18/07/2004

Emily of New Moon (by L M Montgomery)

LM Montgomery is, of course, best known for 'Anne of Green Gables' and its many sequels. But I've read that some people consider her lesser-known 'Emily' series to be better in some ways, so when I learned that it had been republished fairly recently (and very inexpensively) I decided to get hold of the first book and see what it was like.

'Emily of New Moon' opens with a sad chapter. Emily's father is dying, and she has to go and live with one of her dead mother's relatives after he's died. None of them really want her - she's outspoken, honest and confident; not a typical well-behaved Victorian child who likes to be seen but not heard.

So Emily goes to live with Aunt Elizabeth (who is strict, but always fair), Aunt Laura (who loves her, but is over-permissive), and Cousin Jimmy, who has never fully grown up due to a childhood accident.

It's a nice book that I enjoyed reading, about life over a hundred years ago; my only problem is that it felt rather disjointed. During the book Emily writes a lot of letters to her dead father, expressing her deepest thoughts and feelings - and they are filled with spelling mistakes, since Emily is not good at spelling. No doubt that makes them realistic, but they're actually quite difficult to read.

I didn't like it anywhere near as much as 'Anne of Green Gables', but was glad to have tried it. It is, of course, children's fiction, although it would need a fairly confident reader since the language is old-fashioned and not at all dumbed down for children.

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