Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “L.M. Montgomery”

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #14: Anne’s House of Dreams: Anne of Green Gables Series, Book 5 by L. M. Montgomery

Anne's House of Dreams coverThe review for the audiobook version of Anne’s House of Dreams: Anne of Green Gables Series, Book 5 by L. M. Montgomery by narrator Susan O’Malley is at:
Loopy Ker’s Life

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loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #10: The Blythes Are Quoted: Anne of Green Gables Series, Book 9 by L. M. Montgomery

The Blythes Are Quotes coverI was excited to finally get to this after having been a fan of the Anne of Green Gables series for as long as I can remember. The Foreword says, “The Blythes Are Quoted is the last work of fiction the world-famous author of Anne of Green Gables prepared for publication before her untimely death on April 24, 1942…. The typescript was delivered to Montgomery’s publisher on the day she died—by whom we do not know; Montgomery evidently intended it for publication, since it is amended in her hand-writing.” This is the first printing that includes Montgomery’s entire manuscript. It is speculated that earlier printings removed some things that were felt to be anti-war at a time when patriotism was heavily favoured.

I had read enough about this last book beforehand to know to expect something very different. That certainly was the case. Calling it “Book 9” in the series, is really only because of when it occurs chronologically and that the Blythe family is connected in some ways. However, if you expect a continuation of the stories in the vein of the rest of series, you will be disappointed.

Rather than a novel following the Blythes as they grow up, this book is a compilation of short stories and poems. Most of the short stories are about people unrelated to the Blythe family who gossip about the Blythes at some point to keep that connection to Anne. In true gossip fashion, some of it is true and some not, but if you know the rest of the series you will know which is which. Sometimes a family member is also a very minor character. The poems are scattered in the gaps between short stories and are mostly attributed to Anne in little scenes of discussion about the poem and family with Gilbert and the beloved family housekeeper, Susan. The others are attributed to Anne and Gilbert’s middle son, Walter.

Even though it is not a true continuation of the series, it makes the most sense to read this after the others in the series to know who the Blythe family is when they are mentioned and to understand the grief of the family that is mentioned when talking about a lot of the poems. You have to be paying close attention though to get the details about marriages and grandchildren that are scattered throughout.

Read the rest of the review at Loopy Ker’s Life

faintingviolet’s #CBR4 review #46 Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

Somehow I managed to not review this one for three weeks. I am unsure how that occurred. I know I started writing this review several times, I guess I haven’t finished it until now. The third Anne book is almost as good as the first two. I don’t know if reading any of the following Anne books will be as wonderful as reading the first, but they all fall nicely into the heart. Anne of the Island finds our hero attending college, and all that means.

 

What I learned about myself reading this one is that it is difficult to watch anyone you care about go through the pratfalls and indecisions of late adolescence. While much happens in these books the plot point which stands out to a reader looking at the long game is Anne’s relationship with Gilbert. At the beginning of their sophomore year at Redmond Anne and Prissy, Phillipa, and Stella have been able to rent the adorable little house along the park where many wonderful things happen. But it is also here that Anne turns down the marriage proposal of Gilbert. In fact, Anne turns down not only Gilbert, but four others as well over the course of the four years in Kingsport. It isn’t until the end of the fourth year that Anne discovers she was very wrong in her notions of romantic love.

 

There’s lot s else happening with Anne as she ages from 18 to 22 and discovers  life on her own terms. Her best friend is married and has a child, the sale of her very first story, to name but a few. The overarching feeling I had while reading the adventures of Anne and her friends was that I wanted to sit and talk with them the way I sit and talk with my sister who is about the same age these days. This did not lessen my enjoyment of this book in the slightest.

faintingviolet’s #CBR4 review #45: Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

I love Anne. I love how she strives for goodness, embodies true friendship, and endeavors to live by her principles. Although much has changed in Anne’s world she and Marilla have settled into a relationship of easy affection and mutual respect. In this outing we experience a string of events in Anne’s life over the course of two years picking up after she decides to put off college following the death of Matthew.

Like all new teachers Anne has some idealistic and rather unrealistic notions of what she can achieve, but that does not stop her from trying and eventually achieving a great deal. Not to worry though, our Anne continues to find herself in and out of scrapes including accidentally dyeing her nose red.  It’s against the backdrop of teaching young minds that Anne seems to come into herself as an adult. By the end of the novel she has taught the three Rs, she has also learned how complicated life can be. Anne’s adventures include forming the Avonlea Village Improvement Society, meddling in her neighbor’s romance, and helping Marilla bring up two orphans at Green Gables.

There’s an undeniable undercurrent in the book about romance. In fact, marriage and married life is one of the strongest elements of the book and the theme of communication in relationships between women and men and the danger of unhappiness caused by unresolved misunderstandings is played out over and over again in the various stories encapsulated in each chapter. Read more about this and my other thoughts over on my blog.

faintingviolet’s #CBR4 review #42: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I don’t know how I missed the Anne of Green Gables books when I was younger, but I did. I read all the Babysitters Club, all the Little House on the Prairie books but no Anne. I wish that I had found these books earlier since Anne is such a kindred spirit, as she would phrase it. L.M. Montgomery took much of the beautiful surroundings of Prince Edward Island at the turn of the last century to create the optimum environment to introduce perhaps the most fully formed adolescent character I have ever read.

 

Malin’s #CBR4 Review #28: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Valancy Stirling is twenty-nine, unmarried, and constantly reminded of said sad state by her overbearing and oppressive family, who belittle her, treat her like a child and unfavourably compare her to her younger, prettier cousin Olive. She’s terrified of putting a foot wrong for fear of earning the disapproval of her judgemental mother or some other relative, and her only solace is her daydreams about her Blue Castle, where she’s surrounded by beauty, treated like a princess and courted by handsome suitors.

Having snuck away to see a doctor (other than the regular one the Sterlings always see!) because of chest pains, Valancy receives a letter telling her that she has a serious heart complaint, and that she most likely has less than a year left to live. Any sudden shock or great exertion may worsen the condition and shorten her already brief life expectancy. Realising that she has never really lived, merely existed, and miserably at that, Valancy decides to live out the rest of her short life unconstrained by her family’s judgement. She starts refusing to do chores that she hates, speaks her mind honestly at family functions and convinces the entire Stirling family that she has lost her mind.

Things go from bad to worse when she leaves her mother’s house and takes up residence in the house of a drunken widower, to act as his housekeeper, and tend to his dying daughter, who was one of her childhood friends. Poor Cissy had a child out of wedlock (now dead) and was ostracised by all polite society in the little town where they live. Now her lungs are failing her, and Valancy does her best to cook and clean and take care of her, rekindling their friendship and blithely ignoring the censure of her relatives. While taking care of Cissy and Roaring Abel (Cissy’s father), Valancy also makes the acquaintance of Barney Snaith, who most of the town (including the Stirling clan) is convinced is the father of Cissy’s dead child, a bank robber, swindler, adulterer and/or even murderer. Valancy shocks them all by going on several dates with him.

When Cissy finally dies, the Stirling clan breathe a sigh of relief and are sure will stop her shocking behaviour and move back home to her mother. Instead, she confesses to Barney Snaith that she’s in love with him, and asks him to marry her. She assures him that she doesn’t expect him to return her feelings, and since she is terminally ill, he won’t have to stay married to her for very long. Having told him about her miserable life before she became Cissy’s housekeeper and nurse, Barney agrees that she deserves some happiness in her life, and agrees to the marriage. When he takes her home to the wooden island he owns, and Valancy sees the little cabin surrounded by trees and shadows evening mists, it’s so like the Blue Castle of her imagination that she’s convinced she’s made the right choice and nothing but happiness will fill the rest of her days. But then she finds out that she was wrongly diagnosed, and her chest pains were not at all as serious as expected. She’s no longer dying, how can she tell Barney the truth?

To say that I loved L.M Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books as a girl would be an enormous understatement. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read the books (the latter ones where she and Gilbert have a whole host of kids not as many), and I also loved the TV adaptation, and the Road to Avonlea series starring Sarah Polley. So when my friend Lydia asked me whether I’d read The Blue Castle, one of the few adult works Montgomery wrote (and the only one not set on Prince Edward Island, according to Wikipedia), I was delighted with the prospect of a new discovery. Having tracked down an e-book copy, I read the book in every spare moment I had available, and it’s a cleverly written, funny and touching little romance that I can see myself rereading again and again. Valancy is a wonderful character, and you wish her every happiness in the world. To see her escape the disapproval of her stifling family and find self realisation and romance is wonderful, and any fan of Montgomery should track down a copy of the book and indulge themselves with this delightful story.

Originally posted on my blog: http://kingmagu.blogspot.com

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