Thursday, October 24, 2019

Book Reviews | Anne, Marilla & the Landscapes of PEI

As is my custom, before we headed out on our summer vacation, I researched the areas we'd be visiting, thumbed through travel guides, and read a few books. 


Because our primary destination this year was Prince Edward Island, Canada, I absolutely had to re-read L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. It's been three years since I last read this wonderful classic that has so much scope for imagination! It's definitely a book that's perfect for re-reading and enjoying, especially before heading off to see the sites that inspired the beautiful setting of the book.

Robbie gave me The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid as a pre-birthday gift before our trip. It was the perfect book to build on the anticipation of visiting Prince Edward Island. This book shares the similarities between the real-life author L.M. Montgomery and her fictional character Anne Shirley (raised by older couples, loved being in nature, high achievers, attended one-room schools, taught school, etc) as it tells about the beauty of Prince Edward Island, the changes that have come to the island now that tourism (due to the Anne of Green Gables books) is the second largest industry, and how this island was an integral part of L.M. Montgomery and Anne Shirley's lives.

The book is filled with beautiful photographs! There are contemporary photos of Prince Edward Island as well as photographs taken by L.M. Montgomery in the 1890s (many of which she colorized in the 1920s). While some of these older photos included people, L.M. Montgomery also took photos of her surroundings - gardens and nature and even her room. I found this interesting because during the times of early photography (and even modern film photography) people were more conscientious about taking fewer photos and rarely used extra shots for things like capturing a tree in bloom or the details of a bedroom.

Because I have read the Anne of Green Gables books and several of L.M. Montgomery's published journals, I honestly didn't learn any new information about the story or L.M. Montgomery. The author quoted extensively from Volume 1 of the journals, the first Anne book, and The Alpine Path (L.M. Montogomery's autobiography, which I haven't read ... yet). However, I enjoyed the review of all this information in such a lovely book and thoughtful gift as we were preparing to visit many of the exact locations mentioned.

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy was another gift from Robbie. This novel develops the backstory for Marilla, years before she and her brother Matthew adopted Anne Shirley. It's a good story that follows Marilla as she grows up at Green Gables, develops and loses a relationship with John Blythe, joins the Ladies Aid Society, and has her first encounter with the orphanage in Nova Scotia. Her Aunt Lizzy is introduced in this book, which also deals with runaway slaves and the controversy over the abolition of slavery.

The story ends right before where Anne of Green Gables begins, with Marilla and Matthew discussing adopting a boy to help around the farm. I enjoyed this book; however, I do not think it developed Marilla's personality in a way that it flows smoothly from this story to the original stories by L.M. Montgomery.

Have you read the Anne of Green Gables books or visited Prince Edward Island? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. A friend and I camped on Prince Edward Island YEARS ago. We loved it there and had a wonderful time. I've only read one of the Anne of Green Gables books and that was also years ago..


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