Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

I read Anne of Green Gables and assorted Montgomery novels rabidly when I was a teenager. When I first got my Kindle, the first thing I downloaded was the complete Anne Shirley canon. As an adult, I must admit to not LOVING Anne as much as I did when I was a child. The entire series seemed based on an assumption that Anne was just so charming and unforgettable that she seemed a bit too perfect for me to relate to. I can see why these books, especially the first two, really touched me as a young teenager, but I pretty much forgot about L.M. Montgomery after that.
During a routine questioning of what my husband's grandmother's favorite book was, she mentioned The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I was a bit puzzled because I had never even heard of it.  It's a completely standalone, non-Anne book. She seemed to swoon a bit when she was describing it and it was as if we had entered a new stage of closeness in our relationship.

So I, of course, went on a search for this book. For any book I'm reading for the first time, I like to get it either free or super cheap. My local library system did not have it. My university library system had it, but only in a library four hours from my home that would require me to obtain special permission. I went into three or four used bookstores and scoured countless library sales.  No dice. It finally dawned on me that I should look at Amazon and, lo and behold, there it was at the bargain price of 99 cents for the Kindle version.  

And I agree with the swooniness of this book. It's just delightful. A not-really old maid, Valancy, gets sick and tired of her bickering, obnoxious family members and takes matters into her own hands. Hijinks, love, and long paragraphs detailing the beauty of freshly picked berries ensue.  It's also a great example of fiction in which love  between two complex characters develops over time, a true love that you know when you leave the book, that will last for the rest of their lives. This is not "love at first sight," but a mature, lovely love.

It's funny, it's sad, it's breathtaking, and it's probably going to go on my list of books to be reread every so often. I can't wait to spend time with Valancy again. This is definitely going to force me to read that download of L.M. Montgomery's short stories that I shelved after that disastrous Anne of Green Gables reread.

Read this book!

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