Friday, November 30, 2018

"Marilla of Green Gables" by Sarah McCoy

Today is Lucy Maud Montgomery's birthday!  To celebrate, I'm reviewing a book that's based on her Anne of Green Gables series, Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy.  As you would expect, this is a prequel to the Anne books, creating a deeper backstory for Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert than is provided in Anne's stories.

I really liked the first two-thirds of this book.  Reading the imaginings about Marilla's life as a quiet, reserved girl who knows loss at a young age, who makes friends with the extroverted Rachel White, and who gradually falls in love with John Blythe was just a joy.  The last third was less delightful for me, and I'm not sure if that's because it was sadder (I don't think I need to say "spoiler alert" about the fact that she does NOT marry John Blythe) or because it got sort of exciting and suspenseful all of a sudden, and the tone didn't quite fit the rest of the book.  So I'm kind of adopting the first two-thirds into my personal head-canon for the Anne universe, and the last third I'll just... gradually forget.

This book is beautifully written, and I do recommend it to fans of the Anne books.  There are a lot of sweet little nuances, moments where you can say, "Oh, THIS is why she's so attached to that amythest brooch!" or "Aww, no wonder she encouraged Anne to go make friends with Diana -- she knows what it is to need a friend."  Also, the Pyes and the Blythes and the Andrewses and so many other familiar names appear, which was charming and fun.

(Mine from Instagram)

Particularly Good Bits:

"I like doing," said Marilla (p. 22).

"Greatness can be found anywhere.  It doesn't need grandeur.  There's greatness in the ordinary.  Maybe even more than elsewhere" (p. 34).

She was just as she was.  It didn't bother her to be plain (p. 56).

Marilla frowned.  His words rang of fatalism, and despite her no-nonsense nature, she was covertly a hopeful spirit (p. 161).

Silence had always been a Cuthbert comfort (p. 191).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  a soft PG-13 for discussions of death in childbirth, a few minor curse words, a suspenseful part involving men with guns, and some kissing scenes.


  1. I have seen this all over Instagram but I haven't read it. I tend to have mixed feelings about prequels/sequels that aren't by the original author. It sounds like it left you with mixed feelings too. I do like that last quote about silence being a Cuthbert comfort though.

    1. Jennifer, yeah, I had mixed feelings about it, but overall I liked it enough that I'm glad I read it. I tend to view pastiches as fanfiction and read them in that frame of mind, where sometimes I accept them and sometimes I'm like, "That's a nice idea, but no thanks."

  2. Oooh, I can't wait to read this!

  3. Wow this sounds like a really great story!! I'm a fan of the Anne books so this might have to go on my tbr. ;)

    1. Kendra Lynne, if you like the Anne books, you will very likely enjoy this :-)

  4. So, did you buy this book? I would like to borrow it if you did. Or did you get it from the library???? Nice review!!!


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