Sunday, March 20, 2016

"Anne of the Island" by L.M. Montgomery

Whew.  Anne of Avonlea had me a little worried, that I'd find the rest of the Anne books disappointing like it was.  But nope, Anne of the Island delighted me thoroughly.  I read the last six chapters in an impatient fervor.

For the most part, I think the difference is that Island doesn't have any cutesy parts, whereas Avonlea had too many of them.  The change of scenery and lots of new characters helped too.  And of course, the undercurrent of thwarted romance running through the whole thing helped it sail merrily along.

Anne of the Island picks up at the end of the summer after Anne's last year teaching at the Avonlea school.  She's off to college at Redmond, and the next four years spin past in a delightful swirl of friendship, learning, and gentle adventure.  

Particularly Good Bits:

The bloom had been brushed from one little maiden dream.  Would the painful process go on until everything became prosaic and hum-drum? (p. 62).

For the next fortnight Anne writhed or reveled, according to mood, in her literary pursuits.  Now she would be jubilant over a brilliant idea, now despairing because some contrary character would not behave properly.  Diana could not understand this (p. 89).

"You must pay the penalty of growing-up, Paul.  You must leave fairyland behind you" (p. 155).

But who could expect a melancholy, inscrutable hero to see the humorous side of things?  It would be flatly unreasonable (p. 176).

Anne laughed and sighed.  She felt very old and mature and wise -- which showed how young she was (p. 184).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  Clean and wholesome and delightful.

This is my 35th book read and reviewed for the Classics Club, and my 5th for the Women's Classic Literature Event.

Here are this month's questions from Elyssa at Purple Ink Studios:

Q:  There are some great conversations between Anne and Gil in this book. As much as I love the TV series, some of the real essence of their friendship is lost in the film adaptation. They were such buddies! Is there a scene in the book that you wish hadn’t been left out of the film adaptation?

A:  I think the moment when Gilbert and Anne go arm-in-arm to Diana's wedding was very poignant, and could have been beautifully done on film.

Q:  The proposal. Ah! The proposal! Tell me, which do you like better? The film version or the book version? Mind you, I see Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie when I read the books so I’m not talking about the acting but rather the the scenes for their own sake.

A:  Goodness, I like both!  I don't think I could choose, sorry.

Q:  Let’s talk about Roy Gardener, the man straight out of Anne’s dreams. Give three reasons why he’s so not the guy for her. And if you’d like, talk a bit about having an ‘dream man’ and whether or not we should hold out for them or eventually let them go.

A:  Hmm.  He has no imagination, he's got no idea what a kindred spirit is, and he never told Anne about his previous almost-engagements.  

I'm not sure I ever had a "dream man."  I've definitely always been interested in "manly man" types, like John Wayne and the Lone Ranger, but I never really dreamed up an ideal man for myself -- I confined those to imaginary worlds.  I can see how they'd be very dangerous, though, if you thought one real person could ever fulfill all your ideals and refused any man who didn't.


  1. This is such a delightful book! I think it's my favourite in the series (apart from the first one).
    A change of scene is always nice and I love all the new people introduced, especially Phil:)

    1. Rose, I agree that it's delightful :-) My favorites were always Green Gables and Windy Poplars, so I'm reeeeeeally looking forward to the next one. And yes, Phil is awesome!

  2. Anne of the Island is one of my favorite Anne books, although I like Anne of Avonlea too! Your answers were interesting! I'm currently enjoying Green Gables Fables adaptation of this. Anne and Roy just had a fight so this is getting very, very interesting.

    1. Ashley, I really need to find time to check out Green Gables Fables, because I keep hearing it's cute. Glad you enjoyed my post :-)

  3. This is one of my more favorite books. I do get rather annoyed with Anne when she's determined to see Roy as her hero and doesn't recognize what she has with Gilbert, but I also enjoy identifying her love in the things she blushes at and gets hurt over before she even identifies it herself. And Phil is such a dear; her romance with Jonas has to be one of my most favorite secondary romances in the Anne books. She is definitely the most original and my favorite member of the supporting cast, though I also enjoy Priscilla and Stella. And Patty's Place has such a delightful personality of its own. The chapters back in Avonlea feel sweet and fitting, too. And the romance. Ah, the romance, when it gets underway, is beautiful. The last two chapters are definitely two of my favorite Anne chapters of all time. The proposal at the end is perfection. I love how so much of it got incorporated into the movie. Yes, it takes a long time to happen, but when it finally happens, it's simply beautiful.
    -- Marcy

    1. I didn't get annoyed with Anne because, as a young adult, I convinced myself quite thoroughly that someone was The Guy For Me. And he wasn't. So I know how easily that can happen, and how painful it can be to wake up and see your delusions for what they are.

      But I think, from your comments, you are far more attached to Anne and Gilbert as a couple than I am -- I do love Gilbert, he's a brick, but it's Anne herself I read these books for. So that explains a lot of our differing reactions to them.

      Phil is awesome. I would have loved to have her back in later books.

    2. Maybe I should wait to pass judgement on Anne until I've had more experience in the world of love, then. :) And yes, I am very attached to Anne and Gilbert.

      The one thing that I wish was different about the Anne series is that characters who come up and play a big role in one book don't always come back. There are plenty of exceptions to this, but there are times when I wish a few of the new characters could have been sacrificed for some more mention of the old. Phil is one I would really loved to have seen more of. At least in the few references we get, she seems happy in her life and is still very Phil-ish. I do like the last one in Rilla of Ingleside -- something about her boys signing up to go at once, not being afflicted by her indecision. :)

    3. The above post was me, as I'm sure you knew. I just forgot to sign it.
      -- Marcy

    4. Marcy, my views on a lot of stories have definitely changed somewhat as I grow older. My own experiences have been part of that, and my exposure to lots of different stories, and also probably just my emotions maturing somewhat. Which is why I love re-reading books in different stages of my life, because I get different things out of them.

      I think the reason a lot of the characters come and go is because these books weren't written in the order we know them. So sometimes they just weren't in Montgomery's mind when she was writing a certain book because she hadn't added them to the world yet!

  4. Great review, Hamlette! I really enjoyed this one too. And I totally see Megan Fellows and Johnathan Crombie when I read the Anne books too! Love that 1985 movie :) Mind if I link you up to our #AnneReadAlong2017 on this review and yours for Windy Poplars? Let me know! :)

    1. Thanks, Jane! Sorry it took me a while to reply to this -- I was out of town for a week. Yes, you may absolutely link to these reviews for your blog event! And the others I did for all the Anne books, as well.


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