Valancy lives a drab life with her overbearing mother and prying aunt. Then a shocking diagnosis from Dr. Trent prompts her to make a fresh start. For the first time, she does and says exactly what she feels. As she expands her limited horizons, Valancy undergoes a transformation, discovering a new world of love and happiness. One of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s only novels intended for an adult audience, The Blue Castle is filled with humour and romance.
Every once in a blue moon (pun totally intended) a book comes along that speaks to me in a special way and when that happens, forever and always, I view that book as ‘mine’, even if it’s hugely popular and has hundreds or even thousands of fans. (Though usually that’s not the case.) The Blue Castle is such a book. Even though I only read it for the first time a couple of months ago, it’s already made an impression on me in a big way, and I know I’ll love it for years to come. It just might be my favorite Montgomery book, actually, although to chose one over Rilla of Ingleside is still a pretty hard/major decision.
(By the way, I was tremendously stubborn about reading this book in the first place. My mom recommended it to me, and then Naomi and then Hamlette but I took my own sweet time getting around to reading the thing. And then when I finally did, I got so sucked into the story that I read it one day, almost in one sitting. It’s that good.)
Why do I love this book so much? TONS of reasons.
The characters. I LOVE SO MANY OF THE CHARACTERS. Valancy first, of course. I love every single Montgomery heroine that I’ve read about so far (meaning, the ones in the books I’ve read) and Valancy is no exception. She’s my favorite heroine after Rilla, as it turns out. I love how she’s brave in leaving the Stirlings and making such a fuss at the anniversary dinner (although some of her comments were too rude for my liking) and how she’s kind in going off to look after Cissy and how she proposes to Barney (as a rule, I think the idea of a woman proposing to a man is ridiculous, but Montgomery handled it well) and she’s just lovely. And as for the rest of the Stirlings, they’re faintly amusing, though they’re so annoying, and I feel a bit sorry for Aunt Georgiana. She seemed the nicest of the lot.
Roaring Abel was great and Cissy was a dear (I don’t condone her past actions, but she was so sweet all the time that you can’t help but love her). When she died, I’ll admit to tearing up a little (The Blue Castle, as a rule, didn’t make me really cry, but there were some emotional parts).
And THEN there’s Barney. ASIDJFOWRLKADF;LAWERKL;DAMLDSV. Favorite Montgomery hero ever, hands-down, no doubt about it. (Though all the boys in RoI come exceedingly close.) I love how he looks after Cissy and then how he looks after Valancy, especially at the dance she goes to (and then the whole thing with Lady Jane and him giving her his jacket and I LOVE IT ALL SO MUCH). And when Valancy proposes and they go and get married right away and how he calls the island ‘our island’ without a thought. That always stuck out to me. And when the train’s coming and he refuses to run away. AND WHEN HE COMES TO THE HOUSE AND TELLS HER EVERYTHING. Plus, sprinkled in between all those bits I mentioned is everything else I like about him which would take up this whole post. (The only thing I don’t like about Barney is his name. I still don’t think it’s a proper name for a hero.)
(ALSO. His eyebrows. I love his eyebrows. Which may sound weird, but if you’ve read the book, you’ll get it.)
Also, I love the part when Uncle Benjamin (I believe it’s him) starts bad-mouthing Barney and Valancy won’t stand for it. ❤
Isn’t it wonderful how The Blue Castle is set in the 1920s? Because then we get cars and bobbed hair and lovely, lovely clothes (the 20s is one of my favorite fashion eras) and more freedom for Valancy because stuff was changing then. And there’s no horrible First World War to spoil everyone’s happiness, like in Rilla of Ingleside. (Though, Barney and Valancy’s children could theoretically be soldiers or nurses in WWII and I still don’t know if I want to think about that.)
Let me talk about the island for a moment: I’m not an outdoorsy/”Let’s go camping!” kind of person but I think being on a little island, in a cozy cabin with two cats and bearskins rugs and wolf pelts and books and a fireplace and, most importantly, the man you love more than anything in the world would be pretty close to heaven on earth. Sometimes I wish I could switch places with fictional characters…
I don’t feel like I’ve given this book even half the justice it deserves because there really aren’t words to describe how it makes me feel and all the daydreams it always inspires and how amazing Barney is and how adorable he and Valancy are together and how there needs to be a GOOD movie of it right now. Also, I want to read John Foster’s books.
Basically, The Blue Castle is gorgeous and wonderful and squee-ful and basically every complimentary adjective ever invented.
AND YOU NEED TO READ IT RIGHT NOW.
*shivers with the delightfulness of it all*