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The Ivy Tree

Narrated by: Amy Molloy
Length: 15 hrs and 10 mins
3 out of 5 stars (5 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 members say

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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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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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
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 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...
Such a shame. It's a brilliant book

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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful