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Monday, August 13, 2007

The Blue Castle

Montgomery, L.M. The Blue Castle. Valancy is twenty-nine and has been under the domineering thumb of her mother and other unpleasant family members her entire life. She expects nothing, but does retreat to her daydreams of her Blue Castle whenever possible. Her mother frowns on reading and will only rarely allow Valancy to check out even nature books by John Foster, Valancy's favorite author.

Valancy's life is devoid of beauty, of any genuine pleasure. After Valancy visits a local doctor about her heart palpitations, however, Valancy finds herself liberated and takes great pleasure in saying exactly what she wants and refusing to do many of things that have been taken for granted previously. She frees herself from her Cinderella role as servant and discovers that life does have something to offer.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I can see why this book would become a favorite. Fans of L.M. Montgomery and the Anne books would find this little romance equally appealing. However, for me it won't replace the Anne books because I read those at a particularly impressionable time in my reading life and no books will ever mean as much to me as those favorites of my youth. There are better books, certainly, but Montgomery had a knack for grabbing readers and creating characters that we want to return to again and again; she had a great influence on my love of reading. Her books are dated by their time period only; emotionally, her books transcend time.

addendum: I first heard about this book from Melrose Plant at A Fair Substitute for Heaven. :) She is also a fan of Martha Grimes' Richard Jury mysteries...which I also adore.

Fiction. Romance. 1993 (original c. 1926). 218 pages.


  1. Sounds like an absolutely lovely little book!

  2. I loved the Anne books too, and nothing can take their place for me either, but I'm sure I would enjoy her other novels.

  3. heather -- If you like L.M. Montgomery, you will enjoy The Blue Castle.

    dorothy -- No, nothing can replace the Anne books in my hierarchy, but this one is also pure Montgomery.

  4. I loved the Anne books, too, and didn't know she wrote anything else (shame on me for not even looking into it!). I'll have to look for this, thanks!

  5. This is definitely a keeper of a book. I can't believe I'd never read any L.M. Montgomery until I read this book a couple of years ago.

  6. While the Anne books are definitely my favorites, I have yet to read a Montgomery book that I didn't like. I recently read "A Tangled Web" which was quite humorous. Her characters are so unique. I will add this one to my list. Thanks.

  7. gentle reader -- She wrote so many books, but this is the first one I've read other than Anne.

    iliana -- A fine introduction to Montgomery!

    Framed -- I really need to finish rereading the Anne books, but I'm definitely going to try some of Montgomery's other books and will add The Tangled Web!

  8. I am so glad you liked and read this book.

    I love recommending it to people.... it is such good escapism!

  9. "melrose" -- Thanks for suggesting it! I love escapism.

  10. Outside of the Anne books, this is one of my favourite LM Montgomery. Please do try Jane of Lantern Hill as well - simply lovely. If you read over on my blog and do a search under the author's name you will find I have written a lot about LMM, including newly discovered short stories which have been republished.

    Lovely blog - I love E von Arnim as well

  11. Elaine -- I will be looking for Jane of Lantern Hill as soon as I can knock back some of the books on the stack. I've put it on my list.

    Will check your blog for the info on the short stories. Thanks!

  12. How unfortunate that I should have found you long after your blog (it seems) has ended...

    First there was Elizabeth von Arnim - now LM Montgomery, whose books were for me the most beloved of all throughout my (New Zealand) childhood.

    Anne was never my favourite though, funnily enough. I adored Emily, and Marigold, and Pat, and Jane - but above all did I delight in "The Blue Castle"...

    I have read it again many times, as an adult, and still find it utterly beguiling.

    I discovered recently that Coleen McCullough (of "Thorn Birds" fame) had written a novel along similar lines, and been accused (I think) of plagiarism. They needn't have bothered accusing her, in my view - because her version of Blue Castle was not a patch on the original!

    I wonder how many other writers we have in common? Do you, for example, enjoy Dickens, or Henry James........?