Reviewsday: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

9781473629301

Ivy Westfall has spent her whole life absorbing the knowledge that her family should be the ruling class of their hometown, if it weren’t for the slight issue of the civil war they lost fifty years ago. Now it is tradition amongst the two parts of town to marry children of the losing side to those of the winning side, in order to maintain peace and control. This year, it’s Ivy’s turn and her engagement is not a random selection like so many others: Ivy is slated to marry the president’s son, Bishop Lattimer.

The only catch in their newly wedded bliss is that Ivy has a dangerous mission to fulfill, an undertaking that her entire family legacy depends on. Bishop must die and Ivy will have to get close enough to him to do the deed. Everything her father and sister have drilled into her was to prepare her for their one shot at redemption. But Bishop is not the cold, cruel boy they made him out to be and with each step Ivy takes towards the final outcome of her task, she finds herself questioning her family’s convictions. Outside of their reach, her loyalties are divided, her instincts are confused and her heart is searching for something more. When it comes down to the ultimate betrayal, Ivy must concoct her own scheme to save the people she loves before it’s too late.

Tense, bittersweet and full of suspense and surprises, The Book of Ivy is an interesting exploration of how much of who we are is dictated by the people around us, for better or for worse. The characters emotions in this story are so raw and real that it’s hard not to be dragged into their world, feeling their struggles as if they were your own. This is a book that needs to be read from start to finish in one go because if you try to put it down, it will gnaw away at you until you pick it back up again.