Best friend of Alexia Tarabotti, Ivy Hisselpenny is "only-just-pretty" and "only-just-wealthy." She marries Tunstell midway through the series (resulting in her name change) and becomes mother of Percival and Primrose. Eventually, she achieves vampire queen status as Baroness Tunstell.
Ivy is noted to have dark ringlet curls and brown eyes. She has a love for outrageous and ugly hats, which she wears often.
Ivy could be described as "quirky". Her taste in fashion is remarked upon by many as being "outrageous" at best. She is stubborn enough to not be bothered by Alexia's comments on it, or let her mind be changed very easily, either by her elders or by experts.
She is a romantic, and abandons her high society life to marry Tunstell and maintain an acting troupe with him.
She is also very protective of her children, going so far as to send vampires to Lord Akeldama's home to retrieve her daughter, despite this being incredibly rude by vampire standards. Prim finds this oppressive.
Ivy was turned into a vampire by Matakara in Alexandria in 1876.
In the books
Ivy meets Alexia for a walk in the park, demonstrating that they are already fond friends by this time. She listens to Alexia speak of being attacked by a vampire at the ball hosted by the Duke of Snodgrove's home with shock, and she is witness to the invitation Alexia receives from Mabel Dair to visit Westminster Hive.
Ivy appears on the scene as Alexia is battling with the military members of Woolsey Pack, announcing her engagement to Captain Featherstonehaugh. Tunstell is distressed by this news, and it is revealed they have feelings for each other, but Tunstell's claviger status and Ivy's position in society makes a match almost impossible.
Ivy travels to Scotland with Alexia, Angelique, Felicity Loontwill and Tunstell. While traveling, she finds herself in competition for Tunstell's affections with Felicity, as Felicity is trying to goad Ivy, and cannot seem to make up her mind if she wishes to abandon her current engagement to Captain Featherstonehaugh to marry Tunstell or go through with the the engagement.
While in Scotland, she is held hostage at knife point by Angelique after the latter is caught trying to steal a Preternatural mummy and fails to escape on her own. She survives after Angelique is forced to let go of her by Lord Maccon and subsequently falls to her death from the top of the Kingair Pack's castle.
Ivy elopes with Tunstell at the end of the book, changing her name to Ivy Tunstell.
Ivy is not able to travel along with Alexia and her group to Italy, and maintains Chapeau de Poupe in Madame Lefoux's absence instead. While there, she comes to find she enjoys the work and inspires a new ladies' fashion with "hairmuffs".
She sends letters to Alexia during this time, one of which contained a subtle copy of Lord Maccon's public, printed apology to Alexia on the back of a rave review of her hairmuffs. This letter sent Alexia into tears of relief.
In Heartless, Ivy and her husband start an acting troupe, with Alexia's patronage. They are surprisingly well received by others, despite the individual actors' usual clumsiness.
After being fatally wounded in a fight at the Alexandria Hive, Ivy is turned by Matakara, who subsequently dies with Alexia's help. Ivy becomes a vampire queen and new leader of the hive, and relocates it to Wimbledon.
In Prudence, it is revealed that Ivy, being so outrageous, was unable to be ignored by high society, and was therefore welcomed into the fold by receiving the title of Baroness.
- As a vampire queen, Ivy is, by default, a leading icon of fashion, despite her odd taste. In Prudence, large hats of Ivy's preferred design (previously mocked) have become a standard fashion.
- She was most likely born in 1854, as her mother is pregnant during the latter half of 1853 and there is no mention of Ivy having any siblings. This would make her approximately nineteen when the events of Soulless begin.
- Because of her relationship with Lord and Lady Maccon, Ivy has a pro-werewolf point of view, which is odd for a vampire.
- Gail Carriger has stated that Melanie Lynskey would be her choice for playing Ivy in a live action adaptation.
- Is the secret author of Sand and Shadows on a Sapphire Sea: My Adventures Abroad under the name Honeysuckle Isinglass.
- Ivy character study, at Gail's blog.
- Ivy manga art.
- Pinterest Character Board for Ivy Hisselpenny (Tunstell)
- “Ivy Hisselpenny was the unfortunate victim of circumstances that dictated she be only-just-pretty, only-just-wealthy, and possessed of a terrible propensity for wearing extremely silly hats.” (Soulless, Chapter Two)
- "Professor Lyall and Miss Hisselpenny exchanged glances. Something passed between them. Some silent pact of purpose to do... Ivy knew not what. But, whatever the future, Miss Hisselpenny was certainly glad to have Professor Lyall on her side." (Soulless, Chapter Seven)
- “Mr. Haverbink bowed deeply, muscles rippling all up and down his back, and lumbered from the room. Miss Hisselpenny sighed and fluttered her fan. 'Ah, for the countryside, what scenery there abides..., ' quoth she. Miss Tarabotti giggled. 'Ivy, what a positively wicked thing to say. Bravo.'” (Soulless, Chapter Seven)
- “She moved with such purpose it was as though she walked with exclamation marks.” (Changeless, Chapter One)
- “Ivy was particularly adept at being ignorant but could cause extensive havoc with the smallest scrap of information.” (Changeless, Chapter One)
- “'Why, Alexia, that is quite beautiful. It does not reflect your customary taste at all,' approved Miss Hisselpenny with glee. Trust Ivy to like the hideous thing for its looks.” (Changeless, Chapter Four)
- “Rail is such an undignified way to travel. All that rapid racing about. Floating has so much more gravitas.” (Changeless, Chapter Five)
- “Oh, Lady Maccon, I am unreservedly in love with her. That black hair, that sweet disposition, those capital hats.” (Changeless, Chapter Seven)
- “'I love him so very much. As Romeo did Jugurtha, as Pyramid did Thirsty, as-' 'Oh, please, no need to elaborate further,' interjected Alexia, wincing. 'But what would my family SAY to such a union?' 'They would say that yours hats had leaked into your head,' muttered Alexia, unheard under her breath.” (Changeless, Chapter Seven)
- “Ivy waved the wet handkerchief, as much as to say, words cannot possibly articulate my profound distress. Then, because Ivy never settled for meaningful gestures when verbal embellishments could compound the effect, she said, "Words cannot possibly articulate my profound distress.” (Changeless, Chapter Seven)
- “'Alexia,' she hissed to her friend, 'there are knees positively everywhere. What do I do?'” (Changeless, Chapter Eight)
- “In a desperate bid to reestablish civilized talk and decorum, Miss Hisselpenny said, quite loudly, 'I see they are bringing in the fish course. What a pleasant surprise. I do so love fish. Don’t you Mr., uh, Dubh. It is so very, um, salty.” (Changeless, Chapter Nine)
- "Ah, Ivy, thought Alexia happily, spreading a verbal fog wherever she goes.” (Changeless, Chapter Nine)
- “I believe there is a considerable range in the bang of most guns.” (Changeless, Chapter Nine)
- “Oh, Alexia. I do not mean to be forward, but I really must venture: I simply loathe Mr. Tunstell.” (Changeless, Chapter Ten)
- “She hasn't caught a slight fatality, has she?” (Changeless, Chapter Eleven)
- “Knowing Miss Hisselpenny’s constitution, if the mummy were gruesome enough, dinner might just be revisited.” (Changeless, Chapter Twelve)
- “Ivy returned his direct gaze with a particularly innocent smile. 'The great advantage,' she said, 'of being thought silly, is that people forget and begin to think one might also be foolish. I may, Professor Lyall, be a trifle enthusiastic in my manner and dress, but I am no fool.'” (Blameless, Chapter Seven)
- “Ever since her trip with Alexia to Scotland, Mrs. Tunstell had rather a taste for foreign travel. Alexia blamed it on the kilts.” (Timeless, Chapter Five)
- “Ooh, ooh, ooh!' Ivy was practically bouncing in excitement over some kind of revelation. 'I had a thought,' she said, examining the edge of the wooden stake with interest. 'Oh, yes?' encouraged Alexia loudly. Ivy stopped and frowned, her pert little face creased in worry. 'I said I had one. It appears to have vanished.” (Timeless, Chapter Eight)
- "Goodness, Uncle Rabiffano usually doesn't have much time for Aunt Ivy. Although he never turns down an invitation to visit her with a select offering of his latest hat designs. He thinks she's terribly frivolous." (Prudence, Chapter One)
- "Being a vampire queen in control of a twitchy transplanted hive full of foreigners only exacerbated a temperament ill-suited to either command or parenting." (Prudence, Chapter One)
- "Prim might see her mother as mainly an annoying busybody, but Aunt Ivy was still a vampire hive queen with all the power and authority that incurred. She could make life very difficult when she was unhappy, which London had reason to know-personally." (Prudence, Chapter Three)
- "Queen Mums chose this one as my shore-leave-expedition-and-visiting-over-curry outfit. She has odd notions about Indian foodstuffs, my Mums. I think she was traumatised during her own travels." (Prudence, Chapter Five)