From the back of the book:
At sixteen Anne is grown up… almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else’s romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behavior of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone.
Anne of Avonlea is second book both in chronological and written order of Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. I am reading this as a part of the Green Gables Readalong, and as I haven’t read this in years and years I am glad that I finally revisited this story.
It’s been so long that other than a few items, there had been a lot that I had forgotten. Not Miss Lavendar, of course. Never Miss Lavendar. I still absolutely love her. In each of Montgomery’s books, there seems to be a secondary character that is such a kindred spirit that you can’t help but falling in love with. In this book, it’s definitely Miss Lavendar. Montgomery has such a wonderful way of creating such colourful characters that positively come to life. Even when they don’t have much time in the book, you end up feeling like you know them intimately.
The main characters that we met in the past book have all grown so beautifully – not just Anne, but also Marilla, Diana and Miss Rachel Lynde (have you ever noticed that some characters simply MUST be called by their full name?). They’re still the characters we knew previously, but so much more developed. It’s wonderful.
Gilbert is still… well, a little vanilla. Sweet and kind and so devoted to Anne… but in Anne of Avonlea he again seems to be very much not colourful enough for our Anne. Perhaps she just needs that ‐ someone to tether her? I don’t know. I’m still not fully convinced that he is The One for her.
I have always hated reading anything that mentioned Ruby Gillis; this time is no different. Everything I read about her is tinted through knowing what will end up turning out for her. Yes, she’s a horribly shallow character who only cares about having as many beaus as possible, but she still breaks my heart because I feel like if she were given a little bit more time she could’ve actually grown well.
On a tangent – when I was growing up, I had Kate McDonald’s Anne of Green Gables Cookbook. All of the recipes that I remember are ones inspired by Anne of Avonlea – the poetical egg salad sandwiches, the cowcumber boats, the pudding… I don’t even know if I actually made any of the recipes, but these are the ones that stuck out in my mind. Especially because they were accompanied by quotes from the books, and I always agreed with Davy’s questioning as to why people couldn’t live off of pudding.
The Bottom Line
It was beautifully wonderful to revisit Avonlea through this book again. It’s such a beautiful series that embodies all of the wonderfulness of childhood and innocence. Love.