Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites: L.M. Montgomery

It's news to no one that I'm a huge fan of L.M. Montgomery. But it was news to me to discover a Montgomery book I'd never read before!*

Recently, after giving up on another book (something I hate to do, but it was necessary for my sanity), I turned to my TBR shelf for inspiration. And there I found the lovely new edition of Jane of Lantern Hill I'd purchased at Reading Rock Books in Dickson, TN, when visiting my friend, Michelle.

So pretty and retro, right?**

I started reading, certain I'd remember the plot of the book. After all, I had the mass market paperback on my shelf upstairs--which meant I'd read it before, right? Wrong. The story seemed entirely new to me. I suppose I might have read the first couple of chapters long ago, but for whatever reason I never continued with it.

This reading was an absolute pleasure. No way was I putting the book down! The trials and joys of quirky, lovable, and feisty Jane gripped me until the very end.

[Eeek, there's a movie version! It looks so wrong.]

I put Jane down with a happy sigh, but I wasn't quite ready to leave Maud. I started Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings, which is impressing upon me that LMM was very clever and ambitious. (I think if I could have met her in person, I would have been very intimidated. She, on the other hand, would likely have been bored.) Maud's brilliance, productivity, and constant pushing of the boundaries for "proper" womanhood and wifehood (why didn't I know her husband was a minister?) are so fascinating to me, especially in the light of her continual struggles with depression. Such a fascinating lady.

In addition to the biography I also ordered the Annotated Anne of Green Gables to study and enjoy before . . . wait for it . . .my birthday trip to Prince Edward Island in May. Hooray!

Do you have a favorite L.M. Montgomery novel? Favorite heroine? Have you read other books that remind you of Montgomery's style? Do share!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]


*Full disclosure: I haven't read all the Anne books. For some reason I lost interest once Anne married and had a family. I should go back and try again, right?
**This cover might be even nicer. Virago has such fabulous cover art!


  1. Oh, I'm so envious of your upcoming trip to PEI! I just started rewatching the Anne of Green Gables movies and have fallen in love with Anne all over again. I grew up watching them, so that was my first introduction to L.M. Montgomery. And when we were still too young to read the books, my mom got us the abridged Anne books to listen to on tape (narrated by Megan Followes, which was awesome), and we also listened to Jane of Lantern Hill. You've inspired me to revisit Jane as an adult. And when I was a little older, I fell utterly in love with Emily of New Moon and Valancy in The Blue Castle.

    As for books that remind me of Montgomery's style, I'm a huge fan of Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy series (the high school/grown-up ones). Not quite the same literary style, but the same emotional truth and utter warmth.

    Whew, this was an unexpectedly long comment!

    1. I loved the Emily books, too. I seem to remember a prince proposing to her at one point, and that strained credulity a bit, but still. Wonderful stuff. (Did you ever watch the TV series? I test-drove an episode on Amazon and just . . . couldn't.) My mom's favorites were the Pat books. They are extremely cozy.

      I've read three of the Betsy-Tacy books and really need to get to the ones where they are older. I certainly enjoyed their childhood adventures. Thanks for reminding me!

      Long happy comments are also welcome. :D

    2. I agree, the proposal in the Emily books was just too weird. And the TV series is tough! I'll have to check out the Pat books, though...they sound good. Oh, and we also watched a series called The Road to Avonlea, which I think was based on a collection of short stories with some of the minor Anne characters making appearances. That was much better than the Emily TV series.

  2. So many thoughts!

    1) I just bought this same gorgeous edition for my niece for Christmas. Beware, though -- I found out that several other Montgomery books in the same imprint (though luckily not this one) are abridged :(

    2) I love that Virago cover...

    3) "Lantern Hill" is the weirdest movie! They made it a ghost story! With Sam Waterston! It's very strange.

    4) I like the first book about Anne's marriage, "Anne's House of Dreams," but I never reread "Anne of Ingleside" or "Rainbow Valley" -- I find them terribly boring. "Rilla of Ingleside," however, the WWI novel, is heartrending and well worth a read.

    5) Having read some of Maud's journals, I don't think she was an intimidating person. In fact I came away with the impression that she was spunky and bubbly and popular as a girl/young woman, far more so than the dreamy characters she writes about. It was quite surprising!

    6) Have an AMAZING time in P.E.I.! I've been twice (once for pleasure, once for a conference) and it truly is magical.

    1. Thanks for the warning about the abridged books! And perhaps I will skip ahead to Rilla. Sounds compelling.

      Based on this autobiography, which includes many excerpts from her journal, I got the impression that Maud was very charming in social situations. But afterwards she could really rip people apart in her journals. She didn't seem to suffer fools gladly. I would just be afraid of acting like a fool around her!

      I'm so excited about PEI!!!!