Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery – Audiobook Review

AnneOfAvonlea-2400x2400.jpg

Following Anne of Green Gables (1908), this book covers the second chapter in the life of Anne Shirley. We learn of Anne’s doings from the age of 16 to 18, during the two years that she teaches at Avonlea school. It includes many of the characters from Anne of Green Gables, as well as new ones: Mr. Harrison and his foul-mouthed parrot, Miss Lavendar Lewis, Paul Irving, and the twins Dora (sweet and well behaved) and Davy (mischievious and in constant trouble). Anne matures, slightly, but she gets into a number of her familiar pickles, as only Anne can: She accidentally sells her neighbor’s cow (having mistaken it for her own), gets stuck in a broken duck house roof while peeping into a pantry window, and more.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Published 2014 by Post Hypnotic Press (Originally Published 1909)
Format: e-audiobook; 9 hours, 5 minutes
Classics / Young Adult
Also By This Author: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of the Island, Emily of New Moon
Goodreads | Audible | Publisher
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Anne of Green Gables Teaser 2

It’s amazing what you pick up from a book when you listen to the audiobook version, even if you’ve read the book countless times before. I have read and reread Anne of Avonlea several times since I was in elementary school, but I had never connected with this quote before now: “She seemed to walk in an atmosphere of things about to happen.” What a perfectly lovely description of Anne!

In Anne of Avonela, a lot of things do happen to Anne: she becomes a teacher, she turns a grumpy old neighbor into an unlikely friend, and, my personal favorites, she stumbles upon an enchanted cottage in the wood and helps to reunite two lost lovers. In this novel we discover Anne the opportunist, who never shies away from the prospect of an adventure.

Besides Anne, we also reconnect with Marilla, Diana, and Gilbert, and we are introduced to several new brilliant characters, including Mr. Harrison and his spiteful parrot, Ginger, ethereal Ms. Lavender, and the polar opposite twins, Davy and Dora (more on Davy down below!). L.M. Montgomery is a master story teller and through these complex characters she tells the most delightful and inspiring stories.

Like many other second installments in a series, it’s may be easy to overlook Anne of Avonlea as merely a bridge between Anne of Green Gables and Anne of the Island, but I have always regarded this novel as one of the best in the series. Anne is becoming more of who she will be as an adult, but she still has her typical mishaps and serendipitous adventures that made the world fall in love with her in Anne of Green Gables.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy classics and/or young adult fiction.
…you love novels with romantic depictions of nature and rural 19th century life.
…you prefer character-driven books.
…you’re looking for a new audiobook to listen to (keep reading below!).

Audiobook Review

If you read my recent review of Anne of Green Gables, you already know that I really enjoy Colleen Winton’s talents as a narrator. In Anne of Avonlea, Ms. Winton continues to bring L.M. Montgomery’s beloved characters to life in her own dramatic way. My favorite aspect about this audiobook is Ms. Winton’s portrayal of darling Davy Keith. Davy is without a doubt one of my favorite characters in the Anne of Green Gables series. He is mischievous, adorable, and spunky, and his antics are depicted wonderfully by Colleen Winton. I always smiled when she said Davy’s trademark line, “I want to know!”

I’m really looking forward to listening to Anne of the Island; I’m positive that Colleen Winton will do a fantastic job with the next series of characters we meet!

colleen-wintonAbout the NarratorColleen is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer…and now a narrator. Her career has taken her all over the country and includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the original Canadian companies of CATS and Show Boat, extensive film/TV credits, and numerous directing/choreographing credits. Her stage work has been honored with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award and she received a cultural award given by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was especially pleased to have recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press just before she embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.

Anne of Green Gables Giveaway: Three Winners

If you are interested in this audiobook, enter into a giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Colleen Winton’s narrations for Anne of Green GablesAnne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island! Good luck!

Anne of Green Gables Tour Banner.png

I’m reviewing Anne of Avonlea as part of a blog tour hosted by Jess at The Audiobookworm. Stop by the tour page to check out other blogger’s reviews for Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island!

DisclaimerI received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – Audiobook Review

AnneOfGreenGable_2400x2400.jpg

Anne, a young orphan from the fictional community of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia (based upon the real community of New London), is sent to Prince Edward Island after a childhood spent in strangers’ homes and orphanages. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, siblings in their 50s and 60s, had decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage to help Matthew run their farm. They live at Green Gables, their Avonlea farmhouse on Prince Edward Island. Through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne Shirley. Anne is described as bright and quick, eager to please, talkative, and extremely imaginative. She has a pale face with freckles and usually braids her red hair. When asked her name, Anne tells Marilla to call her Cordelia, which Marilla refuses; Anne then insists that if she is to be called Anne, it must be spelled with an e, as that spelling is “so much more distinguished”. Marilla at first says the girl must return to the orphanage, but after a few days she decides to let her stay. Marilla feels that she could be a good influence on the girl and had also overheard that another disagreeable woman in town might take Anne in instead.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Published 2014 by Post Hypnotic Press (Originally Published 1908)
Format: e-audiobook; 10 hours, 7 minutes
Classics / Young Adult
Also By This Author: Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Emily of New Moon
Goodreads | Audible | Publisher
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you are probably aware that Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite book. If you didn’t know that, you can just look up to my blog’s header and see a copy of Anne there, in-between Jane Eyre and Persuasion, two other favorites of mine. Despite the fact that I adore this novel, I have never actually written a book review for it! But recently I joined an audiobook tour for the first three Anne books, and now I can finally tell you why I love this series so much.

Anne Shirley is one of the most lovable literary heroines you will ever come across. Since I first discovered Anne when I was in 5th grade, I have only met one person who did not like Anne of Green Gables or its imaginative heroine. Anne Shirley is dramatic, unwavering, a tad bit naive, and full of soul and wonder, and every time I read the series I discover something new. I’ve looked up to Anne in each season of my life, from being a young, self-conscious red-headed girl myself, to going off to college and living my dreams, to getting married and being in a new, foreign town, I have always been able to relate to Anne and learn from her mistakes, misadventures, and life lessons.

If you have never read L.M. Montgomery’s most famous masterpiece, I urge you to pick it up now! Even if you are a middle-aged man, I am sure you will enjoy it, if only because you find Anne’s enthusiasm and melodrama entertaining.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy classics and/or young adult fiction.
…you love novels with strong characters who possess deep hearts and realistic motives.
…you want a book that can make you laugh, cry, and fall in love.
…you’re looking for a new audiobook to listen to (keep reading below!).

Audiobook Review

I’ve read Anne of Green Gables at least five times (it is my favorite book, after all); but I have never listened to it on audiobook, and I was very pleased with Colleen Winton’s narration! She has a pleasant and non-distracting voice, and each of her voices for the different characters were appropriate and fitting. It’s always frustrating when you’re listening to an audiobook and the narrator’s voice, tone, and/or pronunciation distract you from the story. Fortunately, this is not the case with Colleen Winton’s reading of Anne of Green Gables.

Sometimes I have a difficult time reading classics. The old-fashioned syntax and depictions of every day life can make me zone out sometimes. L.M. Montgomery’s writing is so flowery, however, it’s like reading poetry, so I’ve always been hooked on her novels. But if you also have a hard time reading classics all the way through, I’d recommend trying to listen to audiobooks instead. Often times it’s easier to understand what’s going on in a classic novel when you’re listening to a dramatic reading of it. I found it enjoyable to listen to this audiobook of Anne of Green Gables during my work commute and while doing housework.

colleen-wintonAbout the NarratorColleen is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer…and now a narrator. Her career has taken her all over the country and includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the original Canadian companies of CATS and Show Boat, extensive film/TV credits, and numerous directing/choreographing credits. Her stage work has been honored with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award and she received a cultural award given by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was especially pleased to have recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press just before she embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.

Anne of Green Gables Giveaway: Three Winners

If you are interested in this audiobook, enter into a giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Colleen Winton’s narrations for Anne of Green GablesAnne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island! Good luck!

Anne of Green Gables Tour Banner.png

And stop by the tour page to check out other blogger’s reviews for Anne of Green Gables :)

 

DisclaimerI received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Top Ten Tuesday: Fellow Bookworms

toptentuesdayI didn’t get to do last week’s Top Ten Tuesday, so I’m doing it today in lieu of this week’s topic (favorite fairy-tales & fairy-tale retellings). This topic is all about book nerd characters.

As always, this meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Fellow Bookworms

Lizzie Bennet Jo March

Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jo March – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Hermione Anne Shirley

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery

Molly Gibson Catherine Morland

Molly Gibson – Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Catherine Morland – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

senseandsensibility meanttobe mara dyer To Win Her Heart

Marianne Dashwood – Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Julia Lichtenstein Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Mara Dyer – Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin
Eden Spencer & Levi Grant To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Who are some of your favorite bookworm characters? 

Walnut Spice Cake Inspired by Anne of Avonlea

Anne of Avonlea

“Poor Anne got her hat and her twenty dollars and was passing out when she happened to glance through the open pantry door. On the table reposed a nut cake which she had baked that morning…a particularly toothsome concoction iced with pink icing and adorned with walnuts. – Anne of Avonlea, Chapter 2

Yummmm. That was my thought when I read this passage from one of my all-time favorite books. Anne Shirley has many baking catastrophes when we first meet her in Anne of Green Gables, but every now and then she creates some truly delicious “concoctions” and pregnant me started craving this particular nut cake as soon as I pictured it with pink icing and walnuts. So I became inspired to bake my own! I know it’s summer and this cake has more of an autumnal taste to it, but it’s delicious all the same!

I found this recipe by Martha Stewart for an Applesauce Cake that I tweaked a bit

Walnut Spice Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey (I didn’t measure it out; I drizzled it)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • For icing: 3 tablespoons melted butter, 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (add more or less, depending on your sweet-tooth), 4 tablespoons water, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, red food coloring. Side note: next time I make this icing I will probably use a butter cream icing instead.
Messy Kitchen

I love messy kitchens while baking! (I also love cleaning it up as fast as I can once the cake is in the oven)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

  2. In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and honey until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Beat in applesauce. Fold in walnuts.

  3. Generously coat a nonstick 9-inch tube pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter into pan; smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (but slightly wet), 60 to 70 minutes (I moved the pan to the bottom rack after 60 minutes so the middle of the cake would bake faster).

  4. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Turn out of pan onto a cutting board or baking sheet; invert cake onto rack, top side up. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving, or top with icing and chopped walnuts, if desired.

  5. For Icing: Mix melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, water, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add 1-2 drops of red food coloring to get the pinkness you desire. Stir until blended. Pour over cake and sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. Tip: reheat icing just before pouring. Halfway around the cake I noticed that my icing wasn’t “dripping” enough.
Walnut Spice Cake

Ta-da! Walnut Spice Cake, inspired by Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery.

Enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Want With Me On A Desert Island

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a freebie! So I decided to finally post a top ten list I’ve tried to share several times.

Do you ever read a book and think, “I would want THAT character with me if I was ever in ‘x’ situation”? Well, I’m really keen on picking out characters who are resourceful. When I read Harry Potter, I’m thinking, “Man, I would love to have Hermione next to me in a natural disaster.” (Seriously, is there a situation I wouldn’t want to have Hermione’s help in?)

So, I’m doing a Top Ten Tuesday rewind post and sharing with you the Top Ten Characters I’d Want to Have With Me On a Desert Island

Hermione IMG_2042

Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter series) – I basically already said I’d want Hermione with me in any situation. She’s arguably the most prepared and resourceful character ever written.

Katniss Everdeen and Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games series) – Not the most emotionally reliable of characters, but Katniss is still brave, strong, and a hunter (which would come in handy when it’s time to eat!). And Finnick would be great at catching fish, and also at charming people into doing whatever he wants (in a good way, of course…).

JoMarch IMG_2048

Jo March (Little Women) – I’d want Jo around to keep all of our spirits up. You’d never be bored with Jo as company, and the way she nursed her sister Beth always made me cry. She’s a headstrong character, but she has a huge heart for other people.

Robin Hood (The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood) – Besides the fact that he can hunt and entertain, Robin Hood would be great at keeping everyone “united” (like Finnick). If we’re stuck on this island for a while, I can count on Robin to work out arguments and keep everyone in a good mood. Except for maybe Katniss, since she doesn’t have any people skills. Robin would also be helpful at surviving in the woods.

Anne and Gilbert IMG_2049

Anne Shirley & Gilbert Blythe (The Anne of Green Gables series) – I really debated between Gilbert and Prim from The Hunger Games, since both are doctors/healers. But I went with Gilbert because he’s a very wise character who I could also trust to be a leader in a chaotic situation. And, yeah, he’s not bad to look at either ;) And Anne’s imagination would come in handy when we’re bored. I would love to have story-time with her and Jo March.

Meredith Hayes (Short Straw Bride) – Meredith can make a happy situation out of anything. Oh, it’s your wedding day and there’s no cake? Well don’t worry, let me just whip some delicious cinnamon rolls out of scratch for you! Someone is trying to set the barn on fire? No problem! I’ll make everyone dinner and then personally go out there and stop the fire myself. Yeah, you’re pretty resourceful, Meri.

AnneElliot IMG_2043

Anne Elliot (Persuasion) – If anyone can stay calm during a catastrophe, it’s Anne Elliot. As soon as everyone starts freaking out about something, Anne is focused and swift-thinking.

Phileas Fogg (Around the World in Eighty Days) – If there’s one thing I know Phileas would be able to do on a desert island, it would be to get us off of it. I’m sure he’d just happen to find a boat somewhere or be able to flag down a passing ship that could take us all home.

Which characters would you love to have with you on a deserted island??

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Places I Want To Visit

toptentuesday

One of my favorite types of books to read are the ones where the setting becomes a character in the story. I just love flipping through a book that makes me want to walk through the setting and experience it all first-hand. Sometimes I end up not really caring for the book that much, but the setting can be presented in such a way that I don’t even care; just let me visit!

Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit:

London – Honestly, who hasn’t wanted to visit London because of a book they read or a movie they saw? London is the setting for so many stories over so many different time periods, the city itself has become timeless. I believe you can make London the setting for nearly any genre (except for maybe Westerns) and it would work. The book that made me want to visit London so badly was Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. She does a fantastic job making London an actual character that I could practically imagine myself walking around a city I’ve never visited. Can’t wait to actually go there one day!!

Bath

Bath – I’m just going to cut right to it. Jane Austen makes me want to visit Bath. Even though Jane hated living in Bath, her final two novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, are set there. I would love to visit this city and tour each of the areas Austen mentions in her novel. And then I would pretend to be Anne Elliot chasing down Captain Wentworth in front of The Royal Crescent ;)

New York City – I feel the same way about NYC that I do about London: it’s timeless. I love reading stories and watching movies that take place in the City. The one that’s popping up in my head at the moment is the movie You’ve Got Mail. We get to see all the seasons, but I love what Meg Ryan says: “Don’t you love New York in the fall?”

neverland

Neverland – I don’t know what I love most about Peter Pan’s Neverland: the waterfalls, the mermaid lagoon, the Lost Boys’s tree house… I would be totally content living there forever. Each time I visit Disneyworld/Disneyland I just want to ride Peter Pan’s Flight all day.

North Carolina – This is the current place Matt and I are looking to relocate to. Even though I visited multiple times when I was younger, the reason I want to live there now is because last Christmas I read at least 3 or 4 Nicholas Sparks novels. But hey! That state is gorgeous, whether you like Sparks novels or not (I happen to like them).

montana

The 1800s American West- Along with Nicholas Sparks novels I also have a soft spot for Historical Fiction novels that take place in the American West. I love everything about them & the west. When I was a sophomore in high school I visited Colorado for two weeks and fell in love. I’m trying to convince my husband to look for jobs there, but at least he’s on board with North Carolina ^

Omaha – Ok, I’ve never visited Omaha, or any other place in the Midwest, and I don’t really know what would be attractive about Nebraska, but the reason I want to visit is because of every single Rainbow Rowell novel. The way she talks about her city makes me want to go there and visit all of the places her characters have visited.

sherwood

Sherwood Forest & Nottingham – I have a huge literary crush on Robin Hood. Everyone who knows me in real life knows this. I want to marry Robin Hood, but even more than that I want to be him. Can’t you just see me walking down this pathway with Little John, singing “Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally, golly what a day!”?

Washington State – Okay, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit the reason why I’d like to visit Washington…it’s because of Twilight. I’m not a fan of the books, even though I went through that period freshman year of college, but I really did like the setting of the series. I wouldn’t necessarily want to live in a place where it rains nearly every day, but I would like to visit Washington and maybe go camping there.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island – This should come as no surprise to any of you who regularly read my blog. Anne Shirley’s beloved Prince Edward Island is the place I want to visit more than any other in the whole world. Every time I read or watching Anne of Green Gables I immediately imagine myself walking along next to Anne as she braves the Haunted Wood or strolls down Lover’s Lane and especially when her and Diana visit Miss Lavendar! *sigh* I’m hoping to finally visit next year. Each summer in Charlottetown they host “Anne of Green Gables–The Musical”, and I WANT TO SEE IT SO BADLY!!! Until then I’ll just keep the soundtrack on my playlist ;)

What are some places–fictional or real–that you have wanted to visit because of a specific book you read? Would you like to visit any of the places on my list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Inspire Me

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday meme (hosted by the lovely ladies of The Broke and The Bookish) is pretty open! Basically, we pick ten characters who do something. So I thought all day about a characteristic that I’d really like to examine a bit more closely, and finally at 11pm my time, it came to me!

Top Ten Characters Who Inspire Me

  1. Emma Woodhouse (from Pemberley Digital’s Emma Approved– A far more likeable modern version of my least favorite Jane Austen heroine, this Emma is all about the self-empowerment! She’s constantly encouraging (and sometimes forcing) every woman she meets to be the best they can be, without being someone they’re not. The most inspiring thing about Emma is that she’s always persistent when it comes to achieving a goal; nothing is impossible with hard work and the right attitude.
  2. Anne Shirley (from the Anne of Green Gables series) – Of course I would have to include my favorite fictional character in this list. I adore Anne’s creativity, open-mindedness, and her wild imagination. One of my favorite things she did was create a short-story club with her friends, where they would get together to share and critique their stories with each other. Plus she headed up I don’t know how many clubs and improvement projects. Definitely an over-achiever and take-charge kind of woman!
  3. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë’s beloved heroine) – Although I in no way envy Jane Eyre’s life, I do admire and respect many of her wonderful qualities. The ones that inspire me the most are her unfailing talent to forgive those who hurt her the most, her unfaltering senses of morality and self-respect, and her revolutionary ability of knowing what she deserved out of life. For a mid-19th century lower class orphan, Jane Eyre never believed she didn’t deserve happiness, but she certainly wouldn’t sacrifice her self-respect to obtain it. She’s also extremely good-hearted and patient.
  4. Beatrice “Tris” Prior (from the Divergent series) – I’m late in joining the Divergent fan club, but I am happy to admit that I finally read the novels (just so I could see the movie–I’m one of those “I always read the book” first type of gals)! Although this isn’t my favorite series, as I felt there were many things missing from the novels, I did love all the strong female characters! I definitely respect this trend going on at the moment. I related a lot to Tris: I know without a doubt that I would be a Divergent just like her, and I also would choose the Dauntless faction. My current mantra is “be brave,” and I owe it all to Tris’s bravery for giving me the courage to conquer some of the difficult tasks I’ve had to face lately.
  5. Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) – Where to begin?! Atticus Finch is essentially the perfect parent. He’s intelligent, wise, patient, honorable, good, virtuous, AND he has a sense of humor. He leads by example and encourages his children to love and respect people, not the way the world would tell them to, but they way they deserve to be loved and respected. He doesn’t hide the ugliness of the world from his children, but he gradually opens their eyes to it in doses they can handle and come to terms with. Atticus Finch inspires me not only to be an inspiring parent one day, but he inspires me to be a good person each and every day.
  6. Scout Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) – I couldn’t pick just one member of the Finch clan. Scout is one of my all-time favorite narrators. I love her young and innocent perspective of the world because it is so inspiring. She sees through the hard and calloused exteriors of people to their real, vulnerable hearts. Scout lives during a time of extreme social and racial prejudices, issues that would generally anger and disgust me, but through the pure and unblemished eyes of Scout, I finished this novel completely awestruck and inspired to find people I could treat as nicely as Scout and her father and brother did.
  7. Joanna Robbins (from Karen Witemeyer’s Stealing the Preacher) – I enjoy reading Christian Historical Romances from time to time, but I’ll admit they’re usually pretty cheesy. Karen Witemeyer is my favorite author in that genre, though, and it’s because she creates plot lines that aren’t cheesy, and her characters are so strong and inspiring that I feel uplifted for quite some time after reading her books. A quality that I admired about one of her heroines, Joanna Robbins, was accepting our physical appearances as God-given and something we shouldn’t feel ashamed about. Joanna herself wasn’t too keen on her red hair. Now I have red hair but I’ve always loved it so I must be the odd carrot-top out ;) But there are plenty of other things about my appearance that I don’t like, and I felt inspired by what Joanna said when she found herself downcast about her unusual hair color; she reminds herself that it is a gift from God: “Don’t despise it because it is different. See the beauty in His gift.”
  8. Esther (from The Bible) – If you ask most Christian women who their favorite woman of the Bible is, most likely they will say Esther. But if you know her story you will understand why. Esther is bold, courageous, and full of faith, and in many ways she would be the perfect heroine in a YA dystopian novel. She risks her life to protect her family and to do the right thing, and in a dire situation she summons the bravery to speak one of the most inspirational lines in the Bible: “If I perish, I perish.” It just makes me want to run into battle to defend all the things I believe in!
  9. Anne Elliot (from Jane Austen’s Persuasion) – I seem to take a liking to literary heroines named Anne ;) This Anne is probably my favorite Austen heroine. I know most people would choose Elizabeth Bennet, and although I myself take after Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey, good-hearted and pure Ms. Elliot just inspires me so much! She has a subtle yet much appreciated talent of bringing out the best in others (kind of like Emma, whom I mentioned at the top of this list, but not so much in-your-face), and there’s not a mean or malicious bone in her body. She thinks the best of everyone and is constantly looking for ways to serve others. Plus, she’s the type of person you would want near you in a crisis; she’ll be completely calm and manage to get everything done while the rest of the world freaks out or faints.
  10. Ginny Weasley (from the Harry Potter series) – My favorite Weasley :) I always admired Ginny’s strong will and fearless attitude. We don’t see much of her early on in the series, but in the last few books she becomes quite popular among the Dumbledore’s Army crowd, mainly because “she’s a beast,” as my old Cross Country pals would have said. I’d be afraid to face her in a battle or Quidditch game, but I’d love teaming up with her because I know she’d help me to be brave and bold when I’d naturally want to back down. Also, and spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t read Harry Potter, but I don’t care what J.K. Rowling said recently; Harry belongs with Ginny, just like she wrote it, and not with Hermione.

There you have it! Which characters inspire you the most? Does anyone from my list make yours as well? I kept this list to literary characters, but there are plenty of screen characters who inspire me as well!