“My Top Five Favorite Lucy Maud Montgomery Books”
When my daughter asked me to do a post for her Lucy Maud Montgomery week I really couldn’t say “no” seeing as how I had kind of pushed her into doing the whole Montgomery week in spite of her needing to finish up NaNoWriMo and our family having company at the same time.
It was very hard to pick my top five Montgomery books. Actually, I guess the hardest part was to put them in order of most to least favourite. To the best of my ability here is my list:
- The Blue Castle
- Anne of Avonlea
- Anne of Windy Poplars
- Rilla of Ingleside
- Jane of Lantern Hill
I first discovered The Blue Castle when I was about twenty years old. I checked it out several times from the local library. I immediately fell in love with Valancy. She’d had such a miserable, sad childhood and maidenhood, and it looked like being a spinster for the rest of her life wasn’t going to be much better. Then tragic news and a decision to live what she had left of her life to please herself. What follows is the beautiful story of a girl growing from girlhood to full womanhood including what she believes to be unrequited love.
I fell in love with this story for so many reasons. I tried for years to find a copy of it without any success. About two months ago Eva-Joy told me that it was available for FREE on Kindle. I could hardly get to my beloved Kindle fast enough. It had been long enough since I had last read it that the ending gave me a couple of surprises.
My next three books are from the Anne series – books two, four and eight. We moved to Canada when I was eleven, and I think it was a year or two after that before I discovered Anne. I remember walking to the library to check out the books one after another. My library only had the first six books though so I didn’t discover the last two – Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside for almost another ten years.
I love Anne of Avonlea and Anne of Windy Poplars for pretty much the same reasons. Both of them make me feel warm and nostalgic. I’m not quite sure why. On to some more particulars of what I love about these books…
My favourite characters in Anne of Avonlea are not anyone we know from the first book. They are Miss Lavendar, Davey, and Mr. Harrison. I love Miss Lavendar’s sweet, ladylike demeanour and sad love story which, of course, being given to us by Montgomery has a happy ending. Davey is so all-boy and thoroughly loveable. Anne said she favoured him over obedient Dora, and I do too. And then there is Mr. Harrison. He’s such a rascal that you can’t help liking him and eventually feeling sorry for him when his past catches up with him.
Anne of Windy Poplars is fun because so much of it is done in letter-format. Who doesn’t like reading someone else’s mail? I absolutely love Rebecca Dew – the housekeeper for the two aunts (Kate and Chatty) who Anne is boarding with. And let’s not forget the deliciously fat and loveable cat, Dusty Miller.
Finally in the Anne series both here and in real life is Rilla of Ingleside. As I’ve already noted I did not discover Rilla until long after I’d read the first six Anne books. I fell in love with this book from beginning to ending.
The only thing that I could never understand was how Rilla could not love babies. Of course, not loving babies just made her decision to take in a war orphan made her all the more heroic. I would have loved to have had a baby dropped on me like that. Then there was her sweet love for Ken, and all the ways she had to go from being the spoiled baby of the Blythe family to someone who could work, suffer and love as much as the rest of the family.
Of course, Susan is one of my favourite people in the book. She does sarcasm, loyalty, industry, love and hate so well.
And finally there is Jane of Lantern Hill. Jane is wholly sympathetic in the way she is asked to divide her time and love between her mom in Toronto and her dad in P.E.I. She has such typical adventures for a child while she’s in P.E.I. It’s been a while since I read this book so I’m not coming up with any examples – I’m just going on the feelings I’ve taken away from this book. The ending, as befits L.M. Montgomery, is feel-good.
I’d also give Honourable Mention to Mistress Pat and Rainbow Valley. Pat had to do a lot of maturing before she saw that relationships with people are more important than relationships with places. I thoroughly enjoyed all the shenanigans of Anne’s children and their minister’s children and how the children desperately needed a mother and got one.
I challenge you – Can you rate your five favourite L.M. Montgomery novels?