Thursday, May 3, 2018

"The Blue Castle" by L. M. Montgomery (again)

While working on the revisions for Dancing and Doughnuts, my creative well ran dry over the weekend.  Happens from time to time, when I'm using more creative juices than I'm taking in.  Usually it's a gradual slow-down, but sometimes I just stutter to a stop, like this weekend.  So on Monday, I thought, "I've been wanting to re-read The Blue Castle for a while.  I'll just start it today and then I can savor it over the course of the week while I'm visiting my parents."

HAHAHA.  I was done with it before supper on Tuesday.

The first time I read this, I also inhaled it over just a couple of days.  I can't read this book slowly, it seems!  It grabs hold of my imagination and drags me inside the book, and I have to get to the end as soon as possible.  Even when I know how it will end, like I did this time through.  It's simply wonderful, that's all there is to it!

And between reading this and watching two westerns in three days, my creative well feels nicely topped off again, and tonight I will dig into the last chapters of Dancing and Doughnuts.  I'm determined to have these major revisions done by the end of the weekend!

In case some of you have never read this book, I will briefly tell you what it's about.  Valancy Stirling wakes up on her 29th birthday and realizes that her life is dull, drab, colorless, and meaningless.  She will spend the rest of her life doing the same things she's always done: attending her waspish mother, laughing at her boorish uncles' jokes, and enduring the polite ridicule of her whole family and all her acquaintances.  And then she finds out she's going to die within the year, and she decides that she's going to spend her last days on earth really living.  She says what she thinks, she buys dresses she likes instead of the ones everyone expects her to wear, she gets a job, and she asks the town scoundrel, Barney Snaith, to marry her.

Nothing turns out the way she expects, but instead unfolds more beautifully than Valancy ever hoped.

Also, I laugh and laugh and laugh over this book.  Which you know I love :-D

(From my Instagram.  Out of respect for John Foster,
I did NOT pick wildflowers for this, I promise.)

Particularly Good Bits:

People who wanted to be alone, so Mrs. Frederick Stirling and Cousin Stickles believed, could only want to be alone for some sinister purpose (p. 4).

Valancy had long ago decided that she would rather offend God than Aunt Wellington, because God might forgive her but Aunt Wellington never would (p. 6).

Why had she been afraid of things? Because of life (p. 43).

"People who don't like cats," said Valancy, attacking her dessert with a relish, "always seem to think that there is some peculiar virtue in not liking them" (p. 71).

"Fun!"  Mrs. Frederick uttered the word as if Valancy had said she was going to have a little tuberculosis (p. 80).

"John Foster says," quoted Valancy, "'If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends.  If you cannot, friends  you'll never be and you need not waste time in trying'" (p. 123).

November -- with uncanny witchery in its changed trees.  With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills.  With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes -- days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the gray beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines (p. 180).

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.


  1. This book sounds delightful and very amusing! Glad your not letting your creative well run dry. I've been allowing myself to read more, and it's helping a lot.

    1. Skye, it is delectable. Far-fetched and predictable in some ways, but utterly gobble-worthy.

      I inhaled another book today, and I have words dancing on the ends of my fingertips, so I can't wait for my kids to go to bed tonight so I can wriiiiiiiiiiiite!

      And I love how you phrased that -- "allowing myself to read more." So often, I have to remind myself that yes, books are important and I need to make time for them, not feel guilty about reading them. Sometimes I lose sight of that. Glad you're refilling your reservoir too!

  2. I must read this one! I haven't read Montgomery in so many years, and back then, only the Anne books. Thanks for the review!

    1. Marian, YOU MUST READ IT! It's delightful. Perfect spring/summer read.

  3. Ahhhh sigh of satisfaction - reading your review is almost as good as rereading this gem myself 😇

    1. Brona Joy, awwww, I love this comment! Glad you enjoyed :-)

  4. Oh, it does sound perfectly delightful and just like the kind of book I love. Plus, blue is the best color ever so points for the title. Thanks for linking to your reviews!

    1. MC, it is splendid. I can't wait to hear what you think of it!


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