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Better than Girl with a Pearl Earing...

Julie Hearn

Suitable for:  Readers of 11+ years. Fans of Julie Hearn's previous novels; Readers of Celia Rees, Jennifer Donnelly, Meg Cabot and of films such as 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.

Price:  £7.99

ISBN: 978-0-19-275431-8
Publication date: 04/05/2006
Paperback: 352 pages
Dimensions: 198x129mm

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The only beautiful thing in Ivy's drab life is her glorious red hair. At a young age, her locks made her the target of Carroty Kate, a 'skinner'. She recruited Ivy to help her coax wealthy children away from their nannies so that she could strip them of their clothes - clothes worth a fortune in the markets of Petticoat Lane. It is years before Ivy escapes and finds her way back to her in-laws. Once there, she finds respite in laudanum. But before she can settle into a stupor and forget the terrible things she has done, Ivy is spotted by a wealthy pre-Raphaelite painter. Oscar Fosdick needs a muse (until now he has had to use his domineering mother as a model, something not conducive to producing his best work, he finds). To him, Ivy is perfect, a stunner. Realising quickly that this painter has more money than sense, Ivy's in-laws order her to sit for him, and to do anything else he demands. But not everyone is happy. Oscar's mother is determined to get rid of Ivy. Oscar's famous neighbour is determined to paint her. Carroty Kate is determined to find her, and Ivy herself is determined to escape . . .

This page was last updated on 13 January 2019 at 04:30 GMT


  • [Reviews for The Merrybegot]: 'A lively and brilliant work. This book leapt out at me. It startled me and then held my attention. - Gaye Hicyilmaz, TES
  • Combines magic realism and historical fact in a formula that Julia Hearn has made her own, proving that her brilliant novel Follow Me Down was not just beginner's luck - Sunday Telegraph
  • A fantastic read - School Librarian
  • Hearn writes with great Brio and style. Her characters . . . spring from the page. We can hear their voices, and the details of their lives are economically but vividly depicted. - Guardian
  • Ingeniously structured, with compelling plot twists, it is engrossing and immediate; Hearn has the skill of a conjuror and her novel casts a spell - Sunday Times
  • A gripping, atmospheric novel, which demands reading at one sitting. Five Stars. - Books for Keeps
  • Told in clear, vivid prose and peopled with sympathetic characters, it is a huge leap forward for a talented new storyteller - The Times
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