The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

The Blue Castle

Valancy lives a drab life with her overbearing mother and prying aunt. Then a shocking diagnosis from Dr. Trent prompts her to make a fresh start. For the first time, she does and says exactly what she feels. As she expands her limited horizons, Valancy undergoes a transformation, discovering a new world of love and happiness. One of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s only novels intended for an adult audience, The Blue Castle is filled with humour and romance.

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Published 1926 by McClelland and Stewart
Format: e-book rental from Hoopla*; 218 pages
Classics/Romance/Adventure
Also By This Author: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Kilmeny of the Orchard
Goodreads | Amazon 
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today I am blogging about a new favorite love story of mine by one of my favorite authors.

The Blue Castle was the first book I read in 2018, and as soon as I finished, I knew I had found my favorite read of the year. I know I will probably read 40+ more books this year, but I don’t think any of them will resonate with me more than The Blue Castle. It’s a hidden gem of a novel and I only wish I had read it sooner!

The characters in this novel are so bold and entertaining. The heroine, Valancy Sterling, is as lovable and admirable as Anne Elliot, Jane Eyre, and Jo March, and the supporting characters will honestly make you laugh until you cry. There was a smile plastered on my face for most of the novel (with the exception of a few moving scenes–I mean, this is L.M. Montgomery we’re discussing!).

The Blue Castle is one of those books you bring with you everywhere, just in case you’re able to sneak in a page or chapter while you’re out, and once you finish the book, you’re ready to start it all over again. I felt so happy and thrilled when I finished it, and I couldn’t stop recommending it to friends.

You May Also Enjoy…

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Dr. Thorne by Anthony Trollope
(I haven’t read this one yet, but I loved the miniseries!)

Final Musings

I tried listening to The Blue Castle on audiobook, but it just wasn’t good. This is one of those books you need to read in print.

One of my favorite things about reading The Blue Castle is that I didn’t know anything about it beforehand, and even the blurb on the cover gives nothing away, so I was in full suspense and surprised by so many of the plot points. That’s why I’ll keep this review short and sweet, but if you have read it and would like to gush about it with me, leave a comment below :)

*Hoopla is one of my favorite bookish services! It’s a free online digital library that offers 6 e-book, audiobook, album, or film rentals a month, and there are NO waitlists! If they have it, you can check it out. They partner with public libraries, so see if your library offers membership :)
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Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery

Kilmeny

When twenty-four-year-old Eric Marshall arrives on Prince Edward Island to become a substitute schoolmaster, he has a bright future in his wealthy family’s business. Eric has taken the two-month teaching post only as a favor to a friend — but fate throws in his path a beautiful, mysterious girl named Kilmeny Gordon. With jet black hair and sea blue eyes, Kilmeny immediately captures Eric’s heart. But Kilmeny cannot speak, and Eric is concerned for and bewitched by this shy, sensitive mute girl. For the first time in his life Eric must work hard for something he wants badly. And there is nothing he wants more than for Kilmeny to retum his love.

Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery
Published 1910 by L.C. Page & Company
Format: Hardcover, 134 pages; Audiobook, 4 hours
Classics/Romance
Also By This Author: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the IslandEmily of New Moon series, The Blue Castle
Goodreads | Amazon

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

I am a strong believer in judging a book by its cover, especially when the cover is gorgeous like Kilmeny of the Orchard. I have been scouring every local bookstore and thrift store in town trying to find any copies of the Bantam editions of L.M. Montgomery’s novels because the covers are beautiful enough to frame. (Side note: if anyone finds Bantam editions of Kilmeny or The Blue Castle that are in good condition, please let me know! I’ve never been a book collector before, but it’s almost become a hobby of mine to own all of Bantam editions of L.M. Montgomery’s novels)

The story of Kilmeny isn’t the most endearing of Montgomery’s novels, but the writing is captivating. The first orchard scene, when Eric happens upon Kilmeny as she’s playing her violin, is probably my favorite scene in the novel. Montgomery’s descriptions are so poetic and vibrant that I feel as if I’m walking through the orchard myself.

It was an elusive, haunting melody, strangely suited to the time and place; it had in it the sigh of the wind in the woods, the eerie whispering of the grasses at dewfall, the white thoughts of the June lilies, the rejoicing of the apple blossoms; all the soul of all the old laughter and song and tears and gladness and sobs the orchard had ever known in the lost years; and besides all this, there was in it a pitiful, plaintive cry as of some imprisoned thing calling for freedom and utterance.

I admire L.M. Montgomery’s ability to be wistful and hopeful at the same time. Whenever I read any of her books I always simultaneously feel nostalgic and desirous of enjoying every beautiful little moment.

Read This Book If…

…you need a happy novel that will touch you deep in your heart.
…you’re ready for it to be Spring!
…you love Romantic characters and poetic language.

Final Musings

I’ve read three L.M. Montgomery novels since the New Year, and I’m currently on my fourth (Chronicles of Avonlea). I would love to buddy read some more of her novels this year, or participate in any L.M. Montgomery blogging events, so please drop me a line in the comments if you know of any or if you’d like to buddy read with me!

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery – Audiobook Review

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Anne of the Island was published in 1915, seven years after the best-selling Anne of Green Gables, partly because of the continuing clamor for more Anne from her fans – a fan base that continues to grow today!

In this continuation of the story of Anne Shirley, Anne leaves Green Gables and her work as a teacher in Avonlea to pursue her original dream (which she gave up in Anne of Green Gables) of taking further education at Redmond College in Nova Scotia. Gilbert Blythe and Charlie Sloane enroll as well, as does Anne’s friend from Queen’s Academy, Priscilla Grant. During her first week of school, Anne befriends Philippa Gordon, a beautiful girl whose frivolous ways charm her. Philippa (Phil for short) also happens to be from Anne’s birthplace of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia. Anne, always the good scholar, studies hard, but she also has many life lessons. This book sees Anne leave behind girlhood to blossom into a mature young woman.

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
Published 2014 by Post Hypnotic Press (Originally Published 1915)
Format: e-audiobook; 8 hours, 20 minutes
Classics / Young Adult
Also By This Author: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Emily of New Moon
Goodreads | Audible | Publisher
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Even though I’ve read Anne of the Island several times, and there are still five books that follow it, I feel sad, as if Anne’s story is over. Which it isn’t, honestly! Anne of the Island only marks the end of Anne’s beginning. So I will contribute these sad feelings to what I like to call a “book hangover.” Apparently it is still possible to be wrapped up in a book you’ve read and reread multiple times.

Anne of the Island is often regarded as the most popular installment of L.M. Montgomery’s beloved Anne series, and that is most likely due to the fact that this novel is a culmination of events that started back in Anne of Green Gables. Anne finally gets to go off to college, after having put her education on hold to save up money through teaching. She also experiences romance in several different and, in one particular case, hilarious ways. Finally, Anne gets to see multiple dreams of hers realized, and the outcomes are particular surprising.

Although Anne of Green Gables is my favorite novel, Anne of the Island (and book #5: Anne’s House of Dreams, as well) holds a very dear place in my heart. There are so many sweet and sentimental scenes in this book that really pull on your heartstrings. Anne experiences heavier emotions, such as love and grief, but now as an adult. In Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, Anne is still growing up and learning about who she is and who she wants to be. In Anne of the Island, Anne has to actually make decisions about her future, and, as she says perfectly, “I do know my own mind…the trouble is, my mind changes and then I have to get acquainted with it all over again.”

Read This Book If…

…you’ve previously read Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea and you need more Anne in your life!
…you are looking for a book that makes you feel.
…you appreciate good storytelling.
…you love books that make you laugh, cry, swoon, and feel suspense.

Audiobook Review

I’ve been listening to many different audiobooks lately, and I can tell you that a narrator can either enlighten or ruin a story. Colleen Winton does a fantastic job at bringing Anne Shirley and the rest of the rest of L.M. Montgomery’s beloved characters to life. I would love to know if there were plans to have her narrate the rest of the Anne series, because I would definitely enjoy listening to them!

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 The Island 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 Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery – Audiobook Review

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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

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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.