Thursday, June 27, 2019

Book Review: Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (1909)

In this second novel of the Anne Shirley series, Anne is set to begin teaching at Avonlea School. At the same time, an ornery neighbor moves in next door and Marilla unexpectedly takes in a pair of orphaned twins, one of whom (Dora) is extremely well-behaved and the other of whom (Davy) has trouble controlling his impulses. As she settles into her new role in the classroom, Anne also joins with her friends Diana, Gilbert, and Fred to form a society dedicated to making improvements to the community, which leads her to meet Miss Lavender and learn of the lonely woman's long-lost romance with the father of one of her students.

This book was just delightful from beginning to end. Switching back and forth between the audiobook and the hardcover, I read the entire novel in a single afternoon. Anne is as charming as ever, and the entire story has a refreshingly innocent feel to it, even during moments of difficulty and conflict. The anecdotes of Anne's interactions with her students, as well as her dealings with the twins, were especially fun to read, along with Anne's usual comical missteps and mistakes. The warmth of Anne's relationship with Marilla is also very sweet, as is the hopeful note on which the book leaves Marilla after Anne takes the first step toward leaving home.

As the mother of a very early reader who is already zipping through middle grade novels before the age of 6, I am so thankful for the works of L.M. Montgomery which, because of their tame content and hopeful outlook, will give my daughter something to read in her tween years. I'm also excited to be participating in a challenge on Instagram for which I will be reading four more Anne books. Watch for my reviews of Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars in July, and Anne's House of Dreams and Anne of Ingleside in August.

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