Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Book Review: Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery (1936)

Chronologically, Anne of Windy Poplars is the fourth book of the Anne Shirley series, but it was actually published much later than most of the other titles, in 1936. Told mostly in letters from Anne, now a school principal and teacher at a high school, to Gilbert, who is in medical school, it relates the events of the three years between Anne's graduation from college and her marriage to Gilbert. 

Though this book is fun to read, the things that happen to Anne and the people she meets seem to be repeats of events and characters already encountered in Avonlea. The children she meets are like the ones she knew at home, the ladies she stays with are much like ladies in Avonlea (and like the ones she rented from at Redmond), etc. Anne is also almost obnoxiously meddlesome in other people's business, and yet manages to resolve every young couple's romantic problems by failing to mind her own business. It's also tedious to hear these things in Anne's voice through the conceit of these letters to Gilbert, from whom we never get to read even one reply. I have nothing against first person in general, but I prefer these books in the third.

All that said, I don't think L.M. Montgomery could ever write a truly bad book. This is decidedly not her best, but it's still a solid three-star read filled with moments of great beauty and great humor. (My favorite is the moment when Aunt Mouser says, "What’s the matter with Mercy Daniels? I met her on the stairs and her complexion has got terrible muddy.” and the response is:  “‘The quality of mercy is not strained,’” giggled Sally, wriggling into her dinner dress." I actually laughed out loud and I don't do that very often with books.) I'm not sorry I read it, but I'm also eager to get on to Anne's House of Dreams, which is next on my to-read list.

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