This is the first book I’d read of Mary Stewart’s and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is an interesting story telling the attempts of the main character, Mary Grey, to impersonate Annabel Winslow (missing, presumed dead) in order to influence the Will of Grandfather Winslow and to alter who he leaves Winslow Farm to, (namely to Con Winslow – the man who comes up with the whole impersonation idea).

The book is very clever, as you follow Mary’s transformation into Annabel and the information she has to learn in order to fully convince the Winslow family that she is Annabel.

However, throughout the book the reader is always left with a slight suspicion of whether Mary Grey is in actual fact really Annabel – and therefore whether the deception is actually not against the grandfather, but against Con Winslow.

A little aside in the book that I found interesting was Mary Grey’s discussion of similar impersonation cases and whether they had been successful or not, and she mentions Josephine Tey’s book Brat Farrar – I have only read one Josephine Tey book (The Franchise Affair) which I greatly enjoyed, so this reference has made me determined to read Brat Farrar as well.

This is a good book; the whole impersonation and deception attempt was quite gripping and filled with anxious moments when Mary seemed about to be found out; Con Winslow is a good character, quite menacing and mysterious; and the over-riding uncertainty running through the book of whether Mary Grey is telling the truth to the reader (and is Mary) or whether she is fooling us and is actually Annabel, is ensured to keep you guessing and to make you keep referring back in the book looking for clues and confirmation.

The Ivy Tree (Paperback)

By (author): Mary Stewart

A classic mystery of deception and suspense - reissued in stunning new series look
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