Review of Ivy by Julie Hearn

Review of Ivy by Julie HearnIvy by Julie Hearn
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2009-07-21
Genres: Art & Architecture, Europe, Historical, Homelessness & Poverty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

Ivy, the youngest in a family of thieves, con artists, and roustabouts, seems destined for an unhappy fateuntil she and her brother are plucked from their surroundings by a charitable benefactor and sent to school. From the scams of the slums, where Ivy develops an unfortunate taste for laudanum, to the gardens of the most talented artists of the age, where Ivys striking hair and incandescent eyes propel her into a career as a model, Ivy is a story of nineteenth-century sex, drugs, and rock n roll.

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 Ivy by Julie Hearn? 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.

While reading this book I suggest you drink sleepy-time tea. Well, only if you’ve just done a few shots of straight caffeine, since I don’t want you to fall asleep during this book, since it’s fantastic. But, sleepytime tea really does work on me, and if laudanum just makes you sleep for a long time, well this is as close as I can get without pushing some drugs, and you’ll see the significance of the laudanum in the book.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. HAHAHA – this review makes me cackle.

    Great job – but why do I suddenly have a hankering for sleeping pills?


  2. Now you've made me want some tea! lol

    I love the cover of Ivy. I'll check it out 😀

  3. bookalicious says

    Haha, great review! This sounds like something I'd read, plus I adore the cover!

  4. Juju from Tales of Whimsy says

    Fun review 🙂

  5. Oooh, sounds great! I am adding to my TBR list now…

  6. justicejenniferreads says

    I'm a sucker for a good historical fiction too and this one sounds really interesting. I guess after reading this book the phrase don't judge a book by its cover is reinforced because the story you described doesn't really mesh all that well with what I imagined when I saw the cover. Still, sounds like a really interesting book – probably better than what I would have expected based on the cover.

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