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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

Review: Ivy Introspective by Kellyn Roth

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

As soon as I finished reading The Dressmaker's Secret last month, I DOVE into Ivy Introspective--and, boy, was it quite the adventure! Check out my review below to read my thoughts about this historical novel!

In a world that doesn’t understand her, how can she grow?

Ivy Knight lives her life in a blur of confusion as the world passes her by in a tumultuous melody. She isn’t the perfect daughter or student, but as long as she can be with her family, she doesn’t mind watching rather than living.

Mrs. Chattoway treasures both of her granddaughters now that they’re reunited. When Ivy’s parents enroll her in a Scottish school for unique children, she’s happy to chaperone.

In a new place with a new guardian, Ivy discovers a special talent that helps her see the blurred world in a new way. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and Ivy becomes determined to find it—and help others do the same.

Kellyn Roth is a Christian historical women’s fiction & romance author from North-Eastern Oregon who has independently published multiple novels, the most notable being The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series. You should definitely call her Kell.

Kell lives on family-owned property outside an unmemorable but historical town with her parents, two little brothers, arbitrary cat, precious border collies, a dozen cows, and lots of chickens. She also possesses a classic, vintage aesthetic which does not at all speak to her country girl side, but such is life.

When not writing, Kell likes to blog, teach writing to her various students, have day jobs which allow her to keep her car properly insured, and spend lavish amounts of money on Dairy Queen french fries. She also likes to talk about Keira Knightley and her own books just … way too much.

Check out Kell's awesome website and blog here!

So, again I come to you with a lack of propriety and organization. Why? Because who needs all that stuffiness when you’re gushing about a book? Not me, that’s for sure!

It’s difficult to categorize Ivy Introspective—or any of The Chronicles of Alive and Ivy. It’s too weighty and maturely written for middle-grade, and yet reading about Alice and Ivy brings back a childlike perspective. I’d like to term it refreshing, but Ivy Introspective is anything but. There are undertones of darkness and confusion, an overarching theme of mental illness and troubled youth that is both saddening and lightening at the same time.

Why? Because Ivy brings a fresh perspective to the subject, and because Kellyn Roth yet again makes a simple story so much more!

Whilst The Dressmaker’s Secret focused on bringing this strange family (I say strange because their creation was anything but normal) together and uncovering, well, the dressmaker’s secret! We know it all know...but what we don’t know if what lies ahead—particularly for Ivy.

She was always seen as a simple-minded child. To me, I never saw anything wrong with her—perhaps a smidgen of anxiety, but that’s nothing in comparison to what children like Violet Angel deal with. However, I think Roth did a fabulous job at getting into Ivy’s head. She’s certainly not simple or special—but the way her mind works is different. Roth portrayed this difference with accuracy and acute familiarity, making little Ivy Knight come to life!

Watching Ivy grow and blossom, seeing (or, well, reading) her interactions with the world around her—especially her grandmother and uncle—was so fun! And Jordy? Y’all, that lad stole my Scottish heart within seconds!

But my favorite part about Ivy Introspective wasn’t the characters—even though they were fantastic and well-developed. It wasn’t the plot—even though it was smooth and seamless. It wasn’t even the theme—renewal and hope, as shown through Ivy’s love for Violet.

It was how I began to feel her.

Every emotion and every thought that crossed Ivy’s mind became mine. I didn’t like McCale house at the beginning—I was dangerously suspicious of it and was convinced that it would only do my Ivy harm. I wasn’t on very good terms with Grandmother for a while, or with the inhabitants of McCale house. Everyone—and everything—was fishy. I was uncomfortable and quick to believe the worst (reminds me of a certain Lizzy Bennet, actually).

But as Ivy began to open up to McCale house, Jordy, Grandmother, Violet, and even dear Mr. Knight, I began to see the goodness in every character and situation.

And, y’all. My heart went and leapt for joy when I read that Jordy and Violet were returning. I cannot wait to continue reading!!! Although I do look forward to Alice’s stories, I do so hope to read more and more of Ivy, Jordy, and Violet! (In other words, I hope to see Jordy and Violet get married and Ivy become an accomplished pianist and they all live happily ever after. Perhaps she’ll even find romance! #incurableromantic That may be too much to ask, though, so I’m not setting my hopes too high up.)

Oh, and have I mentioned yet that I loved how deep and philosophical Roth can get? It does me good to see other authors digging deep, probing, and discovering the answers to their own questions while writing! Even though she never strays from the childlike perspective she uses, she always manages to weave in a deeper message—and I love that!

There’s no doubt in my mind that Kellyn Roth has created a lasting legacy with Alice and Ivy. Armed with superb writing skills and equipped with beautiful characters, this series will soon become a favorite of many, many readers! I am beyond blessed to have the chance to read it!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated above are my own.

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