04/06/2008

Anne's House of Dreams (by L M Montgomery)

Lucy Maud Montgomery was a Canadian writer, whose most famous book - 'Anne of Green Gables' - was published a hundred years ago. She also wrote seven sequels, starting with 'Anne of Avonlea'. I read them all in my teenage years, and re-read them all every so often. Recently I decided to re-read the fifth in the series, 'Anne's House of Dreams'.

This is the book in which Anne finally gives up teaching and gets married to Gilbert Blythe, now qualified as a doctor. They move sixty miles from Green Gables, to a small house which seems to be Anne's 'dream' house.

They make friends with some delightful people - Captain Jim, and Miss Cornelia - who are great characters and tell lots of stories about the past. And Anne slowly gets to know Leslie Moore, a young woman whose life has been fraught with tragedy.

There are lots of subplots to this story, which twine together in a rambling kind of style. It's not fast-paced; in some places there's so much description, or such lengthy monologues, that I found myself skimming. But there are other places so moving that I had tears in my eyes.

Anne is still the same person as the teenager of the original book, intuitive, deeply caring, and very sensitive about her red hair! But she's also matured, and grown more tactful, and a great deal wiser in the way she deals with people.

I like these books; they give a wonderful picture of life as it probably was in Canada in the early part of the 20th century. But they're not everybody's taste, and I found this book in particular had a bit too much authorial comment and background stories, without much happening.

Still, it's very pleasant light reading - intended for teenagers, but I think I enjoy it more as an adult. Recommended to anyone who's read the earlier books in the series, and wonders what happens when Anne grows up.

Still in print in both the UK and USA, and widely available second-hand. This can sometimes also be bought as part of a collection of several of the 'Anne' books.

Review copyright © Sue's Book Reviews, 4th June 2008

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