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“Let us read, and let us dance;
these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

In Praise Of: Anne of Ingleside, Prince Edward Island

I made this: Avid Reader at 8:00 am

If you'd like to join my read read of the Green Gables Series, find as many free versions as I could find below!



Part Two - The Ingleside Years



Anne's all grown up now and raising a family of her own. Though she is a good sixty miles from home, she has never lost the Green Gables convictions and is determined to create a new haven built upon that image with Gilbert to raise her own brood. 


In the following books, there are increasing time leaps throughout. Anne and Gilbert continue to grow as a couple; the children grow older and introduce the reader to their new friends and neighbours. The perspective slowly moves away from Anne and to younger characters. This happens gradually and at least once in every book we have a story focusing on our beautiful heroine. She never 'merely becomes mum', she retains her strength of character, gentle manner and dreamy air that appealed to us in the first place. 


Beloved characters do not always survive the time leaps. I was disappointed that Marilla was mentioned in a passing (but very loving) context as now no longer 'walking the golden road', I would have liked to have seen her send off. Though I suppose Matthew's death provides all the template I need. Besides, at this point, Anne is barely the titular character, rather she the bed rock upon which the stories rest. We know her grief - we have seen it before so instead life continues ever on.


By the time the time line becomes more familiar to us, Montgomery begins to touch upon more relevant issues. The depiction of war in Rilla of Ingleside felt tragically and powerfully authentic, despite the setting feeling incongruous with the tone of the series. That Montgomery was able to weave the two together so skillfully demonstrates her writing abilities. I continue to enjoy these books as much as ever, if not slightly more as my perspective changes with time!



*****SPOILERS*****
*****SPOILERS*****
*****SPOILERS*****




Horrid. Mother Anne.
Ugh.
Title: Anne of Ingleside

Author: L.M. Montgomery
Series No: 06
Published Date: 1939
Years: 34-40 yrs
Perspective: Anne Blythe
Project Gutenberg: Anne 06



Score: 6/10
Thoughts: 
First off, let me just say - cover is hideous right? It was possibly the ugliest one on Google - so naturally I had to use it! 


Anne and Gilbert have long settled into their own home, raising their brood - while ever conscious of the one left behind in their 'house of dreams'. This is the last book to feature Anne as the central character...sob...


Not the best in the series by a long shot though there are still some laugh out loud moments and Anne remains as delightful as ever - even when she temporarily panics that she's losing Gilbert's attention!


A light and cheery offering my only real complaint was the over long visit from annoying Aunt Blythe. Though the way she was shifted was very funny and probably needed the contacted frame of reference. Still a bit long. 





Twee!!!
Title: Rainbow Valley
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Series No: 07
Published Date: 1919
Years: 41 yrs old
Perspective: Anne Blythe; The Blythe Children; The Meredith Children

Project Gutenberg: Anne 07
iTunes: Anne 07



Score: 5/10
Thoughts:
I don't think I'd ever read this book before this current challenge. At the very least I didn't remember it at all. 


The Blythe children are off to the side, allowing for the introduction of the Pastor's family of four. 
While the romps and adventures are all fresh and inventive, the scrapes still cringing and hilarious and the romance sweet and natural, this book definitely lacks something. 
A sobering breeze of reality perhaps; growth through pain rather than good fortune turning the tide.
The first book that I've thought 'only one more till I'm done'. And yet, I didn't dislike this at all. I think the author might have been trying to reset the clock - to go back to the start, but we have been following Anne for so long, it feels unnatural not to have her feature rather more prominently.   


At least she remains herself, and Gilbert remains her very own. At no point does she ever merely become 'mum' either - she encompasses so much more than merely one role. She remains a wife, lover, friend, teacher, parent, nurse and shoulder to lean on. There are references to local women not wanting to gossip in front of her because Anne never joins in. She remains...Anne. 




The Mills and Boon years
Title: Rilla of Ingleside

Author: L.M. Montgomery
Series No: 08
Published Date: 1921
Years: 49-53 yrs
Perspective: Anne Shirley; Rilla Blythe
Project Gutenberg: Anne 08
iTunes: Anne 08



Score: 10/10
Thoughts:
When I began this book; I was not observably positively disposed - despite having enjoyed the preceding book and looking forward to more of new stories in my haven. 
Rilla - never my favourite of Anne's children - was to take over my beloved series. 
Set during the first world war and therefore a marginally more familiar time period and all the more grotesque for the brutality of the actions invading my Prince Edward Island. 
In terms of the time line, it's set over a decade after the previous book - too long a gap, too long!
Then I started reading it.
Though tonally, it is completely in line with the previous in the series, this book somehow manages to speed up the pace and the grittiness - most often referred to in passing earlier throughout the series - here comes to the fore in small and discrete ways. 


The family and their friends all feature here, with the pretty and effervescent Rilla taking main stage. The Blythe children are pairing off quite naturally with the children of characters we have previously had adventures with - a lovely touch maintaining the emotional connection with a true fan of the series (ahem). 

In the background, the politics of the era bubbles away until our favourite sons and daughters of Canada are being called upon to take to arms in defence of liberty. Anne and Gilbert send not one but two sons to war. The sub-plot of the dog waiting at the railway station all those years for his young master to return just ached deep inside of me (for those who watch Futurama - you know what I'm talking about!)  


Rilla and those left to man the home front all grow and develop into young women and men you'd be proud to know. The tragic demise of one of our favourite characters is beautifully captured - poignant and yet with a slice of optimism on the side. 


A beautiful book. I loved it. I'm so pleased to have finally read it.   


I have to admit. I like. 
Title: The Blythes are Quoted

Author: L.M. Montgomery
Series No: 09 
Published Date: 2009
Perspective: Various



Score: Haven't read yet.  
Thoughts:
Planning to request this book at my local library since I have the others as ebooks (yes I actually have physical copies as well) and this one doesn't seem to be available as one yet. 
I love the world of Green Gables and Prince Edward Island and long to read every scrap written by the author. 
Apparently in this book, she focuses on some darker more real world events. After the beautiful way she tied the first World War to her created world in Rilla of Ingleside; I look forward to seeing Montgomery's take on more serious matters. 



Tales from Avonlea



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