Monday, July 22, 2019

Book Review: Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (1915)

Anne of the Island follows Anne Shirley through her four years at Redmond College, during which she pursues her BA degree, befriends a girl from her own birthplace, rejects several marriage proposals, experiences the death of a friend, and slowly sorts out her true feelings for Gilbert Blythe. During visits home, Anne also observes the goings-on in Avonlea.

As was the case with the first two books of the series, this is another wholesome and innocent story, told in beautifully written prose. Though there is real sadness here (including a death), and some bittersweetness as Anne returns for the first time to the home of her childhood, these troubling times are always somehow infused with the light of hope. Montgomery resists darkness in these books at every opportunity, and I so appreciate that.

I really enjoyed the way this book related the events of four years in Anne's life without feeling rushed or abbreviated. Montgomery did a nice job of choosing important moments to include in the story, and she handled the passage of time quite well. I also enjoyed all the quirks of the newly-introduced characters, especially Redmond classmate Philippa Gordon, and even though Anne drove me nuts for rejecting Gilbert early on in the story, the rollercoaster of her feelings for him made for an enjoyable reading experience.

I'm due to read three more Anne books before the summer ends. Next up: Anne of Windy Poplars!

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