Jul 3, 2008

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (and another Giveaway)

A direct follow-up to Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea accompanies Anne Shirley from ages 16 to 18. Anne is teaching at the Avonlea school, and she is also keeping herself busy with the Avonlea Improvement Society. The Anne we find in this book is a quieter and more introspective Anne, but still a believer in the power of the imagination, still idealistic, still a lover of natural beauty, still earnest and genuine, still on the look out for kindred spirits, and still as loveable as before.

I was delighted to see that despite Anne’s losses and disappointments, her ability to be passionate and enthusiastic, to put all of herself in everything she does, remained intact:

‘It seems to me, Anne, that you are never going to outgrow your fashion of setting your heart so on things and then crashing down into despair because you don’t get them.’
‘I know I’m too much inclined that way,’ agreed Anne ruefully. ‘When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize, I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts…it’s like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.”
It was great to see more of characters from Anne of Green Gables such as Marilla, Mrs Lynde, Diana or Gilbert. It was also great to be introduced to some lovely new ones such as Mr Harrison, Paul Irving, Davy, and especially my favourite, Miss Lavender:
'But, Anne, a broken heart in real life isn’t half as dreadful as it is in books. It’s a good deal like a bad tooth…though you won’t think that a very romantic simile. It takes spells of aching and gives you a sleepless night now and then, but between times it lets you enjoy life and dreams and echoes and peanut candy as if it were nothing the matter with it. And now you’re looking disappointed. You don’t think I’m half as interesting a person as you did five minutes ago when you believed I was the prey of a tragic memory bravely hidden under external smiles. That’s the worse…or the best…of real life, Anne. It won’t let you be miserable. It keeps trying…and succeeding…even when you’re determined to be unhappy and romantic. Isn’t this candy scrumptious?'
A lot of the plot concerns events related to these new characters. The way some things turned out was predictable, but I don't mean this in a bad way. Another thing I loved was how well Montgomery managed to convey the passing of time. This book covers two years, and yet it’s not very long. Still, at the end I had the feeling that Anne and her friends had gone a very long way. Perhaps this has to do with all the character development you see in the story.

Anne of Avonlea is as warn and gripping as the first book. It ends with Anne facing further changes, and I can’t wait to see where life will take her next.

This was my second and final read for Mrs S’ A Hundred Years of Anne Mini-Challenge. I have a copy of Anne of the Island and I really do feel like reading it soon, but because of my upcoming trip it’s not likely that I’ll get to it this month. I will return to Anne with much pleasure in September, though. Thank you, Mrs. S, for a lovely mini-challenge.

Other Blog Reviews:
Blue Archipelago
Pink Bag of Books
For the Love of Reading
Books and Musings from Downunder

A Reader’s Journal
Thoughts of Joy

(If you’ve reviewed it as well, let me know and I’ll add your link to this list)

J. Kaye is giving away a copy of John Lawson's Witch Ember as well as the follow-up, The Raven. Witch Ember is a book I read and really enjoyed earlier this year. The deadline to enter the giveaway is tomorrow! I meant to blog about this sooner, but stuff got in the way. Anyway, to be entered hurry up and leave a comment here.


  1. I so love these books...they have so many moments of insight, like the one you quoted, that seem to cut right to the heart of how I feel life should be approached.

    I absolutely love Paul and enjoy he and Anne's interactions. He is such a 'kindred spirit' character.

    I think you'll really enjoy Anne of the Island, it is one of my favorites of the series.

  2. well.. Anne of Green Gables is next in line for me to read from my TBR pile... it's sounding like I'll be adding this to the wish list !

    Go on vacation and don't read for a while ok?! You are dangerous to others pocketbooks! lol

  3. I have not read Anne of Green Gables yet but I've heard too many great reviews about it! :)

    Ah...it seems like a few friends/colleagues around me are taking vacations! I'm so envious! ;) Have a great one, Nymeth!

  4. I have a copy of Anne of Green Gables by my bed and I am so going to get to it this year or else I'll kick myself. Nymeth, I don't know how I managed, but I didn't have you on my blog roll. I've just finally added you. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

  5. Great review - I'm so glad you enjoyed this book too. I have the Island on my TBR for later this month - I'm determined to read the entire series this year.

  6. This seris never appealed to me but I have read lots of glowing reviews over the last few months so I got a cheap copy from the library for about 10p which I will get around to reading at some point. Sounds like a fun series.

  7. i've neither read this nor the first one. but its so nice when the follow-up book is good!

    you want to stay in that universe and with a follow-up you have the chance - but follow-ups don't always do their predecessors justice. so i'm really glad you enjoyed this one too!

  8. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for posting about "The Raven". The second book is even better than the first. :)

  9. Carl: You're really making me want to pick up Anne of the Island next. And yes, I love those moments of insight :)

    Deslily: lol, I promise to read less on my vacations :P I can't wait to see how you like Anne!

    Melody: Thank you :) I don't think I'd have picked up Anne of Green Gables if it hadn't been for other blogger's reviews...I'm very glad I did.

    Bookfool: I hope you enjoy Anne of Green Gables as much as I did! Thanks for the add - somehow I hadn't added you yet either. I blame jumping from blog hopping to solely relying on Google Reader to visit other blogs. Thank you, I hope you do as well :)

    Mrs S: You'll have a great time reading it all for sure. I might not get to all of them this year, but between now and 2009 I should manage.

    Rhinoa: They never really appealed to me much either..I really didn't expect to enjoy it so much. That's indeed a cheap copy! I hope you enjoy it.

    JP: Yes, it's always nice when that happens - very often it turns out to be disappointing.

    J. Kaye: You're welcome :) I'm very glad to hear that!

  10. Oh, gosh, I detest Miss Lavender. And Paul. Does Paul enter into this book or does he come later? I forget.

  11. Oh I'm so glad you liked book 2! It is the quietest of the books, you're right. It's been ages since I read it, but I read the series several times growing up. I love the 3rd book, Anne of the Island.

  12. shereadsbooks: Yep, Paul's in this one too.

    Susan: I'm really looking forward to the third!

  13. I have long believed that the love story of Anne and Gilbert is perhaps one of the great romances of literature. Even though her books are slower paced and to a certain extent predictable, LM Montgomery had such a great way of making her characters come to life.

  14. Kim: I can't wait to read more about their romance. There were a few hints of it at the very end of this book. But of course, I guessed they'd end up together when Anne was made to sit with him in Anne of Green Gables. I really don't mind the predictability - like you said, she develops her characters so well that I just want to spend time with them and see how they'll end up where we all know they'll end up/

  15. Yes, don't wait! :) I know its hard because I'm sure you have a ton of stuff to read, just like the rest of us. For me the Anne books feel so perfect for summer reading and I know the first time I read them I just had to keep going. You're probably doing the wise thing and savoring them. You've got some really good reading ahead of you. I felt like each one up through Rainbow Valley, which is the first that is all about Anne's kids, got better and better. I don't remember loving the last 2 about Rilla as much but they are still worth reading.

  16. Ah, I still have yet to read the Anne of Green Gables legacy. But, it pleases me that there is nothing to fear from this epic classic, only enjoyment. Your review convinces me to take up the book and find out for myself the magic behind L.M. Montgomery. :]

  17. As I said following your review of the first Anne book, the whole series is just wonderful, I'm glad you're enjoying them...if I had to pick a favorite, I think Anne of Avalonea would be the one I'd choose (this week anyway!)

  18. Great review! I think I will read this one for The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge.


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