Tuesday, June 8, 2021

"Kilmeny of the Orchard" by L. M. Montgomery

This is not one of Montgomery's best.  Still, it's winsome and pleasant, so it's not like I'm sad I read it.  I just... expect more from Montgomery.

Really, it feels like someone's first novel.  The one where they're just stretching their writing muscles to see if they can sustain a novel-length story or not.  And I feel like this might have been better off as one of her short stories, to be honest.  Like there's not really enough story here, so she kind of adds a lot of pretty filler to make it long enough to stand alone.

And the thing is, Montgomery's descriptions don't usually feel like filler to me.  Yes, she can go into raptures about nature, but most of the time, she also advances the plot or deepens a character at the same time.  Here, though... yeah, there are places that feel like filler.

So, this isn't a total loss, but it also failed to charm me.

One cool thing about it, though, is that it's told from a male character's perspective!  Montgomery almost always focuses on the female characters, so that was pretty cool.   Eric Marshall, wealthy and at loose ends, helps out a friend by taking over the rest of his term of teaching school on Prince Edward Island.  There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Kilmeny who has amazing musical talent, but cannot speak.  Naturally, they fall in love.  Naturally, there are obstacles.  Naturally, there's a happy ending.  We would expect nothing less, right?

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  It's not great, but it's clean.

This has been my21st book read for my 3rd Classics Club list and my 26th book read off my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2021.


  1. This was one of the first non Anne books I'd read (after the Emily ones which I loved), I read it like 10 years ago, I don't remember much, I rated it 3, I think I was unimpressed enough that I was hesitant to try more as it was several years before I read any of her others (perhaps combined with Chronicles of Avonlea which also didn't strike me at least at the time, I feel like those were sad), but her other stand alones are lovely.

    1. Livia, I quite enjoyed her short stories in Chronicles of Avonlea -- you're right that many of them were at least partly sad, but they almost all had quite happy endings. I think More Chronicles of Avonlea was sadder.

  2. It's been ages since I last read this, but I remember not liking Eric--and also not being super impressed with the story in general. Kilmeny herself is quite nice (though pretty much perfect, right?).

    1. Eva, well, Eric was not really my type, but I didn't dislike him. Kilmeny was... too stubborn for me to think of her as "too perfect."


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