Anne of Avonlea (Series in September)

Book: Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Series: Anne of Green Gables

Book Order: Anne of Green Gables* (1), Anne of Avonlea* (2), Anne of the Island (3), Anne of Windy Poplars (4), Anne's House of Dreams (5), Anne of Ingleside (6), Rainbow Valley (7), Rilla of Ingleside (8) 
* indicates a book I have read

Anne of Avonlea is the continuation of the story begun in Anne of Green Gables of L.M. Montgomery's indomitable heroine Anne Shirley.  Grown up from the first novel, Anne begins book two as a school teacher in Avonlea on Prince Edward Island.  Many of characters from Anne of Green Gables return in the sequel - Marilla Cuthbert, Diana Barry, Gilbert Blythe, Rachel Lynde - but Anne also makes many new acquaintances and her students and neighbors provide some fresh drama to the story. 

I love this series, but I did feel that this book wasn't quite as enjoyable as the first.  There was something enchanting in book one about discovering Green Gables and Avonlea through Anne's innocent eyes, and this book felt a bit more - for lack of a better word - ordinary.  There were definitely memorable moments and fun points to the story but it's hard to say that any of them were as brilliant as Anne's antics in the series opener.  The first book was the story of a young girl and this one is clearly the story of a young woman.  Anne has matured and so the book lacks some of her youthful humor and fanciful imagination.  Still, it is the characters and the picturesque scenery that make this book a heartwarming read as well as Montgomery's slowly unfolding love story between Gilbert and Anne. 

For any readers who complain about the irksome trend in popular fiction of eye-roll-inducing love at first sight, I give you a quote revealing a different perspective:
"Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps... perhaps love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath."
~ Anne of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery
Even if I may not have loved this book as much as the first in the series, this quote melted me.  The more I read of the Anne of Green Gables series, the more I realize that the beauty of Montgomery's saga is not just in the individual works, but in the sweeping narrative as a whole.  I still wish I had read these books at a younger age, but even discovering them as an adult, they are charming, lovely works and I look forward to the next six in the series.

3 Response to "Anne of Avonlea (Series in September)"

  1. Erin says:
    September 22, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    I definitely read Anne of Green Gables as a kid and LOVED it to pieces. I don't think I read the rest of the series -- if I did, I don't remember them. I would love to reread them, though! That quote...just lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  2. StephanieD says:
    September 22, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    Oh, I love that quote! Hello, Gilbert Blythe... I feel a re-read coming on. But I agree that the first one's delightful because Anne's so irrepressible in it. Slowly she becomes tamer throughout the series, but still gets into scrapes here and there.

  3. Mad Scientist says:
    September 30, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I remember reading this series when I was young. :)

    Ah... now I feel old!


    Mad Scientist @ Steampunkery & Book Reviews

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