My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve been in the mood for some light-hearted reading this past week and what better books to read than by those by Lucy Maud Montgomery? My first ever book by this writer was Rainbow Valleywhich is about Anne Shirley’s children. I read the final book in the series as well before I realised that there were six prequels all about Anne. I got to read Anne of Green Gables but never got further…until now.
Looking back I think the reason I never continued with the series is because the pages of description on background and setting used to annoy me agreat deal. I recall skipping several pages simply to get to the ‘story’! However, those same cumbersome descriptions have been an absolute delight to read now. One can just lose oneself in Montgomery’s descriptions….she always seems to be opening up a glimpse of paradise for her readers! What an imagination!…..do places like the ones she describes, still exist outside of the imagination?
In this second book of the series Anne Shirley is sixteen and the Avonlea school teacher. We experience along with her the trials and joys of teaching little ones and being part of a close knit community. She meets some interesting new people whom she quickly befriends. Of all the new people she meets I found the strangest one to be Miss Lavendar. In fact, while Anne quite fell in love with her, I found her down right creepy. She seemed to me a slightly milder version of Dickens’ Miss Haversham. She is a woman in her mid forties living in a dream world of flowers, fairies and echoes, dressing up for make-believe company and what not! It goes without saying that Anne adores her, but one would hope our heroine would have more common sense than to turn out that way at forty!!
I love Anne’s temper and penchant for trouble. I think these qualities are what really save her from being a bore. Personally, I find her imagination is a bit much too much to handle, and I’m thankful that the author keeps the story going with down-to-earth plots!
I’d like to end this post with the following quote simply because I found this a lovely definition of poetry.
Look do you see that poem?” she said suddenly, pointing.
“Where?” Jane and Diana stared, as if expecting to see Runic rhymes on the birch trees.
“There . . . down in the brook . . . that old green, mossy log with the water flowing over it in those smooth ripples that look as if they’d been combed, and that single shaft of sunshine falling right athwart it, far down into the pool. Oh, it’s the most beautiful poem I ever saw.”
“I should rather call it a picture,” said Jane. “A poem is lines and verses.”
“Oh dear me, no.” Anne shook her head with its fluffy wild cherry coronal positively. “The lines and verses are only the outward garments of the poem and are no more really it than your ruffles and flounces are YOU, Jane. The real poem is the soul within them . . . and that beautiful bit is the soul of an unwritten poem. It is not every day one sees a soul . . . even of a poem.”