Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Review: Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery

In the 4th book in the Anne of Green Gables series, Anne is biding her time, waiting for her fiancee Gilbert who is in medical school. Not one to be idle, Anne has secured a position as principal of, and teaching the high school, for Summerside. She finds boarding in the adorable house of Windy Poplars on Spook's Lane with Aunt Kate, Aunt Chatty, and Rebecca Dew.

This book is back to more episodic chapters, with very few recurring characters aside from the abovementioned, more short-story-like, which is not my favorite. But there is an interesting stylistic change here, I'd guess fully half of the book is epistolic, consisting of letters to Gilbert, or excerpts from letters, as the romantic bits have been cut out (which I found quite amusing. Who cut them out? And why? Are we supposed to think Anne did it or Mrs. Montgomery?) But that doesn't happen often as Anne can only write romantic letters when her pen isn't scratchy or nubbly or pointy or anything like that.

Initially, she has issues with the reigning family of the town, the Pringles, who thought a Pringle counsin should have gotten the job that Anne has. She has trouble with her Pringle students and with the school board and simply locals in town snubbing her or countering things she needs to do for the school, and I had thought this issue would be the recurring book-long plot, but it was resolved in pretty short order, after about 50 pages, and after that the Pringles adored Anne just like most everyone else. And I do like Anne too, but I'm starting to feel like she's a little too perfect. She's never too chatty when someone doesn't want to be, but she's overly effusive most of the rest of the time so that seems almost out of character, and she's patient when patience is called for, and impatient at other times. It's not that her character is inconsistent, but for such a young woman (she's 22-25 in this book), she rarely loses her temper or does anything impudent or reckless, and yet she's not at all reclusive or shy or afraid of anything.

I actually liked the character of Katherine Brooke. It is unusual in the Anne books to find a character so disagreeable. Naturally, she had a change of heart, but I was relieved that it wasn't complete. She still hated children and decided to switch careers, and she didn't immediately hook up with a guy. And my favorite character was probably Dusty Miller.

So while there were parts I wasn't thrilled with, I still loved the book and am looking forward to the last few books in the series.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I borrowed this book from a friend.


Julie P. said...

You are inspiring me to read these books with all of your reviews. I just feel like my daughter and I should tackle these some day soon!

Christy said...

I never got beyond the first two books, I don't think, although I've read a couple of Montgomery's standalones (I like The Tangled Web). That's kind of weird about the excised romantic parts of the letter.

And now I know that it is this book that provided most of the content for the second movie, as the Pringles and Katherine Brooke are in that second movie.