Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Anne's House of Dreams" by L.M. Montgomery

I remember not liking this one much when I was a teen.  It was too... mushy, too sentimental, too sad, too sweet, too happy, too boring.  Too grown-up.

This is why I re-read books.  Because this time through, I really liked this book.  Yes, there was a serendipitously happy coincidence that only the Victorians could ever think was a good idea for a plot.  But there was so much genuine feeling in this book -- real sorrow, real joy, deep friendships, abiding love, and so on.  I cried more over this book than I have over any book this year, and I laughed more over it than I have over the last couple of Anne books.

Basically, in this book, Anne and Gilbert get married and rent a house in a seaport, make all new friends, and start a family.  Their friends are quirky and unusual, from good-hearted Captain Jim to sharp-tongued Miss Cornelia, from ethereally beautiful Leslie to shaggy and stubborn Marshall Elliott.  And then there is Susan, Anne and Gilbert's hired maid/cook -- when Susan is at the helm, there is nothing to fear, and that you may tie to.  Also, this whole book made me crave cherry pie.

Particularly Good Bits:

Jane was not brilliant, and had probably never made a remark worth listening to n her life; but she never said anything that would hurt anyone's feelings -- which may be a negative talent but is likewise a rare and enviable one (p. 8-9).

"Ah, there's the rub," sighed Anne.  "There are so many things in life we cannot do because of the fear of what Mrs. Harmon Andrews would say" (p. 13).

Their happiness was in each other's keeping and both were unafraid (p. 21).

"But just think what a dull world it would be if everyone was sensible," pleaded Anne (p. 47).

"Even when I'm alone I have real good company -- dreams and imaginations and pretendings.  I like to be alone now and then, just to think over things and taste them.  But I love friendship -- and nice, jolly little times with people" (p. 67).

"I wonder why people so commonly suppose that if two individuals are both writers they must therefore be hugely congenial," said Anne, rather scornfully.  "Nobody would expect two blacksmiths to be violently attracted toward each other merely because they were both blacksmiths" (p. 135).

"Shirking responsibilities is the curse of our modern life -- the secret of all the unrest and discontent that is seething in the world" (p. 177).

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

This is my 40th book read and reviewed for the Classics Club!  My goodness, I might finish 50 books by the end of the year :-o  It's also my 9th book for the Women's Classic Literature Event.

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

Q:  How is Anne’s friendship with Leslie different from Diana’s? What are your thoughts about friendships and different seasons in life?

A:   Although Anne counted Diana a kindred spirit, Diana never quite understood Anne.  She found Anne amusing and fun, and their friendship was a sweet and loving one, to be sure.  But I think that by the end of this book, Anne and Leslie understand each other very well indeed, in a way Anne and Diana never did.

I've had some friendships that were only for a season, which for me is a bittersweet thing.  I hate change, and I love friends, so I tend to want to stay friends with people forever and ever.  But people change, grow, move -- that's part of life.  There are friends I had as a girl that I haven't seen in twenty years, and likely never will again, simply because our lives grew apart.  There are friends I didn't know five years ago that I thoroughly enjoy being with now, but know we won't be friends forever.  And there are a few friendships that I am confident will last and last and last, for the rest of my life, which makes me so happy.

Q:  Leslie’s life is a tragic one. Once you learn her story, you understand why she was so bitter the night Anne and Gil come riding blissfully into Four Winds. How would you have felt if you were developing a friendship with Leslie? 

A:  I don't know if I would have been as open and understanding as Anne.  I wish I would be, but it takes me a really long time to truly open up to people and let them in -- I'm more like Leslie in that regard, minus the tragic lifestory.  I would probably see if she was interested in being friends, get rebuffed, and go find someone else to hang out with instead.

Q:  This is the book where Anne’s whole life changes. She’s a married woman now with a different lifestyle, different dreams, and different goals. But she’s still the same lovable Anne she’s always been. What are 3 things you think should never change when you get married?

A:  Me personally?  Well, my 14th wedding anniversary is this month, and I know that my faith in God, my love of stories, and my ability to get very enthusiastic over things I enjoy have not changed, unless you count their deepening over the years as changing.


  1. Yeah I don't even remember what happened from when I was a teenager reading this and so glad I stumbled upon this challenge in January because I have fallen back in love with Anne and all her quirks and quirky friends.

    I like this precise review!

    1. Thanks, Penni! I hadn't read most of these for about 20 years, and I am thoroughly enjoying this challenge :-)

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post! That's funny that you didn't like it as a teenager, because I LOVED this book as a teen, and I still do. :) Well, maybe if I read it in a couple more years, I won't like it. I hope not. Anyways, I agree with you about Leslie's friendship with Anne, versus Diana's. It is an interesting thought about them.
    Thanks for the post!

    1. Phoebe, that's funny! I think I just needed my perspectives to change -- now that I'm a wife and mother myself, it all makes more sense :-)

  3. It took me a long time to read this one all the way through. I skimmed it a couple times but couldn't get into it (also, I was searching for a scene I would have bet my life on was in this book but turned out was in another book). But when I finally read it all the way through a few years ago it was much better. My order of favorites would be 1 & 4 tied, 3, 8, 2, 5 , 6, and 7 (I don't like that weird little girl, forget her name, though I should probably re-read it. And 6 was just kind of boring. I need to read the series all the way through again. I started to but then began blogging pictures of all the flowers and trees mentioned (and that's a lot). Here's the first chapter -
    I wrote down the first book but only blogged 15 chapters.

    1. Phyl, I'm glad you did like it when you read it eventually. I think my order of favorites is 1, 4, 5, 3, and then the rest, hee.

      That's such a cool idea for a blog post series! I will check them out :-) Even getting through fifteen chapters is quite an accomplishment.

  4. Ohh, this book. THIS BOOK. I loved it the first time I read it. Still do. It has to be my absolute favorite after Anne of Green Gables. Anything to do with Anne and Gilbert I absolutely love, and this book has by far the most of their love in it. Hence, a large amount of love from me. And yes, I find Leslie's romance very sweet too, and I like that Kenneth will come back to play a role in Rilla's life. And I enjoy Captain Jim and Susan, who will become a beloved character in the following books. But it is for Anne and Gilbert that I love this book so much. Every moment between them, every touch that proves their love, is so eloquent and beautiful that I could read this book over and over for years.

    1. Marcy, how interesting that it's your favorite! I think because I've always been most interested in Anne, not Anne + Gilbert, that I will always love Anne of Green Gables best, but this is probably now my third-favorite, after that and Anne of Windy Poplars.


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