Lizzie Siddel may be known as the famous muse of Dante Rossetti, but it is clear that she has also served as author Julie Hearn’s muse for her latest novel, Ivy. Hearn, author of The Minister’s Daughter (named as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults), was inspired by the story of Lizzie Siddel and her drug dependency to fashion her character, Ivy, after her, except she has created a character who can overcome her desperate life. Ivy grows up among thieves in Victorian England. Rightly compared to Dickens’ Pip and Oliver Twist, Ivy becomes a memorable character. Her flame-red hair and odd eyes draw people toward her, including an aspiring painter. With Ivy as his model he is sure success will follow. But beneath Ivy’s striking beauty lies a dangerous secret. Like Lizzie Siddel she is addicted to laudanum. As we root for young Pip and Oliver Twist so we root for young Ivy as she grows to adulthood in dour circumstances.
A powerful work of historical fiction with themes relevant to 21st-century teens, Ivy explores issues of neglect, drug dependency, human rights, and love. Age 12-16.