From the back of the book:
When Marilla Cuthbert and her brother, Matthew, decide to adopt a child from a distant orphanage, they don’t get quite what they bargained for. The child who awaits them at the tiny Bright River train station is not the strapping young boy they’d imagined – someone to help Matthew work the fields of their small farm – but rather a freckle-faced, red-headed waif named Anne (with an e, if you please).
Matthew and Marilla may not be sure about Anne, but Anne takes one look at Prince Edward Island’s red clay roads and the Cuthberts’ snug white farmhouse with its distinctive green gables and decides that she’s home at last. But will she be able to convince Marilla and Matthew to let her stay?
Armed with only a battered carpetbag and a boundless imagination, Anne charms her way into the Cuthberts’ hearts – and into the hearts of readers as well.
I actually can’t think of the last time that I read this one. Certainly before 2005, as I don’t have anything posted about it on the blog here. What a travesty this is. But, because of both the Green Gables Readalong, and because I got a copy of the new edition from Tundra Books through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, I had the opportunity to spend more time in Avonlea. And oh! Isn’t this one of the most beautiful covers that you’ve ever seen? The covers for the Anne of Green Gables AND Emily of New Moon series have both been done by the very talented Elly Mackay (and you can even purchase prints of the covers in her Etsy shop).
While there wasn’t necessarily any events in this that I didn’t know or remember, I do think I got a bit more depth out of it than I had previously. This is partially because of the fact that I am much older now than when I had originally written it, and so there was much that resonated differently.
The other part of why I got more depth out of it is because I had the opportunity to look up much more on the Internet than I had previously. For example, that one lovely wonderful scene at the concert where Gil was reciting a poem, and he looked directly at Anne during that one line, “there is another, not a sister” – well, I was able to actually find that poem and it certainly helped me become more immersed in the story. The poem, it turned out, was based on a ballad and tells the story of an injured German soldier on his death bed. Absolutely heartbreaking, really. You should totally read it to, if you’re planning on reading Anne of Green Gables any time soon: Bingen on the Rhine.
I love the way Montgomery writes these books. They always seem to encapsulate childhood innocence – even when her books that deal with more adult-related themes, like war or death. They seem to be everything that I associate with a young Canada. Do other books that take place during this time period have that same feeling?
The characters in this book are so wonderfully developed. Even though this book spans a few years, who the characters are at the beginning of the book are just as developed and three dimensional as they are at the end of the book… even though they do change so much during the process. Montgomery has the knack of creating characters who are so very real, like they could be someone who you could actually meet in real life. Anne herself is absolutely a wonderfully and darling character that you would want to be good friends with – an imagination so wild that it often gets herself in trouble, a truly positive outlook, and someone who cares more about her friends than her own self.
This book reminded me of why I liked Gil. After reading this, I’m really not sure whether Jonathan Crombie did a good job portraying him. Or maybe the character himself just seems to get a little more bland as the series progress. While I did have a huge crush on Gil when I was quite young, the past decade and a half has seen me thinking that Gil is quite boring and not good enough for Anne. But in this book, he seemed to have more mischief and backbone than I remembered previously. (I still wish that Morgan Harris was a character that Montgomery had created, and that Anne actually ended up with him in the end… Morgan Harris just seemed so much better suited to Anne in the miniseries. Though if that had happened, we wouldn’t have gotten Rilla, so I guess that makes it worthwhile.)
Just as wonderful as I always remembered it! I definitely recommend these book to people who haven’t read it before. It’s absolutely lovely.