Tag: Lucy Maud Montgomery

Friday Find || The magic of The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery

Image credit here.

Growing up, my older sister and mother exposed me to really good children’s books, and I fell in love with some of them. Case in point: Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. That spirited redhead stole my heart the moment my eyes clapped on the first page. It was the same for the next eight books of the series.

I was looking for Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess when I saw this book. And literally, I forgot about the book I was supposed to buy, and bought The Story Girl instead.

And it was totally worth it.

Mythology, fairy tales, village anecdotes, treasured family history were the repertoire of Sara Stanley’s stories. While being the titular character, she is not the only central character. It is her, her cousins and her friends, that merry band of children having various adventures–canvassing for collections for a school library, buying a picture of God, whom Sara declared, looked like a cross old man. There’s also the chapter of the ghostly bell, which terrified the children and amused an uncle.

The Story Girl also tackles other issues–vanity, friendship, illness, and religion.

In writing this book, Montgomery used the first-person narrative, in the person of Beverley King, reminiscing his boyhood in a fictional village in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Beverley travels to Carlisle, Prince Edward Island, with his younger brother Felix, after their father has been assigned by his firm to take charge of a new branch in Brazil. Without a mother to help look after them, the boys were sent to live with their father’s family.

Except from accounts in family letters, the boys set off to Prince Edward Island, not knowing what to expect. And from that, the boys take the reader into that same journey.

It was a delightful one indeed.

The Story Girl is available in paperback or in Kindle format. A free version is available here too.

Friday Feature || Better Late than Never: My thoughts on Netflix and CBC’s “Anne with an E.”

Cast: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, RH Thompson, Dalila Bela, Lucas Jade Zumann, Corinne Koslo
First and second series/season released by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Netflix, 2017 and 2018

Having grown up reading Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books always makes me excited and wary whenever a screen adaptation of her work is on the television. After all, it’s not everyday that it happens. I won’t lie–I’ll always have high expectations.

Take Anne of Green Gablesfor example. No child who grew up in the eighties and nineties could ever forget Megan Follows’ portrayal of the lovable redheaded orphan. While Kevin Sullivan wasn’t exactly faithful to the plot (coughContinuingStorycough), it was a good adaptation. After all, it’s hard to jam in eight books into more or less two or three more series–or episodes, rather. I’ve yet to see Rilla of Ingleside adapted into a screenplay–something I’d hope to see in my lifetime.

Back to Anne of Green Gables. Last year, Netflix released their take on the aforementioned book, but they titled it Anne with an E. I’ve already finished watching the second series/season, and I love it just as much as I loved the Kevin Sullivan production (well, except for Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story).

.And yep, Netflix wasn’t faithful to the source material, either. I am however, giving five reasons why Anne with an E is still worth a watch.

  1. The characters, while  some of them not entirely in keeping with the books, still managed to be well-rounded. And I loved the best friend dynamics between Anne and Diana. For some reason, the portrayal of their friendship was so authentic and you would just want to hug them both. Not that Megan Follows and Schuyler Grant didn’t do a good job–but Amybeth McNulty and Dalila Bela put a wonderful, sweet, homey spin to it. Oh, you know what I mean.
  2. The storyline doesn’t just focus on Anne Shirley, but on other characters too. Here, in the series, we get a glimpse of Diana Barry’s life, in Jane and Prissy Andrews’ life, in Gilbert Blythe’s life–you get the picture. The viewer gets a chance to know them more.
  3. The filming location is 100% lush. I have friends who rave about how much they love Canada, but man, I probably did not receive the memo about how BEAUTIFUL Canada is (in addition to being fabulous). Prince Edward Island is stunning. I can go on all evening.
  4. It’s a bit darker, but it fits perfectly. Initially, I wasn’t sold on the theme, but when I watched the first series another time, it grew on me. The series touched on topics such as bullying, racial prejudice, and peer pressure, matters that are terribly relevant today. This was grittily yet beautifully portrayed in the second series. The second to the last sentence does sound ironic, but it is true.
  5. Yes, Megan Follows was best known for playing the titular role. I’m going to risk getting a lot of hate–because Amybeth McNulty made a very engaging Anne, and I do think she deserves to tie with Megan in that top spot.  The way she delivers her lines (majority of which weren’t in the source material)–there was so much emotion, that it felt like every time she opened her mouth, jewels and flowers fell out. Consider me a fan, stat.

That being said, I hope you would give Anne with an E a try! 🙂 Any Netflix recommendations, by the way? 🙂

Image credits: screencaps from the show

Friday Finds || The Blue Castle — Lucy Maud Montgomery

How are you all doing? Hope you are doing well!

It’s been ages since I’ve written a book review–I’ve been reading a lot of books but I haven’t put pen to paper. Or rather, in this case, fingertips to keyboard with regard to how I feel about them! I’m going to review one of my favourite author’s little known work.

Reading Lucy Maud (LM) Montgomery’s work is always a treat. I’ve fallen in love with Anne of Green Gables as a little girl. In many ways, I related to Anne Shirley. I still do, actually. While I have many good friends and I love them dearly, there’s only a few with whom I have the same wavelength–I share her viewpoint in having a friend that’s also a ‘kindred spirit’.  I still read the books in the series because there’s something about worth revisiting in Anne Shirley’s world: She never changes who she is, and she does her own thing. For those who have never read the series at all–IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. It’s totally worth your time. The eighth book in the series is actually my favourite!

Okay, back to LM Montgomery’s little known work. This is another book of hers that I have fallen straight in love with. No, seriously. In classic Montgomery style, the beginning of The Blue Castle was riveting enough to make me want to stay up until late at night to finish it.

In a nutshell, Valancy Stirling (such a delicious name!) was the nonentity of her family. Plain, unmarried, dull (to her family), she had a bleak future in front of her,  because she was twenty-nine, and with nary a marriage proposal to her name.

Things became more exciting when Valancy felt the need to see a doctor. One of her own choosing, mind, as her family had their own go-to doctor. And the prognosis was not looking good. This was the turning point for Valancy. From that moment on, she decided to say whatever she wanted, wear whatever she wanted, do whatever she wanted. After all, she had only one year left to live and she wanted to take her life into her own hands.

And boy,Valancy’s in for a wild ride.

What I love about The Blue CastleThere was never a dull moment reading this book. LM Montgomery had the knack for great dialogue and detail. And the mood! The first chapter really did set the tone of the story–a morose, grey beginning that had you wanting to know why it was so, and it would make you wonder if things would change.

Another thing I love about The Blue Castle and Montgomery’s writing in general is that the narrator makes the reader get inside her brain and know exactly what she was thinking, dreaming, planning, dreading…or even plotting.

Let’s not forget the character development of each of the characters. Initially, I liked Valancy’s Cousin Olive, and thought that Valancy was a bit unreasonable over her apathy towards her cousin. Eventually, I finally realised that Olive was meh (and she’s a bit of a cow). Other relatives such as Uncle Benjamin I found too easy to dislike –there are many people who are like Uncle Benjamin! He, however, redeemed himself at the end of the book.

I loved Valancy’s spunk once she decided to take her life in her own hands! One of my favourite conversations in the story were of Valancy, her friend Barney and her Uncle Wellington.

“Valancy, how came you here!” he said sternly.
“By chance or God’s grace,” said Valancy.
“With this jail-bird—at ten o’clock at night!” said Uncle Wellington.
Valancy turned to Barney. The moon had escaped from its dragon and in its light her eyes were full of deviltry.
“Are you a jail-bird?”
“Does it matter?” said Barney, gleams of fun in his eyes.
“Not to me. I only asked out of curiosity,” continued Valancy.

If you’ve never read The Blue Castle or any of Lucy Montgomery’s work, they’re certainly worth a read! Completely tempted to write more–and gush more about this book, but at the risk of sounding spoilery, I decided that I’ll leave it to you to read The Blue Castle!