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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

"I'd like to add some beauty to life," said Anne dreamily. "I don't exactly want to make people know more...thought I know that is the noblest of ambition...but I'd love to make them have a pleasanter time because of have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn't been born." (page 54)

About the book (from The book's title is fitting, as Anne is no longer simply "of Green Gables" as she was in the previous book, but now takes her place among the "important" people (and the "grown up" people) of Avonlea society, as its only schoolteacher. She is also a founding member of the A.V.I.S. (the Avonlea Village Improvement Society), which tries to improve (with questionable results) the Avonlea landscape.

"After all, Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string." (page 161)

My Thoughts: Anne of Avonlea is the second book in the Anne of Green Gables series. My book club is currently reading the entire series, which has been a wonderful treat to revisit this classic young adult set. Anne of Avonlea details a more grown-up Anne. She is teaching at the local school and enjoying her time back at Green Gables with Marilla, after Matthew's passing.
     There are many new characters introduced in this story, including Davy and Dora, twins which find their way into Marilla and Anne's care and also their hearts. Throughout Avonlea, mischief continues to inadvertently find Anne, but most endearing is that she maintains her optimism and gratitude for the small things in life that one can easily overlook in the hustle and bustle of daily routine- the beauty of nature and the blessing of a simple day spent with family and friends.
     Love is the major theme of Avonlea with several of the characters rekindling past relationships and Anne contemplating her true feelings for Gilbert Blythe. In a world where everything changes and evolves so rapidly, reading Anne of Avonlea was a chance to enjoy the slowness of Victorian times, leaving the reader to sigh deeply when reaching the final page.

**  To read my review of Anne of Green Gables, click here.

About the Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942), called "Maud" by family and friends and publicly known as L. M. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908. Anne of Green Gables was an immediate success. The central character, Anne, an orphaned girl, made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following. The first novel was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 500 short stories and poems. Many of the novels were set on Prince Edward Island, Canada and places in the Canadian province became literary landmarks. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935. Montgomery's work, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide.

 Book Club Idea: In Chapter 13 of Anne of Avonlea, Anne and her best girlfriends plan a picnic and spend the day exploring nature and sharing dreams. Take your book club meeting to the park for a picnic or stage a picnic in your back yard, complete with a Victorian themed menu of scones with jam and tea. Enjoy!

Happy Reading,

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