Anne of Ingleside (by L. M. Montgomery)

I've known of LM Montgomery since my early teenage years, when I first came across the classic 'Anne of Green Gables'. It was some time, however, before I realised that there were sequels to this book; I read most of them in my late teens and early twenties, but it's only in recent years that we've managed to collect all eight at home.

'Anne of Ingleside' is the sixth book in the series, set in the early 20th century in Canada. In this novel, Anne is in her thirties, happily married with six children. They live in a large house called Ingleside, and have many local friends. They have a hard time when Gilbert's rather sour aunt arrives for a few weeks, and stays several months; Anne's patience is tried to the limit, and the children are very unhappy. But eventually she leaves, due - ironically - to Anne deciding to be nicer to her.

The book really charts the children's first few years. The sixth child, Rilla, is born during the course of this book, and is about five by the end, while Jem - the oldest - is the grand old age of eleven by the time the book finishes. There are plenty of minor incidents, including one of the children becoming 'best friends' with two entirely unsuitable girls, and learning some important lessons as a result. There are a couple of very moving chapters involving Jem and some dogs, which had me in floods of tears; one or two other places of the book brought tears to my eyes, too.

Unfortunately, other chapters were rather dull. One, for instance, features a quilting party with several ladies at Ingleside, most of whom barely appear in the rest of the book. They gossip about mutual acquaintances and past events... none of which adds anything to the lives of the children, or even involves Anne (who isn't present for most of the gossip). There are other sections which simply describe things that happen without any real human interest.

Still, overall I enjoyed the book very much; I think I've only read it once or twice before, many years ago, and I'd entirely forgotten it.

Recommended to anyone who's read at least one or two of the previous 'Anne' books. It could probably stand alone, but is much better as part of the series. Intended for teenagers, but these days probably enjoyed more by middle-aged adults! Still in print in both the UK and USA.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 9th November 2008

1 comment:

Treasures By Brenda said...

I haven't read all of the books but I have them on my nightstand to read. I did read Before Green Gables, the new book, this summer. It was great & I'd highly recommend it!

You might enjoy reading a page that I have written about Anne of Green Gables' world at Anne of Green Gables Books By Lucy Maud Montgomery.