Monday, March 7, 2011

Anne’s House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne’s House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery is the fifth book in the Anne of Green Gables series.  I can say with all due certainty that I have never read this novel before.  I suspect I started but never finished, assuming I started at all, the fourth novel because, towards the end, although the conclusion was oh-so predictable, I wasn’t quite sure it was familiar.

This novel has Anne all grown up.  She is no longer forgetting to put the cheese cloth over the hard sauce nor collapsing onto guest room beds startling old women.  She’s not acting in haste and repenting in leisure at all.  In fact, she’s somewhat boring.  I’m not saying she should be too frivolous or foolish but she seems to have lost some of her poetry in favor of pragmatism, something that comes out especially in a disagreement she has with Gilbert.

However, this novel has the strength that the previous one in the series lacked.  The characters are fewer and, therefore, more fully realized.  I recently read a quote that said Montgomery was called the “Jane Austen of Canada” and this novel is a testament to why something like this would be said about her novels.  There are more mature griefs to trouble Anne’s life as well and I don’t want to give anything away so I will say nothing further.

One thing I am noticing is that Gilbert, for all his presence in Anne’s ongoing story, is still a rather enigmatic character.  I can’t really say I know anything more about him except that he’s smart and handsome and he adores Anne.  While these qualities certainly recommend them they hardly sound like a well-written character.  He lacks any real depth or flaws.  At least Anne, as we all know, is a bit of a dreamer although that quality seems to have dimmed with her maturity.  I don’t know.  It just seems to me that Anne is definitely more dull than before and Gilbert, who never had a chance to shine, continues to be nothing more than Anne’s devoted idolater.

(On page 168 a surgical procedure is mentioned and I looked it up.  You can find out more about it here.)

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