I couldn't get to sleep that night because I was thinking about this book. In fact, I got up out of bed, fetched the book, and sat in our closet on the floor, reading it until midnight. And then I finished it on Thursday, right after lunch. Because... I loved it. Next time in a book store, I'm going to hunt down a copy of my own.
The Blue Castle of the title refers to an imaginary wonderland constructed by Valancy Stirling to escape the dreariness of her own narrow life. She's twenty-nine and unmarried, treated shabbily by her family, constantly pestered by her mother and the aunt who lives with them, and generally unhappy. She sees the doctor about some heart trouble and is told she has maybe a year to live. And the knowledge that she is dying convinces Valancy she needs to live while she can. She stops letting her family walk all over her, she tries new things, buys clothes she likes, and gets herself a job keeping house for the town ne'er-do-well and his dying daughter. This naturally causes her family to believe she has lost her mind, since she didn't tell them about her diagnosis.
It's pretty obvious from the get-go that Valancy is going to fall in love with Barney. There are other fairly predictable things going on in the story, and the plot hinges on a couple of convenient coincidences. Do I care? No. It's a charming, earnest, lovely book anyway. As usual, Montgomery's descriptions of Canada and the outdoors soar, though I must admit skimming some of them because I wanted to get back to the people.
Particularly Good Bits:
It was permissible, even laudable, to read to improve your mind and your religion, but a book that was enjoyable was dangerous (p. 13).
Second Cousin Sarah Taylor, with her great, pale, expressionless eyes, who was noted for the variety of her pickle recipes and for nothing else (p. 54).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for a couple of old-fashioned curse words, alcohol use, and discussion of an unmarried girl becoming pregnant.
This is my 26th book read and reviewed for the Classics Club.