Sunday, February 4, 2018

"Jane of Lantern Hill" by L. M. Montgomery

Rejoice with me, my friends!  I've finished reading my allotment of entries to judge for the Five Poisoned Apples contest, and I am now going to devour some books, starting with this one that I began simply weeks ago.

There's something so comfortingly optimistic about most of Montgomery's novels, isn't there?  I mean, many of them begin absolutely horribly, with some wonderful girl stuck in a grim life, surrounded by people who don't love her or understand her or take care of her.  Or all three.  But there's the promise of hope and better things on the horizon.  At least, in most of the Montgomery books I've read -- honestly, until I was out of college, I'd only ever read the 8 Anne of Green Gables books.  In my twenties, I read the Emily of New Moon books, which I liked okay.  But it wasn't until I got into book blogging a few years ago that I started hearing about her other books and getting interested in reading them too.  

So anyway, I really liked Jane of Lantern Hill.  I've put it on my wish list.  

Jane lives a cheerless life, reminding me a bit of The Child from Anne of Windy Poplars mixed with Valancy Stirling of The Blue Castle.  She's being raised by her mother, grandmother, and maiden aunt in a gloomy, hostile old house.  Her mother loves her, so at least she has that, but she's constantly squelched and belittled by her grandmother and aunt.  Then her life changes forever -- and decidedly for the better -- when her estranged father sends for her, and she spends her summer with him on Prince Edward Island (enchanted realm that we all know it to be), where she becomes a real person instead of a scared little shadow.

It's also got an interesting bit of meditation on how parents shouldn't get so wrapped up in their children that they neglect their spouses.  And also that spouses shouldn't get jealous of the way their spouse loves their child.  I would have liked to see that developed even more, but what was there was very nice as it is.

I could never decide, though, if I wanted Glenn Ford or Tom Hiddleston to play Jane's father.  'Tis a puzzlement.

Particularly Good Bits:

...if you couldn't be loved, the next best thing was to be let alone (p. 43).

"It is the essence of adventure to see the break of a new day, Jane" (p. 125).

The lion did not seem to have any intention of going away.  He came in, looked about him, and lay down in a patch of sunshine with the air of a lion who had any amount of spare time (p. 173).

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

This is my 14th book read and reviewed for the Classics Club and my first for the OldSchool KidLit Reading Challenge 2018.


  1. I really enjoyed this when I read it a few years, but I disliked Jane's mother. She was weak, selfish, and spoiled, and the roles were reversed; a little girl shouldn't have to care for a perfectly capable adult woman who is supposed to care for her.

    I could probably reread this in the near future. I remember I adored the scene when Jane realizes about her father. That is a darling section.

    1. Livia, although Jane's mother was a bit of a plot device, I never disliked her. I pitied her because I've known people with weak, yielding natures who are bullied and pushed around by people near them with forceful natures.

  2. I loved this book as a child. I listened to an old radio cassette version of it (read aloud) for years, until cassettes went out of fashion and the library gave it away. I haven't read it in years, but remember being appalled at the absolutely DREADFUL Sullivan Canadian version of it from the... 80s? It butchered the story, changed everything, made Jane hostile toward her father, included some weird ghost stuff, it was just a total mess. I wish someone would do it over; I think it's a great story.

    1. Charity, what fun! I didn't listen to a lot of audio books as a kid, I guess because my mom enjoyed reading aloud and would read books to my brother and I every night, maybe? Or because she herself is not into them? But I did manage to listen to a couple from the library and really dug them. Now I listen to audio books with my kids on long car rides a LOT, and it's delightful. I can imagine that the right reader would make this one delicious!

      Never saw the movie version. Didn't even know there was one. I'll take your advice and steer clear :-)

    2. I used to spend hours drawing, so I listened to children's books while I did it (and spent the rest of my free time either writing or reading! My grandmother tried to coax me outdoors. HAH! Good luck, trying to get me to play baseball!).

      If you love audio books, I HIGHLY recommend Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre presentations. Their versions of The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, C.S. Lewis: The War Years (Jeremy Northam plays Lewis!), At Home in Mitford, and the Chronicles of Narnia are SPECTACULAR radio plays.

      The reader for Jane of Lantern Hill played Jane in the CBC movie -- and it took me awhile to figure out, when I started watching Law & Order, where I had seen Sam Waterston before -- he played her dad in the film, and was on the audio book cover! :D

    3. Charity, very cool! I really am not sure why we didn't listen to more audiobooks growing up, other than we just... didn't. I do enjoy them, so I'll keep an eye out for those Focus on the Family ones for future car trips!

      I have been verrrrrrrrrrrry slowly (as in, for over a year) listening to a novelized retelling of Hamlet read by Richard Armitage. It's very "adult," so I can only listen to it when my kids aren't around, but oh my. It's fascinating, and Armitage's voice is almost too delicious to listen to for hours on end anyway.

  3. I just finished this book a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Jane also reminded me a bit of Valancy Stirling (gosh I love The Blue Castle). And you are right about the food for though regarding parents not being so obsessed with their children, the neglect each other. Great review of a great book!

    Here is my review, if interested!

    1. Elena, I definitely see a lot of similarities between Jane and Valancy! The Blue Castle is one of my absolute favorite books :-D Thanks for the link -- I will check out your review!


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