When she was born her father took one look at her and spat into a corner.
“Red ‘air,” he wheezed. “Like Judas. She’ll have a temper to match the devil’s, strike me if she won’t. An’ no decent man’ll keep company with ‘er, you mark my words.”
Then he went stomping and wheezing into the night to spend the coal money on beer.
The flame-haired infant lay very still and quiet as if she knew she had just been branded a hot-headed sinner and it pained her.
They called her Ivy. And no one expected her to blossom. Not in the slums of South London. And certainly not with red ‘air.
Ivy is a red-headed beauty who grew up in the slums, never knowing much of love or happiness. When a budding artist sees her one day, he decides to take her as his muse and model for his art, much to the dismay of his mother. As Ivy is brought in to this world of art, she struggles with things in her past and an addiction to laudanum, things she must face before it’s too late.
I picked up this book because of the cover. Tantalizing, isn’t it? I think I’m a sucker for beautiful covers.
Aside from the cover, the second best is the writing style. After about ten pages, I sat thinking to myself, “This is very Dickens-esque.” It reminded me of Pip in Great Expectations. Doesn’t Great Expectations begin with Pip as a child and then we see him grow up in the first few chapters? Anyway, that’s what happens in this one. And the writing style is very much of the Dickens influence.
I honestly haven’t read a whole lot of Dickens. And although I probably should be able to give an all-out comparison or critique on how well Hearn did in Dickens’s style, I can’t. Or won’t. Either way, maybe Dickens fans would cringe. But I enjoyed it.
The story itself was interesting. I read the afterward by the author, and she said that she got the inspiration for the book from a painting, Beata Beatrix, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a Pre-Raphaelite painter. If you enjoy books like The Girl with the Pearl Earring or The Smile, this one is a little bit along that vein, except the famous artist is more of a background character.
*news about ivy*
Check out Julie Hearn’s website.