I am a huge fan of LM Montgomery. I have read almost every piece of material published by her or about her. When I was a girl, growing up in a dusty small Texas town, I would read her descriptions of a Prince Edward Island sunset and it would quench some thirst in my soul. I dreamed of visiting the Island, of seeing those vividly-imagined red roads, of finding a Lake of Shining Waters. I even planned a PEI vacation, which unfortunately has never come to pass. Back in those days, there was no internet, so I had to write to the Island for a travel guide. I spent many hours flipping through those glossy pages, dreaming of the days when I could haunt the same “haunts” as Anne or Emily or Pat.
Sometimes I re-read my Montgomery books, and this week I picked up my copy of Anne of Ingleside. I never liked the Anne books that focused primarily on her children, because Anne fades too much and becomes a background character. And I think that too many kid stories make a book seem treacly and precious. For those reasons, I never cared as much for Anne of Ingleside or Rainbow Valley. I have always like Rilla of Ingleside, though, because even though the book is about Anne’s youngest daughter, Rilla can hold her own as a primary character and grows and matures quite a bit over the course of the book.
From what understand of Montgomery’s life, Anne of Ingleside was written under protest. Her publisher wanted”more Anne,” while Montgomery had tired of the character and moved on. That probably explains why Anne is so faded in this volume, while her children’s cutesy stories take center stage.
This book still isn’t my favorite–in other words, time has not mellowed it for me. I am still dismayed that Anne gave up writing, and her argument with Gilbert towards the end of the book makes me angry. I don’t know whether I am mad at Anne for being petty or Gilbert for being distant but the result is the same–it’s a bit of a turn-off.
On the other hand–reading any Montgomery book is, for me, the literary equivalent of cozying under a quilt with a pot of tea. There’s something infinitely comforting about each book. And they still, no matter what book I read, make me long to see the Island.
Which is your favorite LM Montgomery book? Have you ever been to Prince Edward Island?