Twelve-year-old Ivy writes her first letter to a Dutch pen pal, who never replies. She also writes many more to her sister Sylvaney, who is mentally disabled and illiterate. Gaining more from writing than receiving any replies, Ivy continues a colorful stream of letters during her long life. Through births and deaths, marriages and funerals, the decades of Ivy's life are captured in a rich dialect that carries the sounds and sights of the Appalachians in each syllable.
Lee Smith's genius lies in her ability to create the landscape of a character's mind with economy and grace. Perfectly complementing Smith's talent, narrator Kate Forbes provides a unique voice for Ivy.
©1988 Lee Smith; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC
"Readers will be thoroughly captivated by Ivy Rowe, the narrator of this epistolary novel, and will come to the end of her story with a pang of regret. Smith has produced her best work here, creating a fully rounded heroine and other vivid characters who inhabit Virginia's Appalachia region....In the old tradition of oral storytelling, Smith has fashioned a dramatic, magical, poignantly true-to-life tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"Ivy writes with a verve and immediacy which prove that her creator, Lee Smith, is a storyteller supreme." (School Library Journal)
Kate Forbes is wonderful! I was born and raised in Virginia, and Ms. Forbes made me feel like I was home again. The characters came alive for me as I listened to Ivy, and was introduced to her family and friends. So descriptive and revealing about life during the the years pre and post WW2. I highly recommend this book for those who want a "down home" look at the world.
Ivy is an inspiration to all women. Her letters describe growing up poor in an isolated rural area without feeling sorry for herself. Just the opposite! Her observations of the countryside and people around her are delightful.
Tough, had to be. You were strong or you died either in soul or body. The beauty of so many of these mountain people was inside and out. I feel this to be a complete picture of the women and men of the Appalachins lost in the photographs that often make them appear to be worn out and down. The book is a jewel and I hated to have it end. Ivy Rowe had the intelligence and spunk needed to make her life worth while. Lee Smith,
Kate Forbes, you made Ivy live for me. In so many ways I was reminded of a favorite Nova Scotia heroine of my youth. If you liked Anne of Green Gables, I believe you will also fall in love with Ivy of Virginia.
What an enjoyable story about a woman in Appalachia, full of adventure and pluck and strength. Kate Forbes was wonderful as the voice of Ivy in her letters.
I loved this book, a fictional account of a woman's life in rural Virginia. The performer narrating the book did such a wonderful job -- she brought Ivy Rowe to life and I loved how her voice changed as the years passed and the character grew older. Very nuanced. I also really enjoyed that the entire book was told in letter form and I think that format is served especially well by being narrated.
I absolutely was absorbed into the letters and didn't want this to end. Excellent narrator, I highly recommend this book!
Editor for over 25 years, for 35 books in the R.E. appraisal area & CEO of my own small biz. Got my MFA in creative writing at age 67. :D
This beautifully written, gorgeously read book is set in the early 1900s in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. It is a one-sided narrative, the letters of the main character Ivy, who is a precocious 12 year old when the book begins, and an elderly lady in her 80s as it ends. What a treat this book was! Like many other readers, I was sorry to bid Ivy goodbye, and grateful for being able to spend so many happy hours in her company.
This was not my first Lee Smith novel, but by far my most favorite. Ms. Forbes is a tremendously talented narrator who not only makes Ivy Rowe come alive, but also become a cherished friend. This is a book you won't want to end, but in the end, will be embedded in your memory forever.
Great characters and an interesting story in this life of this extraordinary woman. Enjoyed the reader.. the accent was charming. My first Lee Smith book.. and I'll look for others. She's got the Southern thang just right.
I had a little difficult maintaining my interest in the beginning, but about a 3rd of the way in I was hooked! The descriptions were so vivid, I felt like I was there with Ivy, that I knew her. By the end, I really cared about her.
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