Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This book is another for the Books I Should Have Read By Now challenge because I began reading the Anne of Green Gables books when the television show first aired on PBS back in the 1980s. I never finished the series because I found the novels becoming more boring, especially as Anne grew up. This book is also a classic so it is also a part of the Classic Bribe challenge as well.

Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery is the seventh book in the Anne of Green Gables series but, to be honest, this book is not about Anne and not even about her children.  The cover of the edition I read (see below) is quite deceiving.

Rather than being about Anne or her family, this novel focuses mostly in the Merediths, a family that has moved to Ingleside.  There is the father, hired to be the Presbyterian pastor who is so heavenly minded to be much earthly good, often losing himself in intellectual studies for the weekly sermon.  His sister lives with him to manage the household but she is not a good cook, sew, and doesn’t seem to know much about cleaning the home.  And there are the children who, due to lack of supervision and impulsive tendencies, often get into trouble, scandalizing the general community.

Rainbow ValleyThe role Anne herself plays is minor as she more often than not is shown merely listening to the gossip brought to her by Miss Cornelia.  Because of my own distaste for gossip, I found this literary affect unappealing and indicative of how boring Anne becomes as an adult.  Montgomery clearly doesn’t know how to write Anne into maturity in any way that keeps her magical.  Even her children, after the first few chapters, are relegated to minor roles because they are simply too well-behaved and loved to inspire much story from a writer who prefers children that get into trouble and find charming ways to get out of them.

Once I let go of may assumption that this novel would be about Anne and/or her children, I was able to enjoy this book as much as any of the earlier Anne of Green Gables.  Almost.  I still prefer Anne herself to most of the other characters Montgomery created.  In this, I suppose, I am not alone.


  1. Now see, I didn't even know there were that many in the series. So although you were able to enjoy your time with this one after accepting it for what it was, it sounds like it "jumped the shark" a few books prior. It is a shame when an author can't grow with her main character. Thanks for joining in the Classic Bribe!


  2. Thanks for hosting it. I've another post coming next week with another classic and not a children's book.

    And Montgomery does stay, for the most part, with Anne in the first six novels but I'm afraid Anne gets more boring as she grows older although she remains highly imaginative, much to the benefit of her children. There's one more book in the series that follows her youngest daughter. I'm eager to read it even if only to finish the entire series, if for no other reason.


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