such a good story is marred by poor pronunciation of certain ‘Northumbrian’ words/place names. If ‘Annabel’ had turned up and talked about ‘BellingHam’ and referred to the the neighbour as ‘FenWick’ there would have been no story as she would have been instantly ‘outed’. ‘Annabel’ would have known without being told that the village is pronounced as ‘BellingJM’ and the neighbour’s name as ‘FeNik’. So an otherwise good reading is marred by lack of attention to detail and poor basic research.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Oh dear... it's such a brilliant book

I'm not sure where to start... with the simultaneous release of 4 well loved Mary Stewart novels I listened in order on the 'save the best till last' principle, I've already heard The Moon-Spinners and The Gabriel Hounds, moving to this and finishing with My Brother Michael. Never did I imagine I might even consider returning a Mary Stewart... So can I ask a question? Looked at logically, a young man, Connor Winslow, grows up in Ireland, moves to Northumberland in his late teens and at the age of 30 still has his Irish accent. Fair enough, because speech patterns are normally set in our early years. So why would a young woman, born and brought up in Northumberland, leave home in her late teens and return after only 8 years with a slow transatlantic droning voice and an inability to remember how to pronounce the local place names? Doesn't compute, does it? But that's what we are supposed to accept. A slight Canadian accent can be justified in the early incarnation of Mary Grey - but not in the later chapters; and this isn't slight I can't entirely blame the narrator. Somebody else made the editorial decision to make this narration a slow emotionless monotone with an accent that doesn't fit the character. Sometimes I think these studios push the narrations through on a conveyor belt without anyone concerned actually knowing anything about the books. And to be fair to her, Amy Molloy makes a pretty good attempt at some of the other voices, though not all. Connor, Lisa, Mrs Bates, Grandfather - they are all distinctive and she even has a fair go at the Geordie accent early on in the cafe, and that is a really difficult thing to pull off. It's with these other voices that any trace of emotion and spark of life comes in. With Mary / Annabel it remains a slow monotonous drawl and it really drags.. One tip - listening on a Kindle it does improve a bit at times if you shift to x1.25 speed. But then you get a headache... Sorry but one to avoid. Such a shame. It's a brilliant book

9 people found this helpful

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Pronunciation

This book was spoiled for me by the pronunciation. I do feel it should have been ensured that the reader ( otherwise excellent) should have been able to do a Northumbrian accent, and pronounce local names like Fenwick correctly . .

1 person found this helpful

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Get the accents right, please.

A very enjoyable Mary Stewart classic and, on the whole, the restrained delivery of the narrator served to increase the slightly gothic tone to the story. However, though I understand the use of a narrator with a transatlantic accent in this particular case (main character, supposedly with Canadian accent, narrating the story), isn’t it possible to use bounce actors who can actually do English accents without making a mess of them. The Northumbrian characters all speak with a garbled Yorkshire twang, and those who are supposed to be “Geordies” have some lamentable twisted version of Liverpudlian Scouse.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

I was delighted to find Mary Stewart on Audible and am very greedily making my way through them starting with The Ivy Tree as one of my favourites. I agree with some other reviewers that the narration was not perfect but after the first few minutes I really didn’t care and honestly it wasn’t that bad anyway.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kat Harrison
  • 20-08-19

Narrator ruined one of my favorite books

Narrator boring, slow and terrible accent. Sped it up and made it better but still disappointing.

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • L. Nash
  • 19-08-19

Narrator should be reading Pooh, not mystery

Need narrator who gives a good interpretation, and reflects it in her reading. She bored me to death.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary B.
  • 20-08-19

Very poor narration

Why did the publisher choose such a poor (and apparently inexperienced) narrator? Ugly accent, sounds US American, not really either Canadian or British. I have purchased several other of the new Mary Stewart books, including This Rough Magic, which I think is the best of all, and the narration was much better

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • STEPHANIE L HOLLAWAY
  • 29-08-19

Poor Narrator

This is a fantastic book written by Mary Stewart. I have read it countless times. I would say it is my favorite of her books. However, the narrator is not very good. She basically just reads the book. Very little change in voice. Not enough emotion is conveyed by the narrator. She does not do the book justice.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Leslie O'Connor
  • 18-08-19

Ms Stewart is quite the wordsmith

I loved this book. Ms Stewart has such a gift for describing the setting....you feel as though you are physically there with the main characters. Amazing story, well crafted from beginning to end.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-08-20

Narrator's accent took away from the story

I had already read this book a number of times, but was looking forward to hearing it on Audible. I had listened to 11 of Mary Stewart's books before listening to this one. Each of the narrators had added to the experience of listening to the reading of much loved stories. Their voices had enhanced the stories, making me enjoy them even more than when I had read them by myself in the past. This narrator, however, broke the pattern of pleasure. First of all, the accent of the main character was odd and inconsistent. I normally feel sad when a good book comes to an end, but this time, I felt relief. It was shame because it did not do justice to a very good author. Second, the pace was laborious, and the rhythm of speech for the "Canadian" accent was off. It would have been so much better for the entire reading to have been done without this switching back and forth between Scottish, Irish, English, and Canadian accents,

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • B Reader
  • 21-06-20

Dated and a bit overlong

I loved Mary Stewart's works when I was young. Listening now I see that her portrayal of women, at least in this novel is silly and ineffectual. Stewart makes quite a few uses of "well, she's a woman after all," to describe weak character, poor decision making and general stupid behavior. I hadn't noticed this when I was young, but it's quite evident now that I'm 57. The narrator tried, but didn't manage to convey urgency. Her voice was slow and melancholy throughout. The attempts at accents were distracting. Sometimes it's better for narrators not to try.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-11-19

Hauntingly Lovely

I'm in not sure I've ever enjoyed a narrated book so much. I have loved Mary Stewart for over 50 years, but Amy Molloy took it to an entirely new level. She Told the story rather read it. I was entranced.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Isabel Rose
  • 15-10-19

As nuanced as Mary Stewart gets

This book has evocative descriptions, unforeseeable plot twists and only a minimum of coincidence...classic Mary Stewart.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Deborah McCormick
  • 14-09-19

I have loved this story since I was a young teen. It is a beautifully crafted story!

I have loved this story since I was a young teen. It is a skillfully crafted story that intrigues both the emotions and the intellect. I did note a few differences between that hardback book I read so many times and the audio version and wondered if I had dropped into another time string or something mystical like that. The audio was great, however, and beautifully performed. I highly recommend it!

1 person found this helpful