Book Review: Anne of Ingleside

Anne of Ingleside takes up several years after Anne’s House of Dreams. Anne is a busy mother of five children now with another soon on the way. The book starts with a visit back to Avonlea for Gilbert’s father’s funeral. Anne and Diana have an afternoon to get away and visit all their old haunts, and we have a glimpse of Marilla and Mrs. Lynde and all the old scenes we love from the previous books. But as Anne heads back to Glen St. Mary, first she reflects on all she loves in Avonlea, but then her thoughts turn toward her waiting family, and she wonders how she could have been happy for a week without them. A joyous reunion introduces us to her little ones.

Many of the chapters are from the viewpoints of the children as they encounter various trials, tribulations, adventures, and misunderstandings. It’s so easy to forget how things can look to a child and how they might process them.

It’s sweet to see Anne’s motherly wisdom with her children and to see that though she has matured, she hasn’t lost her vivacity and imagination.  But lest we think she’s too perfect, she has her own misunderstanding with attendant negative feelings before it all works out in the end.

One of Anne’s trials in this book is a visit from Gilbert’s Aunt Mary Maria. Well, it’s supposed to be a visit, but it begins to look like she’s planning to stay indefinitely. She’s so unpleasant that little Jem asked, after he met her, whether they could laugh while she was there. There were so many little things that offended, so little Anne feels she shouldn’t complain, “and yet…it’s the little things that fret the holes in life…like moths…and ruin it” (p. 67). Yet they can’t ask her to leave for fear of causing great offense. The situation is finally resolved a bit comically though with the best intentions.

Perhaps the besetting sin of many women in LMM’s books is gossip, and my least favorite chapter was a record of the gossip shared during a Ladies’ Aid quilting session. I’ve actually known some people who avoided her books for that reason. But she doesn’t present gossip as acceptable: it’s often comical or tragic or at the very least a thorn in someone’s side, and the characters who are meant to be exemplary don’t engage in it.

Favorite quotes from the book:

“This is no common day, Mrs. Dr. Dear,” [Susan] said solemnly.

“Oh, Susan, there is no such thing as a common day. Every day has something about it no other day has” (p. 17).

From Rebecca Dew: “While we should not forget the Higher Things of Life good food is a pleasant thing in moderation” (p. 62).

While Anne and Jem are planting bulbs one fall day: “Isn’t it nice to be preparing for spring when you know you’ve got to face winter?” (p. 155).

While Anne was reflecting on the children growing and the changes happening and yet to come: “Well, that was life. Gladness and pain…hope and fear…and change. Always change! You could not help it. You had to let the old go and take the new to your heart…learn to love it and then let it go in turn. Spring, lovely as it was, must yield to summer and summer lose itself in autumn” (p. 214).

To a small daughter disappointed when reality was less than her imagination and who decides never to imagine again: “My dear foolish dear, don’t say that. An imagination is a wonderful thing to have…but like every gift we must posses it and not let it posses us” (p. 244).

Reflecting on the coming winter: “What would matter drifting snow and biting wind when love burned clear and bright, with spring beyond? And all the little sweetnesses of life sprinkling the road” (p. 277).

I enjoyed reading about Anne at this stage of her life.

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge





(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Anne of Ingleside

  1. HUH! I’ve NEVER thought about the gossip angle or that being a reason for people to avoid these books. Now that you mention it, I can see it. (I don’t buy the argument, obviously, but I can see it whereas before I didn’t.) That is very interesting and I’m going to have to think on that one for a bit!

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