Anne of the Island covers Anne’s four years of college and her continuing growth into young womanhood. The excitement of finally going to college is mixed with the bittersweetness of leaving all that is familiar and dear in Avonlea. She boards with old friend Priscilla, meets a new frivolous but sweet friend in Philippa, and has regular outings with Gilbert, whom she is trying to keep as a friend only, and Charlie Sloan. She and her girlfriends find an ideal “house o’ dreams.” She undertakes her first writing for publication — with comical results. As she returns home for Christmas and summer vacations, she finds dear old Avonlea not quite the same as the children have grown, old friends face new crises, and even her relationship with bosom friend Diana Barry is not quite the same with Diana engaged. Her romantic ideals take a blow when her first proposal falls far below her dreams and she finds refusals more painful than romantic. And even when a Prince Charming does arrive on the scene, Anne finds the whole situation…not quite what she expected.
This brought back some of my own feelings during college — an exciting time of growth and change and missing home yet not feeling quite the same there. I thought Montgomery captured all of that beautifully as well as Anne’s own maturing when real life turned out differently from her dreams. New adventures and characters as well as the same beloved ones balance out the growth and change. Though Anne’s character is refined and tempered with sadness and disappointments, her “spunk,” love of life, and idealism remain.
I didn’t mark as many quotes from this book as I did from Anne of Avonlea, but here are a couple I liked:
“Charlie Sloan…talked unbrokenly on and never, even by accident, said one thing that was worth listening to.” May I strive to be “worth listening to” rather than just babbling.
At Diana’s wedding: “The only real roses are the pink ones… They are the flowers of love and faith.” That tickled my pink-rose-loving heart.
I loved this chapter in Anne’s life, and I especially loved how it ended — though I’ll leave that for you to discover if you haven’t yet.
(This review will be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday review of books.)