Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery

As a child my mum was very good at pushing classic children’s literature on me, and I have many happy memories of long winter afternoons curled up with The Secret Garden, Little Women, The Railway Children, Matilda, and so on. Somehow, despite it being a childhood favourite of my mum’s, Anne of Green Gables never crossed my path until I moved in with my best friend when I was 21, and she had all of the Anne books on her shelf. She assured me I would love them, and I agreed that I probably would, and I soon set about acquiring my own copy. However, it was only the pressure of knowing I would have to leave my books behind for a year in just under under two weeks that made me finally read it, and my goodness, how I have missed out on the joy of knowing Anne Shirley!

I normally thoroughly enjoy most books I read, as I pick wisely, but to say I thoroughly enjoyed this would be a massive understatement. Not only has it now become one of my favourite books of all time, easily on a par with my beloved Little Women, but it charmed and delighted me in a way no book ever has. No words can describe just how truly lovely Anne of Green Gables is. Every page contained something beautiful, and Anne Shirley has to be the most simply delightful heroine in all of fiction. I want to rush out now into the streets of London and press a copy of this book on every downhearted, tired, stressed, and disillusioned person I see, for this book is medicine for the world weary soul. It was the perfect book for me to read as I prepare to go and forge a new life for myself, as it has reminded me of how important it is to wonder at everything, and to see the beauty in the everyday, two things I have truly taken to heart now that I have the opportunity to begin again in a totally new environment.

Anne of Green Gables chronicles the arrival of the red haired skinny orphan girl Anne to the home of the elderly Cuthberts, Marilla and Matthew, who have, due to crossed wires, ended up with a girl instead of the boy they wanted from the local orphanage. Their initial disappointment soon turns to love (albeit reluctantly on Marilla’s part) as Anne sets about charming even the most crotchety person in the small town of Avonlea. Her breathless enthusiasm for life, delight in everything and everyone, wild and romantic imagination, and passionate, loving heart are terrifically endearing and life affirming. She is a truly beautiful soul, and it was the most heart warming, charming and emotional experience to watch her grow up in front of me on the page.

What I loved best about Anne was her ability to turn the simplest things into something magnificent, and how she used her imagination to make her often humdrum surroundings a more exciting and beautiful place for everyone around her. I did have brief moments of wishing I had read this when I was a child, but actually, I think I would have missed most of the joy and beauty I found in it if I had been younger. I certainly wouldn’t have appreciated Montgomery’s sensitive depiction of Marilla’s often inexpressed, but deeply felt love for Anne, and this touching and often tear jerking relationship was one of the aspects of the book that I enjoyed the most. Matthew’s strong and silent personality and fierce love and pride in Anne was also wonderfully written, and when I read the saddest chapter of the book (I won’t reveal what happens in case you haven’t read it!) tonight on the train back from London, I was in tears…most unfortunately as the ticket inspector was asking for my ticket, and I was so absorbed in Avonlea, I couldn’t understand what he wanted!

What is truly remarkable about Anne of Green Gables is how different and fresh it is compared to so many children’s books of the same era. Anne tries woefully hard to ‘be good’, just like she is taught to be by the old fashioned Marilla and the other God fearing adults in Avonlea, but she can’t suppress her romantic imagination or reign in her emotions. Even though she has a temper, indulges in countless hours of daydreaming, talks incessantly and isn’t afraid to voice her opinions, L M Montgomery shows that Anne’s heart is pure and good regardless. Anne demonstrates that true strength and beauty of character come not from following rules and ‘being good’, but by daring to be true to your own heart, and not ashamed of what lies within it. In Anne, Montgomery celebrates the unbridled, passionate, loving and imaginative soul of the child, as yet unburdened by the pressures and griefs of adult life. Unlike other contemporary books for children, Anne of Green Gables is a hymn to the innocence of childhood, and to the magic adults can once again capture through the eyes of the little people they love. It throws out the rule book of didactic, strict, moralising Victorian children’s literature and sings of the delights of impulsiveness, clumsiness, laughter, tantrums, and soaring emotions, all of which are what should be encouraged and embraced, rather than admonished and replaced with neatness, quietness and sickly sweet goodness. Anne is a modern heroine, for the modern age, and L M Montgomery’s bravery in reclaiming childhood from its ethereal Victorian martyrdom and her encouragement of the frivolity and breathless wonder and possibility of youth is what I think has made Anne of Green Gables endure amongst other books of its period.

I want to quote my favourite parts, but I might as well quote the entire novel, as it was all so magnificent. L M Montgomery was a genius and her insights into the human soul and ability to appreciate and perfectly express the beauty and wonder of nature and how it lifts the spirits to gaze upon spring flowers and snow covered dells are just beyond-words-wonderful. I can’t imagine ever loving a book more than I did Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley is just the most beautiful creation in the entire HISTORY of world literature and if you haven’t read it yet, you need to go and buy it right this minute. I am now spectacularly excited for the rest of the series…what a joy to know that I have so many books filled with the world of Avonlea to come!

92 comments

  1. Did you know I have been waiting to hear what you have to say about “Anne of Green Gables”? I have been, lurking here on the cutoff, just waiting to see what you thought. I just clicked onto my computer and there you were. Book Snob with a review of “Anne of Green Gables” and I am so giddy Marilla would be chastising me indeed! I just knew you would like it, Rachel, just not how much. It has been a very long time favorite of mine and even more so of one of my daughter’s. One of my dearest friends and college roommate just got back from Prince Edward Island and a visit to the fabled house. The trip was a retirement gift from her husband as she left many years of teaching this spring. A pretty nice guy, wouldn’t you say?

    Your review is superb and you have captured the essence of Anne (with an e) and you touched me so with your words – “Unlike other contemporary books for children, Anne of Green Gables is a hymn to the innocence of childhood, and to the magic adults can once again capture through the eyes of the little people they love.”

    Well put, Rachel. We actually read the book for our book group some years ago and had a lively discussion on it with many of our members going on to read the other books as well.

    That is a beautiful copy of the book. Is it an old copy?

    1. Hi Penny – oh bless you! I was surprised myself – I expected to find it wonderful, but I had no idea it would move me as much as it did. How wonderful that your friend just got to visit PEI – maybe I’ll manage to swing by during my year across the Pond!

      Thank you – I’m so glad you enjoyed it and felt I captured the essence of Anne – I feel like I’ve come to it so late that I can’t be a ‘proper’ fan – I can’t wait to read all the other books now and know the story of Anne throughout her adult life.

      Yes – it’s from 1912. It wasn’t cheap but it was worth it! I loved to think of all the other people who had delighted in it as I read the often grubby pages – lots of inky finger prints of kindred spirits have been left behind over the last century!

  2. I love L.M. Montgomery for her ability to write heroines that are good people but aren’t always Good. Occasionally (Magic for Marigold was guilty of this) she veers into making them a little too quirky, but overall she strikes such a great balance. Though I am really an Emily girl, not an Anne girl. :p

    1. Yes, exactly – there’s nothing better than reading about people whose hearts are in the right places but still can’t resist temptation or make mistakes. A lot of people are saying the Emily stories are just as good if not better…this makes me very excited! There is more L M Montgomery delightfulness for me to discover yet!

  3. How do you do it, Rachel? Every time I visit your blog you’re reading, and loving, more of my old favourites! I so wish we could meet and browse in each other’s book collections! And chat! Boy, how we’d chat!
    Anne was the book my mother always told me stories from when I was wee. Usually the hairdying incident, it has to be said! As you’ll know from my blog, I got my own copy for my eighth birthday and, since then, have collected them all. You’ll live with Anne fom childhood, to adulthood and to motherhood. Just be warned. Whatever you do, don’t read the last book, Rilla of Ingleside, on a train, or ANYWHERE public! I read it during my school holidays and basically shut myself up in the hall cupboard and cried for days. I KNEW these people!
    I’m so glad you’ve found Anne! You were made for each other!
    I have The Annotated Anne of Green Gables, too, which has tons of background information, plus recipes for the food and words of the songs and poems that are mentioned. A real Christmas present of a book!

    1. Ha! I’m just a ‘kindred spirit’, is all, Penny! I know, wouldn’t it be wonderful? One day!

      Oh…the hair dyeing incident would be an excellent deterrent for any would be glamour puss, wouldn’t it!? I know it would be for me – shame I read it too late to avoid the pain of having to grow out ill advised peroxide!

      The other books sound DIVINE and I can’t wait for them…I love the idea of amassing them all, then taking a week off work and reading them all through in bed with toast and tea and tissues! One day this dream will come true!

      The Annotated version would be perfect – I love being able to immerse myself in the world of a novel and understand the context of its world. One for the Christmas list!

  4. I have to read this one of these days. I think I’ve been waiting to find The Blue Castle first to start with before hitting the Anne books.

    1. I hope you have found a copy of Blue Castle – such a wonderful story. It is not part of the Anne series.
      For me Blue Castle is L M Montomery’s best work.
      Brenda (NZ)

  5. I love the entire Anne series (the last one involves one of Anne’s teenage daughters, Rilla–named for Marilla, of course), but my favorite is ANNE’S LITTLE HOUSE OF DREAMS, which is about the first few years of Anne’s marriage.

    1. I’m really excited at the thought of reading about Anne growing up and becoming a wife and mother – I wish I had copies of all of them so I could hole myself up and read them all back to back, but sadly I don’t!

      1. Ooops! The book is called ANNE’S HOUSE OF DREAMS…it’s my favorite book in the series and I got the title wrong! Shame!

  6. Anne Shirley and I have been kindred spirits for many, many years and now you have joined us, Rachel; we shall be bosom friends from here on out.

    After reading The Blue Castle I knew I had to reread Anne so I replaced my Anne collection (in the Puffin editions); as you know I lost most of childhood favourites in the attic when my parents moved house but I still had Anne of Green Gables and Anne of the Island (my favourite of the series!) on my shelves and filled in the gaps. I also bought the Emily of New Moon series and hope to delight in them all in the very near future.

    1. Bosom friends indeed Claire! I think anyone who loves Anne will automatically love everyone else who shares their passion – it’s that sort of series, isn’t it?

      You’re lucky that you have all the books – and that you read them as a child! I wish I had. I’m going to take great joy in collecting lovely old copies of each one in the series though and then I shall slowly savour them all. I am also excited to discover the Emily stories and her other stories I’ve found out about too – L M Montgomery is swiftly becoming my new favourite author! What a treat to find such a new author I love in my relatively advanced reading age!

      1. Especially discovering her now you have finished reading Whipple – quite serendipitous!

        I see you are reading Mrs Harris; I do hope you are enjoying it and please read more Gallico, if you haven’t already (The Snow Goose and Jennie, most definitely).

  7. Oh Rachel, I’m so pleased that you love Anne! Growing up, there were times when I felt closer to Anne than to the real people in my life. That’s how much I loved and identified with her. Even now, it’s such a joy and comfort to go and reread the books again and again (even though I can, and have, recited entire chapters by heart). I love them all but the first three books, particularly Anne of the Island, have always been my favourites. Part of what makes Anne so special for me is her unique combination of imagination and practicality. She has all these rich stories in her head but, at the same time, she focuses on her schooling, determined to make the best grades. Hard to find a better role model for a young person.

    1. Isn’t it wonderful that Anne is SO fantastically written that you really can feel she is like a friend? Anne of Green Gables is, I know, going to be my ultimate comfort read from now on. I don’t know how anyone can’t love her. That is so true, Claire – as wild and romantic and imaginative as she is, she is also ambitious and driven and determined to do her best, both for herself and to do credit to Matthew and Marilla. She is perfect in every way – I’d love a daughter like her! If I ever have one, I’ll have to start reading Anne of Green Gables out loud while she’s in utero to start the social conditioning!

  8. I don’t normally care for sequel/prequels written by other people but there’s a prequel by a Canadian writer Budge Wilson that’s actually rather good called Before Green Gables, all about Anne’s birth family and foster parents and how she landed up in the orphanage. It fleshes out all the clues thrown out by LM Montgomery. I think you’d probably enjoy it as you will undoubtedly end up in tears on the train!

    1. No I don’t either but if you’re recommending it, Mary, I know it can’t be bad! That sounds interesting – I’ll definitely read it once I’ve read all the originals, though in the safety of my own bed with a box of kleenex!!

  9. That’s quite a claim for Anne, Rachel (your last paragraph) and it’s so lovely to hear your enthusiasm.

    I missed out on Anne of Green Gables, otherwise I’m sure I woud have read the whole lot! I’ll rectify that soon.

    Can I tempt you, if you haven’t already read and loved him, to read the Jeremy Stories by Hugh Walpole? Hamlet, his dear dog, and the rest of Jeremy’s family came into my life when I was very young. I have a cloth bound 1941 copy which I treasure, found in Oxfam years ago. You should have seen me, I almost wept at finding it!

    1. Trust me, Chrissy – it’s true! I am certain you would love her and you must read the whole lot as soon as you possibly can!

      I had never heard of that before – obviously have heard of Hugh Walpole, but not those specific stories. I shall hunt for them now as they come so highly and reliably recommended! I love books that move and delight us in childhood and stay with us into our adulthood…I didn’t think Hugh Walpole was that sort of writer but it’s nice to be educated! Thank you, Chrissy!

  10. It was pure delight to read your reaction to Anne and her world. It is definitely a worthy and beautiful classic read – a favourite of my best friend and I which we can’t wait to pass on to her daughter (who is only 2 right now!).

    1. Thank you, Karen! How lovely that you have a little girl to share this with soon! My nephews hate girly stories so either I pressure my sister to give me a niece or I have to wait until I produce a girl of my own!!

  11. I’ve always been more of an Emily of New Moon girl (I think they speak to slightly older audience, maybe?), but this review brought back everything I loved about Anne when I first read it as a kid. I think I subconsciously compare every spunky heroine to Anne.

    1. Oh really? I have heard other people say the same, in that Emily speaks to them more than Anne, which I find interesting and exciting, because if I loved Anne as much as I did, how will I feel about Emily?

      Yes – Anne must be the inspiration for every subsequent spunky heroine, in some way, I think!

  12. I too am an Anne fan, having discovered her in my late teens. I’ve only read the first five of the eight part series, as the thought of following along with Anne’s daughter never quite caught my interest…..maybe some day. I do really like the 5th book, though, and really feel like I can relate to it, as I’m a part of the young married sort myself. It really makes me appreciate that the series grew with Anne, instead of just staying static, like so many children’s series do.

    I would also recommend L.M. Montgomery’s The Story Girl and The Golden Road, it’s sequel. While I love Anne dearly, I found these two books touched me on a different level. I felt a deep connection to the characters, and it is the series is only one of three that I’ve ever read that make me truly ache to be a part of the group of players in the novel. Their blissful times together make the only child in me long to be a child again, and to have a merry time of it with a plethora of siblings, cousins, and dear friends close by. If I could live in a book, it might be The Story Girl.

    1. I love that too – that it’s not just a ‘children’s book’ in the sense that we just see Anne as a child or a young adult, but all the way through her life across the numerous sequels. I am so excited at the thought that I can read about all the stages of Anne’s life rather than leaving her behind just when things were getting interesting!

      So many more L M Montgomery books to seek out and love! I can’t believe I missed out on all of these – The Story Girl and The Golden Road sound fantastic and I will definitely look out for copies! Thank you! Oh…and Jane of Lantern Hill, too! L M Montgomery can clearly do no wrong!🙂

  13. Oh- and I also really liked Jane of Lantern Hill. Which means, I guess, that I’m recommending just about every L M Montgomery book I’ve ever read. 🙂

    1. Val, Jane of Lantern Hill is one of my favourite books ever! I read it to DH and then to the offspring. I can’t remember how often I’ve reread it and it’s on my bedside table, available for browsing… It’s lovely to see it mentioned as it seems to be a bit of a poor relation as far as LMM is concerned, with not many people knowing about it. I lost my copy when I moved house and was bereft. When a copy turned up in a secondhand bookshop I couldn’t believe it! Joy unconfined!

      1. Oh Penny – I love that ‘joy unconfined!’ exactly my experience on finding long hunted for books in second hand shops!

        Jane of Lantern Hill sounds lovely – I just looked it up – I’ll be looking out for it!

    1. Very interesting…if only I wasn’t leaving the country, Chrissy, as I am very into WW1 period books at the moment! I can’t amass any more books before I go -I already cheekily bought two in the charity shop today and snuck them into my room before my mum saw and went mad at me!

  14. I’ve been waiting to see your thoughts on this book, too. Anne is my favorite book of all time. The best thing is that you can follow her whole life, almost, in the sequels: as she grows up, falls in love, becomes a mother. After that kind of reading relationship, Anne feels more like a friend than just a literary character. (And LMM’s Emily books aren’t bad, either!)

    I’m so excited that you’ve started on this journey. I went to PEI last year to visit Green Gables, and I met a girl who was reading Anne for the first time, and I was a little jealous of that experience!

    1. I keep getting so excited at the thought of more Anne! It’s wonderful to have finally joined the Anne fan club as now I have so many people I can talk about Anne with! It’s a delight to hear how many people have been moved as I have by this book – what a legacy L M Montgomery left behind.

      I am jealous that you’ve been to Green Gables! I hope to make it at some point this year while I am on the other side of the pond.

  15. Growing up in Canada, Anne of Green Gables was a staple of my childhood, and I think it’s fair to say I was fairly obsessed with Anne-with-an-E. I’ve read several of the other books in the series, and while they’re all wonderful, I still think the first book is my very favourite.

    If you get a chance to check out the CBC Kevin Sullivan television adaptations of the books (they’re available on DVD) they are well worth your time. They really bring the books to life in a wonderful way.

    1. I love how Anne is part of the Canadian identity – for a book that is so huge and part of so many people’s childhoods, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read it!

      I am definitely wanting to watch the TV adaptations – I’m going to wait until I’ve read all the books first though as I want to imagine Anne for myself before I see someone else’s vision of her!

  16. Hello, I am that friend of Penny’s that went to Prince Edward Island this summer. I have always loved Anne(with an e). As you read through the books, you will grow up with Anne. I have spent this summer learning about L.M. Montgomery. Her desire was to write a book for adults. It’s amazing that she didn’t know that she did. Anne is appreciated at all levels. My visit to P.E.I made all of the places real to me. It’s worth the trip. I have just finished reading her (L.M. Montgomery)Emily of New Moon series. I recommend this series as well. I am so pleased to meet another kindred spirit.

    1. Hello Janet! Thank you for coming by! How wonderful that you got the chance to go to PEI – I’d LOVE to visit, as L M Montgomery makes it sound absolutely beautiful.

      Yes – the best children’s books work equally well for adults as well, with the writing working on different levels to delight in all stages of life. I can’t wait to read more Montgomery and find more kindred spirits, either!

  17. I first read this book when I was nine years old, and am now reading it to my nine year old daughter and seven year old son.
    When I was nine I adored Anne (with an E) and her chitter chatter and her scrapes. Her endearing charm won me over as a little girl. My second reading has bought me to notice her eloquent prose and description of nature and seasons, and I wonder how I coped with such a beautifully written literature at a young age, I am so glad to be reading it again as an adult.
    I share your mothers values in pressing the classics on my children and I love that, fairly near the beginning of the book (we are not yet finished) that my little boy noticed “Mummy, I think I am like a boy version of Anne”, firstly I was pleased that he could notice traits of an 11 year old little girl and not be afraid to liken himself to her and secondly, My goodness can he read my mind?!

    1. Hi Lucy, thank you for coming by – it’s lovely to see a new face!

      How wonderful that you are now in a position to share Anne with your children – I can’t wait for those days! Isn’t it wonderful that Anne can be appreciated on an adult level as well as a child’s? As sad as I am that I missed out on Anne as a child, I was glad that my first time of reading Anne was at a time of maturity where I could appreciate it on all levels, such as the lovely language and descriptions of nature.

      That’s so funny about your son!🙂

  18. I have a copy which I bought 2 or 3 years ago at a remaindered bookshop, but have not yet read. I’ve just unearthed it from the tbr pile, & now I’m really looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the review & inspiration.

  19. Rachel, I am so glad you loved Anne of Green Gables. It was one of my favourite books as a child, only eclisped by Jane of Lantern Hill and The Blue Castle also written by L. M. Montgomery. I think what I loved most about the book was the sense of security I got from it; Anne had a home in Green Gables, Avonlea, and PEI where people loved here for who she was. I don’t think the other Anne books are on a par with the first, but L. M. Montgomery has written many other wonderful books you could try including the ones I mentioned above as well as the Pat books and Emily books and The Tangled Web for a more adult book.

    1. Thank you, Virginia! Yes, the sense of security, love and acceptance is so wonderful – after her shaky start Anne finds herself accepted into a family, not just of the Cuthberts, but of the entire community of Avonlea. I loved that feeling of warmth and laughter and love and I think that’s what gives it such a comforting feel. I am desperate to read more Montgomery and the rest of the Anne books – I read and loved The Blue Castle last year so I just know I have so much more wonderfulness to come! The Tangled Web sounds especially interesting..thank you for the recommendation!

  20. I loved Anne of Green Gables and still re-read them occasionally when I go back home to my parents (I still have all of them which is amazing considering we moved countries a lot). Anne and I are kindred spirits too and I think she informed the way I thought when I was growing up. I do think you are right in that if we do feel down about what’s going on with our lives, reading Montgomery’s books will be a nice pick-me-up. I haven’t read any of the Emily books or The Blue Castle but I’m going to look for them. I’m so happy you found and fell in love with Anne! And the DVDs are brilliant too.

    1. How wonderful that you’ve still got all your childhood copies and that you grew up with Anne…I wish I had!

      Oh you must read The Blue Castle…it’s wonderful. I’m looking forward to the DVDs, but I want to wait until I’ve read all the books first.

  21. It’s hilarious to see pictures of Japanese tourists in PEI wearing straw hats with bits of red curls glued to them! Anne Shirley is an absolute icon and a hero to little (and big) girls everywhere…and a reason not to completely hate my freckles when I was younger! There was a wonderful series on television with Megan Follows that had us all glued to the set each week, perhaps you can find episodes online. Absolutely, delightfully Canadian!

    I’m so glad you loved this book, Rachel! I bought the series for The Heiress when she was around eight years old and she just wasn’t interested, that’s blasphemy around Canada! You’ve given me hope that she just might give them a try in a few years.

    1. Hahaha I bet it is! Anne is now my hero – if only I had auburn hair I could be her!

      How sad that the Heiress didn’t love them! Maybe when she hits her early twenties like me she might feel in the need for some comfort reading and want to curl up with them…it’s sacrilege for a Canadian child to not have read Anne of Green Gables, surely?!😉

  22. I ADORE Anne Shirley – the TV series that Darlene mentions is excellent and I used to watch it over and over as my mum bought me the video. It is such a fantastic book. It is so exciting for you to have discovered this – at last! In some ways it’s better to leave some children’s classics to adulthood – to experience that excitement of childhood discovery once more!

    1. I’m glad this is one pre modern period novel you love! See, we really are kindred spirits!🙂

      I know sometimes discovering delightful new books in adulthood is to be preferred, as you treasure them more. I can’t wait to read them all and then watch the TV series!

  23. And this is why it is so very magical and delightful that Bon live in Charlotton (sp?). Can you imagine? Can you believe? Anne is easily the best book ever. It is so hard to compare it to anything else. Now, as you happen across lesser books you will notice that everyone tries to make their characters Anne, but there is no substitute. None at all. I’m glad you loved it. I wanted to recommend it for your Reading America because I don’t think a trip to North America would be complete without reading it. However it is hard to come across like I wasn’t claiming it…it isn’t a States Novel…but it is of the continent and easily the best one from these parts (though I suppose I am almost as far from PEI as you are…)

    Glad you loved it!

    1. I know, it must be absolutely wonderful for her to be able to walk the streets L M Montgomery describes so beautifully!

      I think I will notice that – every ‘spunky’ heroine in literature that comes after Anne of Green Gables is going to have bits of Anne in her! But an inferior version! If only I could write such a beautiful book!

      I am so pleased I have started on the Anne series…I am so excited to read them all!!

  24. What can I say after reading through all these comments. I love L M Montgomery, and always cry at certain points in Anne of Green Gables and Rilla of Ingleside.

    I grew up with the Anne books, and think I first came to the others as an adult. Emily is another great mini series, Pat of Silver Bush and it’s sequel also have a great deal of L M M imbued in the main character.

    There’s a fantastic biography of L M M, Lucy Maud Montgomery – The Gift of Wings by Mary Henley Rubio.

    1. Another fan! I really can’t believe that a book this well beloved has passed me by for so long! I am so excited about the other books – Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat also sound wonderful. All of L M Montgomery’s books sound so life affirming and encouraging. I want to read more about her life as well so thanks for the biography recommendation – I will check that out.

  25. It really is a magical book isn’t it? I agree with you about Anne, she’s a wonderful character. I’m re-reading it at the moment and enjoying it just as much as I did as a child.

    1. It is magical! It certainly cast a spell over me! How lovely that you’re rereading it at the moment – I want to go back and read it all over again, actually!

  26. Oh Rachel, how pleased and proud (as a Canadian) I am at how much you love Anne! I grew up reading all of L.M. Montgomery’s books (as a Canadian girl, I was automatically given all of her books as gifts) and I’m sure it shaped my romantic imagination, although as you say, I’m sure I didn’t catch all the nuances then. I do have a cute little matching set of the first four books in pastel covers and will have to get to rereading them someday. My favourites were Anne of the Island and Rilla of Ingleside. I was given an Anne of Green Gables birthday calendar (sort of a daytimer to keep track of birthdays) and very carefully wrote down Anne Shirely and Diana Barry’s birthdays in it, along with all my family’s!! My mom and dad have been out to PEI on their own and wish they could move there now, how I would have loved to do that as a child!

    Someone mentioned The Story Girl and The Golden Road, which are also good and there’s also a tv series that was made based on them, called Road to Avonlea. So they are also set in Avonlea, but with different characters. She also wrote more short stories about Anne involved in various people’s lives called Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea. And as well as all the novels, there are also a few collections of her short stories on various other themes, like orphans and people who live by the sea.

    When I read Proust, I realized that he actually describes loving nature and seeing the simple enchantment in it in a similar way to L.M. Montgomery!

    1. Another kindred spirit! Like your parents I am now having fantasies of living in P.E.I – it sounds like a beautiful, beautiful place! Maybe when I finish my year in New York I’ll want the quiet life for a bit and shall relocate to the quiet shores of P.E.I!

      How lucky you are that you grew up with Anne – I can’t wait to read more of all L M Montgomery’s books – everyone seems to be recommending each series with equal fervour so I have a lot of exciting reads to come!

  27. Congratulations on getting to know Anne Shirley!! “Meeting” her when I was ten years old is one of the highlights of my literary life! I am currently re-reading the entire series and am now halfway through “Rainbow Valley”. It is such an experience. Anne is the perfect companion and sometimes it feels very wrong that she is not a “real” person – I count her as a close friend.

    1. Thank you! Meeting Anne at even my age has been one of my life’s reading highlights too! Yes – wouldn’t it be wonderful if she was a real person? I’d love to have her as my best friend – she’d ensure I had plenty of adventures!

  28. Your review is a wonderful love letter to Anne of Green Gables!🙂 I only read the Anne books last year I think and would have loved to have a childhood friend like her!

    1. Thanks Nicola! Marilla is such a lovely character, isn’t she? Definitely one I wouldn’t have understood as a child, but as an adult, I found her wonderful.

  29. “L M Montgomery was a genius and her insights into the human soul and ability to appreciate and perfectly express the beauty and wonder of nature and how it lifts the spirits to gaze upon spring flowers and snow covered dells are just beyond-words-wonderful.”

    A quotable review indeed Thank you

    P.S. That is a beautiful picture.

  30. I was so happy to read this post. Anne Of Green Gables is my absolute fav childhood book. I read it every summer till I was in college. And I now I am listening to the audio book ! I love the first 5 book of the series. I think the what made Anne story different from lets say Pollyanna or Rebecca from Sunnybrook Farm is that though the child is essentially pure hearted, she is still a child who lies or does silly things because she doesn’t know any better. She has hopes and ambitions and a lot of pride – which makes her interesting and a more realistic role model. I love her growth as young independent educated women in the later books

    1. What a lovely comment, Vipula! Sorry for taking an age to reply, things have been busy around here! Your observations are so perfect and sum up why Anne is so wonderfully loveable – she is as flawed as she is pure and as such she is a realistic and relatable girl and woman – perfect for all of us who can’t live up to Pollyanna standards!

  31. Hi Rachel,

    What a wonderful review of Anne of Green Gables! I always feel inordinately proud whenever I hear LMM’s praises sung. I’m an Islander by birth (and a distant cousin) so I claim that right🙂 PEI is every bit as beautiful as LMM describes. You must come up to the Island while you’re on this side of the pond.

    I can’t say which LMM heroine is my favourite – when I was younger definitely Emily – as I grew older Anne and Rilla – and always, Jane. You are going to have such fun getting to know these characters. The books will be a respite from the busy streets of NYC. Enjoy!

    1. Hi IslandSparrow! Thanks so much for coming by – how wonderful to hear from a real Islander! I hope to come over at some point this year. I’ll do my best and let you know if I do!

      I have so much LMM to explore and I can’t wait to read more – what a treasure trove lies before me!

  32. Hi Rachel,

    So glad you liked Anne of Green Gables! My personal L M Montgomery favourite was either The Blue Castle or A Tangled Web, but as a Canadian I had every single one of them on my shelf when I was young and re-read them until they all nearly fell apart.

    We missed you at the WI meeting this evening; Michelle and I were talking afterwards and she pointed me to your blog. I’m glad you’re having such a great time in New York – and I’m practically green with envy!

    1. Hi Nadia!! I love The Blue Castle too but haven’t come across A Tangled Web yet…I’ll take your advice as a Canadian and make sure I hunt it out!

      Oh I miss you ladies! I wish I could have brought you all with me! I hope you are all well – I’ll send a postcard soon! x

  33. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Anne. I was given the book 3 times over (with inscriptions, so I felt dreadful about ditching the extra copies) between ages 8-14 and militantly ignored them. Read it aged 15 and was completely hooked and love the whole series. I must re-read the books that correspond to my own stage of life (newly married)! Reading along with Anne as she grows older…

    Anyway, delighted to hear that you love her as much as I do, and that you’re having such a good time in New York!

    1. Me either now I have started loving her too – everyone I talk about Anne with goes into raptures at the mere mention of her! I am going to gradually read my way through the whole series and I am fully prepared to be delighted with each one.

      Thank you, and thank you for coming by and commenting! It’s lovely to see a new face!🙂

      1. Ah, I’ve been lurking (in Google Reader) for a year or so now, but was waiting to comment on books that I have actually read!

  34. The illustration at the top of the page is beautiful.
    Who is the illustrator?
    We love the way you write about Anne of Green Gables.
    Our sentiments exactly. So very magical.
    It is our all time favorite movies.
    But I had never owned the books.
    Now, thanks to you, I have an order in for the set.
    Wonder if it will compare to the book vs the movie “The Secret Garden” – our next favorite.
    I have a friend who would never see the movie so it would not ruin for her the book “The Secret Garden”.
    Thank you.

    thank you.

    1. The illustration is by Jessie Willcox Smith, an American illustrator in the early 20th century. This particular image is from her illustrations of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the review and that it prompted you to order the whole set – I hope you will love them as much as me! I love The Secret Garden as well and I found the movie to be just as lovely as the book, so I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

      You are welcome and thanks for coming by!

  35. Hi Rachel

    I am reading Anne of Green Gables now and your review exactly says what I feel about it. I love the book and already find a kindred spirit in Anne Shirley. As you said this book can perfectly cheer one up, and it is a book I will suggest anyone who is feeling gloomy or dejected.

    Thanks,
    Sayantika

  36. http://www.glasgowstudent.net/forum/profile.php?id=394085
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  37. Realise I’m coming to this post rather late (have just discovered your blog!) but couldn’t resist adding to the comments on Anne as I too loved the book. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed with the sequels as I felt that the character of Anne didn’t really develop and they seemed to be telling the same story (essentially) over and over again, but this never detracted from my love of the original. My stepdaughter has red hair, and a bosom friend who is a dead ringer for Diana Barry. I tried to introduce her to Anne when she was about 10 but she found it quite difficult, growing up in Belgium…..later on she told me that she was reading it in French so I hope she loved it too but never dared ask!

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