Look at me, barely making it in time for RIP VII! Finished it yesterday and now my next challenge is being on time for A More Diverse Universe (are you joining?). “Barely making it” seems to be my default state now, but hey, better than “almost making it”, right?

The Ivy Tree was my gift (thanks Tasha!) from last year’s All Hallow’s Read Swap. I initially tagged it as “horror” on Goodreads but then amended it to “suspense”. If I had a “gothic” tag it would even better, as it ticks all the boxes: a crumbling mansion, a missing heiress, the appearance of her uncanny double, a great family fallen from grace, attempted murder, romantic drama. Most of all, the sense of Impending Doom.

I can’t say I loved it, but I did enjoy it. It helped that it was season-appropriate and a storm was raging outside. It was also short and easy to read (a big plus in a baby-filled world), but on the down side, although it was set in the early 60s, it could have been any other decade from Downton Abbey-ish to now, it had that few historical references. Actually, it just occurred to me this could’ve been done on purpose, to create a sort of away-from-the-world ambiance.

By the way, what’s your take on unreliable narrators? I think they’re probably one of the most difficult literary-gimmicks to pull off – intriguing and entertaining can very easily turn contrived and boring. The Ivy Tree’s first-person narrator kept me wondering, but it wasn’t on the level of Gillespie and I or Lolita. What are your favorites?


Other thoughts: Shelf LoveA Work in ProgressA Life in BooksLakeside MusingsShe Reads Novels (yours?)