Book Review: Tangled in Ivy by Ashley Farley

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Domestic Fiction/Romance


Lillian Alexander’s father is dying of cancer. When he rambles on in a morphine-delirium, Lillian can’t ignore the feeling he’s trying to tell her something. At his funeral days later, she encounters ghosts from her past who stir long-suppressed memories from the day her mother died twenty-seven years ago. Why, if her mother’s death was an accident, does Lillian harbor guilt, as though she were somehow to blame?

When Lillian and her twin sister, Layla, learn the Stoney family fortune is gone, Lillian fights to save her ancestral home on Charleston’s prestigious East Battery. Desperate to resolve her money problems and get answers to her questions about the past, she tears her father’s study apart in search of clues. She discovers a thumb drive in a hollowed-out hardback copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls. The thumb drive, marked For Lillian in his handwriting, contains her father’s memoir. Secluded in the family’s cottage on Wadmalaw Island, she immerses herself in her father’s account of his stormy relationship with her mother. What she learns sets her on a journey of self-discovery.

Tangled in Ivy is a tale of tortured souls and southern family dysfunction.

My verdict: Firstly thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this book prior to its release on 9th of June. I loved this family saga that answers the ultimate question: what makes a family. Set in a time where southern belles were the highly sorted after women in society and old money was the best. Told through the eyes of Lilian and her father Graham’s memoirs Lilian begins to untangle the complicated family history and how and why her mothers died. In regards to Graham’s character of pretending to be wealthy reminded me of Jay Gatsby and Ivy remind me of Hillary Leefort from the help especially when it came to out doing her best friend and her clinical and postpartum depression. Ivy is one of those characters who is a victim of circumstance and felt insecure, relying on men. (which her best friend takes advantage of) Farley writes very poetically reminding me of Harper Lee and Alice Walker and is overall empathetic and at the same time doesn’t sugar coat things. A lot of the subjects and themes brought up in the novel but are heavy but are lightened at times with the motherly character Trudy, the rekindling of Marcus and Lilian’s relationship as well as the sweet moments we read in the flashbacks between Lilian and her father Graham. Even though Melanie was supposed to be Ivy’s adversity I actually quite liked her with her straight talking and black and white outlook on things and found she had more in common and understood Graham on a deeper level. On the other hand, unlike Ivy who at times I could sympathise with her grief and depression, I found her whining and self absorbed character very trying at times, a spoiled privileged rich girl who was rather lost which I thought the author portrayed very well.

I very much enjoyed and am glad to have found a new author to add to my bookshelf.

click the image so you may preorder your copy from fantastic fiction.

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