#AnneReadAlong2017 : A Biography of L. M. Montgomery

October 8, 2017

 

At this point, we’re just a bit past halfway for #AnneReadAlong2017 !!! Halfway?! That’s craziness. For those of you not following along at home (which, honestly, you all should be. This has been amazing!), Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf and I have been hosting an Anne of Green Gables Read Along. You can learn more about it here.

But reaching the halfway point, I realized that we haven’t spent any time talking about the woman behind the book: L.M. Montgomery herself. That seems like a horrendous oversight! So grab a mug of something delicious and follow along as we learn more about L.M. Montgomery’s life and the origin of Anne Shirley.


Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada on November 30th, 1874. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was only 21 months old, and while she still lived with her father for a while, young Montgomery was under the custody of her maternal grandparents. Sadly, her childhood was spent mostly with her strict grandparents and her imaginary friends. There were few children around for Montgomery to socialize with. This period of her life was essential for developing her creativity.

It’s obvious that Montgomery’s childhood served as the kindling for what would become Anne Shirley’s life. In fact, many of Montgomery’s own life stories have fallen into Anne’s life. For example, she submitted a poem for publication at age 13 and struggled with the bitterness of that rejection. But, as time passed and she continued to practice her writing, she eventually became published at the age of 16. Montgomery enjoyed going on long walks out in nature- obviously inspiring Anne’s own such tendencies. However, even in adulthood Montgomery’s life seems to parallel Anne’s.

Montgomery got her teaching certificate in 1893. As Montgomery was teaching she taught at multiple schools across PEI, but mostly focused on her writing. During this time there were a number of suitors, both welcome and unwelcome, who came calling to her door. No longer does the strange collection of endless suitors from Anne of the Island seem peculiar to me. After all, what is stranger than reality?

For a while, once her grandfather died, Montgomery lived with and cared for her grandmother. But her passion for writing never died. In 1908, after trying to sell her novel to 5 other publishers, L.C. Page & Co published Anne of Green Gables. This novel became an instant best-seller boasting 6 printings in the first year alone. The publisher encouraged Montgomery to capitalize on this opportunity. Over the course of the next 31 years, more Anne books materialized. But Anne is not all she wrote! Montgomery published 20 novels, 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays before her death in 1942.

Unfortunately, the end of her life was no easier than the beginning. A deeply religious woman, Montgomery eventually married because she felt it was her place, but she was consistently unhappy. She bore three sons, but the second was stillborn. She was almost killed in the Spanish Influenza pandemic in 1918-1919. Both she and her husband struggled with mental health concerns. In fact, on April 24th, 1942 Montgomery was found dead in her bed. Her family reported the death related to a heart condition, but in September 2008 her granddaughter revealed that Montgomery’s depression had been worse than everyone thought– and it’s likely Montgomery took her own life through a drug overdose.

Despite all the ups and downs of her life, you cannot dispute that Montgomery is a great writer. She is one of the most famous, most often read, and most published Canadian writers of all time. She was honored by King George V with the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire. To this day thousands of tourists flock to PEI each year to visit the farmhouse which inspired Green Gables and learn more about the world Anne Shirley grew up. Anne and her adventures are consistently being reimagined in television, film, and bookish swag. The world will never be able to stop loving that spunky redhead.

 

Unfortunately, the fame of Anne seems to have outshined Montgomery. So many people focus on Montgomery’s most well-known work they often ignore the author behind the pages. Even I did this until today! Thankfully, I’ve been enraptured by Sarah Emsley‘s posts about L.M. Montgomery. She helped me understand (indirectly through these amazing posts!) that in order to really appreciate a great work of literature, one must understand the author.

What you see above is only the tip of the iceberg which is L.M. Montgomery’s life. I personally will be continuing to learn more about her life as we continue the #AnneReadAlong2017. Just knowing this small amount has deepened my love and appreciation for the Anne of Green Gables series. I cannot imagine what more will do.


What do you think?

  • Did you know much about Montgomery’s life before reading this post? What is new information to you?
  • Do you often learn about authors before or after reading their works? Why?
  • What author do you believe has the most interesting life story? Why?

Bibliography:

 

54 Comments

  • ichabod2014ic October 8, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Life on the island was pretty rough. My dad has written his autobiography. He tries to paint a positive picture, but it is obvious that life was grim. I doubt the book is available, but it is titled, ‘An Islander in the Heart of Dixie’. He was born in 1926. He was a teenager during WWII and served in the final year of the war in the North Atlantic on a miniature destroyer known as a ‘corvette’. He still drives all the way from Birmingham to Charlottetown every year!

    • Jackie B October 10, 2017 at 8:30 am

      Oh, wow! This is super cool; thank you for sharing, Icky! A brief Amazon search actually found your Dad’s autobiography. I love that it is labeled as “Privately published by author, undated.” People have been self-publishing forever! Did you find your passion for writing through your family? You must be so proud!

      I’m not surprised life on the island was rough– but that doesn’t come across well in Anne of Green Gables. Well, not as well as it could have. I’d love to learn more about island life. The more Anne I read, the more I want to know!

  • Krysta October 8, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Have you seen the new YA novel based on Montgomery’s life? It’s called Maud by Melanie Fishbane and it’s pretty good, though I think the pacing is uneven.

    • Jackie B October 10, 2017 at 8:35 am

      Oooh. No, I haven’t! I would love to check that out. Thanks for getting that on my radar, Krysta!

  • Jillian October 8, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I strongly recommend Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings by Mary Rubio, as well as Montgomery’s journals, also edited by Rubio. 🙂

    • Jackie B October 10, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Thank you so much, Jillian! I appreciate the recommendation. I’ll definitely check it out. Would you recommend the complete journals over the selected journals? It’s hard for me to figure out which would be a better option since I love epistolary novels, but I struggle with highly academic texts.

      Are you a fan of Montgomery’s works? What is your favorite book?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      • Jillian October 10, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        You’re welcome! I’m a BIG fan of Montgomery! My favorite work by her is her short story collection The Blythes Are Quoted. Well, my FAVORITE is Anne of Green Gables (so, so lovely), & I really like Rainbow Valley (peaceful & omonous since it’s followed by Railla of Ingleside. I also really like Rilla of Ingleside (because of SUSAN), but I found The Blythes Are Quoted THE MOST interesting, because it’s so unlike her other works. Shades of feminism all over it. It was delivered to her publisher the day she died. It’s the last word from her: what she wanted to have said, and until very recently it had only been published in parts, out of the original order. I also read Rilla as a huge statement on Montgomery’s part: she gives the reader a classic love story, but shows throughout the novel that the tried & true “girl’s story” (a romance) just doesn’t quite fit anymore in the modern world anymore.

        As to your question — I hadn’t realized there was a completed version! So much for my tip! I read the selected version & found it EXCELLENT & THOROUGH. The page count between the selected version and the complete version doesn’t seem to be all that different on Goodreads, so I’m not sure how much you’d gain choosing the complete version. However, I’d probably go for the complete one if I was rereading. Her journal is FASCINATING & provides lots of great insight! I read her https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/957964.The_Selected_Journals_of_L_M_Montgomery_Vol_2 while reading Rilla of Ingleside. VERY interesting. 🙂

        • Jillian October 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm

          Oh, & to add: it’s not academic at all. At least not the one I read (the selected journals.) It reads like an epistolary novel. It is cozy and pleasant and intimate in the best way! 🙂

          • Jackie B October 13, 2017 at 11:39 am

            I will admit, before this post I had no IDEA there was a short story collection! I’ll definitely have to check that out. I personally adore short stories. I have a feeling The Blythes are Quoted will be a book I adore. Feminism? Short stories? LMM’s last word? Yes please!

            This is my first time reading through the Anne of Green Gables series, so I haven’t read Rilla yet, but your comments have me quite excited! I am looking forward to seeing what I can gleam from that book.

            It’s good to know the journals aren’t particularly academic. I find that editors can babble on a bit too much for my tastes between entries in this sort of collection. I’m excited to hear that you think they are “cozy and pleasant and intimate in the best way!” I just keep finding amazing ways to keep LMM’s works in my life long after I’ve finished Anne. There is so much left to read!

            Would you recommend I read Rilla and the journals in conjunction with each other, like you did? Did you gain extra insight by that experience?

            • Sarah Emsley October 13, 2017 at 1:11 pm

              There’s another short story collection that was published this summer, called After Many Years: Twenty-One “Long-Lost” Stories, by L.M. Montgomery. (Just in case you want to keep adding to your list….)

              • Jackie B October 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm

                Haha. I *definitely* want to keep adding to my list! Bring on all the short stories! 😀 Thanks for the recommendation. Have you read it yet? If so, what do you think?

              • Sarah Emsley October 16, 2017 at 4:55 am

                I read After Many Years a couple of months ago, and I especially enjoyed reading about the way Montgomery reworked some of these stories in her novels. The editors point out that “The story of ‘How Bobby Got to the Picnic’ is similar to the story of the Sunday School picnic in Anne of Green Gables but features a poor schoolboy as the main character.” She also drew on her story “The Matchmaker” when she was writing Anne of Ingleside, twenty years after the story was published. I hadn’t realized just how much short fiction and poetry Montgomery was writing and publishing, while also producing so many novels, and long journal entries as well. She published more than 500 stories and 500 poems during her lifetime!

                I’m glad this conversation has reminded me that I haven’t yet read The Blythes are Quoted! Not sure how I missed that one. I did read the early (abridged) version of it, The Road to Yesterday, years ago, but I know this complete version is very different and I must get a copy of it.

              • Jackie B October 18, 2017 at 8:35 am

                Ohhhhh, that’s really neat! I’m not surprised that LM Montgomery retooled some of her ideas into new stories for Anne, particularly since she was so prolific! There are lots of collections of her short stories on Project Gutenberg, so I imagine I will be able to find collections of these as well, beyond just After Many Years and The Blythes are Quoted (I love that title!).

                When I started this journey reading all of Anne of Green Gables I definitely thought that I would read all of her works. Now I realize how daunting that is! Alas, it will not come to be probably. But I look forward to trying. 🙂

              • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks October 29, 2017 at 11:16 am

                Jackie! How come you did not know of that short story collection?? I reviewed it 😀 okay, I didn’t review it on my blog, but I totally mentioned it in my Sunday posts and linked to my Goodreads review. I feel like you must have seen it 😀

              • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm

                Hahaha. I probably did, honestly. But I see so many books in a week, it’s hard to keep them all straight!

                Now that you mention it… I do remember this! You thought they were too cute all at once. Right! for some reason I blocked that out. Probably because I didn’t want to think of them that way. XD But seriously, I’m glad that you enjoyed it in small doses.

                After Many Years right?

              • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks November 6, 2017 at 2:14 pm

                Yep, that one! Some of them were too white-picket-fence-Christian, some were just kind of boring. But if you’re interested in learning more about Montgomery, it’s definitely worth it 🙂

            • Jillian October 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm

              Would you recommend I read Rilla and the journals in conjunction with each other, like you did? Did you gain extra insight by that experience?

              I would, & I did! I read Rilla of Ingleside before the rest of the Anne series (because it’s the favorite novel of a friend of mine.) I had a STRONG suspicion when I read it that Montgomery was doing more than she appeared to be at the surface, so I read all kinds of stuff on Rilla (academic articles, background on what literature by women was doing at the time, Montgomery’s biography — her journal from the time period Rilla was written in.)

              I find Rilla of Ingleside QUITE revolutionary, but you have to look for it. She works in the subtext. 🙂

              I would STRONGLY recommend the biography by Mary Rubio too. LOTS of good insight on what was actually going through Montgomery’s mind (& life) as she wrote her happily ever after stories.

              I guess, without wanting to spoil anything for you, my suggestion would be to watch Anne Shirley as you’re reading the series — watch how her tale changes as the novels unfold. And watch how Montgomery plays with the idea of “happily ever after” for a woman. It changes between Anne of Green Gables and Rilla of Ingleside. My big question when I read Rilla was WHY? What happened between Anne of Green Gables and Rilla of Ingleside. They are two completely different stories. What was going on? What was happening in literature in the world? Why did that book seem to not quite fit for me?

              Answer: World War I happened, & Montgomery was typecast as a “children’s author” of girls’ stories. Cast aside, diminished in the literary world, because she wrote of cheerful things. Writers like Hemingway & T.S. Eliot rose, & she was told, “Write children’s stories for girls. Make them nice, or we won’t sell your books.” She couldn’t afford to disappoint her readership: her pay for books was paying the bills. So she had to change to accommodate the world’s prescription for proper reading material for girls.

              Before the war Montgomery was read by men and women alike, and considered an author of adult regional novels. After the war, she had to change, because the world wanted a certain message doled out to children. People expected kid-friendly novels out of her, but she had SEEN things. Her views on life were changing, her experience of marriage had effected her, and she was expected to write happy “love” stories for girls. Her journals indicate how bored she was by the topic. The world was changing, & she couldn’t. People wanted the Victorian peace out of her, yet the war had effected her. The world was different. The Victorian style didn’t make sense anymore. You can see what she WANTED to do in The Blythes Are Quoted, where she literally pairs a sort of Victorian style with vignettes of the Blythe family talking throughout the years — a far more modernist style. The effect is interesting! Uncomfortable and interesting.

              When Rilla published, popular war lit for “girls” was about female self-sacrifice in war, her moral perfecting, usually the adoption of a baby (allowing her to practice motherly training even when the men were away fighting — and then as the war ended these books illustrated scurrying the girl tidily back in the box by marrying her off — of course, in these books, that had been the happy girl’s goal ALL ALONG and she ended the book out of the public sphere again, and blissfully back in her role as wife and mother. “Romance” was written as her ideal goal because the world needed girls to get back in their box after the war. They needed them in the public sphere DURING war, and then happily out of the way after.

              My feeling is that in Rilla, Montgomery gives her readers/publisher exactly what they want of her (she had to pay the bills, and pleasing her audience was her means of survival), but she makes the novel they expect feel extremely uncomfortable, as though it doesn’t quite fit. A happy Victorian story in the moiddle of a war.

              I find her Rilla of Ingleside just brilliant, in an absolutely accommodating “here is your happily ever after war story” kind of way. There are shades of rebellion ALL OVER IT. Reading her journal of the time will give you insight on what she was REALLY thinking. She was patriotic, but she was also wholly bored with the limitations being placed upon her as a female writer. By The Blythes Are Quoted, you can see even more change in her. She has things to say about the reality of war. She slips that in between the stories, creating more discomfort — more a sense that she wants you to start questioning the formula. She WANTS you to begin to see that it is all a tad unbelievable. Wait until you read the very last word of Rilla. The actual last word of the novel. You’ll see what I mean. She is trying to shake the frame. She’s trying, as unobtrusively as she can, to wake up her reader.

              I don’t see this in Anne of Green Gables. That’s Montgomery in her element, before they began to put the box around her.

              (I just peeked in my copy of Montgomery’s 1921 journals — the selected version. There aren’t even any footnotes. It’s pure journal — pure Montgomery. YOU SHOULD READ IT. It was one of the best reads of 2016 for me.) 🙂

              • Jackie B October 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm

                Why has it taken me days to respond to this? Because I couldn’t figure out how to respond.

                First: THANK YOU! Thank you so much for sharing this journey you took to understand Montgomery’s work and the changes which happened in her life and the world around you. Thank you for helping me make connections in a text I love in a meaningful way. And thank you for absolutely hooking me into reading her journals.

                This is brilliant. Horribly sad, and also brilliant. I am so frustrated with how the world shoe-horns brilliant minds. This is like when Oppenheimer realized what a disaster he let upon the world with the atom bomb and the US forced him to keep working on it or be black-listed from all of physics. How dare we tell an artist how to create? I’m so proud of Montgomery for writing Rilla and I haven’t even read it yet. And now I cannot WAIT.

                On a more personal note– I would love to reblog this amazing comment you wrote here as a proper post on my blog after we have finished reading Rilla in December. I think this is a wonderful story to share with all lovers of Anne Shirley. After reading your passionate words I don’t think I could do it justice. Would you be willing to let me repost this in the future? If so, please email me: jackieb at deathbystundoku dot com. I want to make certain I credit you appropriately. But I also won’t be offended if you decline! This is fascinating.

              • Jillian October 18, 2017 at 9:55 am

                Hi Jackie! I just wanted to note here that I responded by email a moment ago. 🙂

              • Jillian October 18, 2017 at 10:08 am

                Oh — the email bounced. It says there’s no such email as the one above. I did replace the “at” and “dot” with @ and “.” Not sure what happened, but I’ll just copy what I sent below: 🙂

                You can certainly quote from, summarize and/or reblog my comment in a future post in your Anne series! I wouldn’t want to be credited beyond a link to my original comments because I try to keep some anonymity online. You could just say one of your readers, “Jillian,” or something like that, and link to my remarks. 🙂

                I’m excited you found what I said on Montgomery interesting! I’d LOVE to read your thoughts as and when you move to her journals! I know you’ll love exploring her! And I can’t wait to see what you think of Rilla! I had a blog about a year ago & wrote a couple posts on this topic at my place. Maybe one of these days I’ll revive it & share. Right now I’m swamped with school & lying low. 🙂

                (Please point readers to Mary Rubio’s biography if you quote me. She is the expert. I devoured her The Gift of Wings while I was doing my research.) 🙂

                Cheers & very best wishes,
                Jillian

              • Jackie B October 18, 2017 at 11:37 am

                Bah! I typo’d my own email address for you, so that’s 100% on me. O_o You’d think I could spell tsundoku.

                Thank you for letting me share your ideas. It is also much more meaningful to know that you keep anonymity online– that you even stopped to have this conversation with me make me SUPER happy. Thank you for being willing to share.

                This is DEFINITELY interesting. If you ever want to share former blog posts or whatnot, I’d love to check them out. Perhaps at my REAL email (jackieb at deathbytsundoku dot com — sans typos!). I will definitely point them to Mary Rubio’s biography, for sure. I hope that I’ll have a chance to read it soon too.

                Good luck in school! Wishing you an easy rest of the school year for sure.

              • Jillian October 18, 2017 at 1:54 pm

                Thanks, Jackie! I just sent my former blog posts on this topic two your email, if you’d like to read them. No pressure to respond or read them before reading Rilla. I just wanted to send them while I’m thinking of it: otherwise I’ll definitely forget! Ha ha on your email address. That’s something I’d do. 🙂

                Cheers, & ENJOY Montgomery, Jackie! I’ll definitely be following along here!

              • Jillian October 18, 2017 at 1:55 pm

                Oh my: I mean “to,” not “two.” 🙂

              • Jillian October 18, 2017 at 2:02 pm

                Me one last time!! I tried to remove all the links and images from my blog posts when I sent them via email a moment ago, because I thought all that might pitch my messages into your email’s junk box. In case they still go to junk, there should be two messages in your email from me: one on my original reading of Rilla, when it sat funny with me & made me suspect Montgomery had an agenda — & one a moment later on my response to a reread of Rilla a year later, after researching as detailed above. CHEERS! OFF TO STUDY. 🙂

              • Jackie B October 20, 2017 at 9:50 am

                Haha. We are all subject to typos. Don’t fret about that. Thank you for emailing me! I am super excited to read your posts and continue my Montgomery journey. They all appeared right as rain in my inbox!

                Good luck with your studying. And thank you for opening my eyes to a new way to thinking about LM Montgomery and her works!!

              • Jillian October 20, 2017 at 2:49 pm

                Thanks! And you’re welcome. 😉

              • Jillian October 23, 2017 at 5:37 am

                Hi! I wanted you to know that talking with you on Lucy Maud made me itch to blog again, so I’ve TENTATIVELY put back my blog, pending my ability to contain myself & only write on the BEST books. I find blogging a tad addictive. It keeps me from doing homework. 😉

                Here are my Lucy posts: https://inherbooks.wordpress.com/tag/lucy-maud-montgomery/

              • Jackie B October 27, 2017 at 10:58 pm

                !!! Oh my gosh! This makes me super happy. I feel like I learned so much from you. I, at the very least, look forward to checking our your LMM posts.

                I’m glad that you found a tiny bit of your passion for blogging again. I can understand how you might struggle to focus on homework when you could blog. I tend to lose focus on my life when I could blog. XD

                In case it *does* happen: Welcome back! 😀

              • Jillian October 28, 2017 at 5:14 am

                Thanks! 😀

  • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer October 8, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I didn’t know her family felt she had killed herself! You’re right though the person behind the story shines through a work and I’m always seeing connections once I know more about the author! ♥️ Are you going to read that Maud based on Montgomery’s life, Jackie?

    • Jackie B October 10, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      I know, right?! That’s so scary. I feel so bad even just reading those words. 🙁 That said, I think this is an important detail! Life on PEI was hard, it seems.

      It’s so interesting to learn about the author. I wish I had some other biographies or such to read about some of my favorites. Perhaps Austen is next?

      Maud was only added to my TBR because of this post, actually! Krysta @ Pages Unbound recommended it to me. I’m definitely interested. Plus, I think I want to look into some of Montgomery’s journals too. So much reading! 😀

  • Grab the Lapels October 8, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    My great grandma, who bought me my first set of Anne books, was like Miss Stacey. I wrote a post about it. My great grandma has two still birth babies (SUPER sad), but eventually my grandma was born prematurely and kept in a shoe box by a wood stove and survived. She also had another baby, same situation (my great aunt Wanda). Here is my post about her one-room school house days: https://grabthelapels.com/2016/08/17/mabel/

    • Jackie B October 10, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Wow! This is one heck of a story! I’m so glad you shared it. It’s amazing how art reflects life so often in literature. The early 1900s were a HARD time to live!

  • Sarah Emsley October 9, 2017 at 6:43 am

    I love Mary Henley Rubio’s biography of Montgomery, and I’m slowly working my way through the collected journals, which are fascinating and deeply moving. When I was very young, I read her autobiography, The Alpine Path, and I didn’t realize just how much she left out when she wrote that version of the story. There was so much sadness in her life — and yet, through her writing, she has brought joy to so many readers for more than a century. Thanks very much for the link to my posts on LMM.

    • Jackie B October 12, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Thank you for the recommendations! I didn’t realize there was a LMM autobiography. I’ll certianly have to look into it around the same time I check out Rubio’s biography. I’m always interested to learn where authors are unreliable in their own autobiographies. Because, often, they are.

      Your posts are great! I’ve learned a ton about LMM through reading them. I’m sure there is more for me to read even still. Thanks for writing them!

      • Sarah Emsley October 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        My pleasure! It’s lovely to hear that you’re enjoying them.

  • KrystiYAandWine October 9, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Wow! This is a fascinating post. I had no idea that these books were such an instant success after they were published. That’s great, and I loved reading about these little fun facts from Lucy’s life. How many books are there in the Anne series?

    • Jackie B October 12, 2017 at 11:52 am

      There are 8 books in the complete Anne of Green Gables collection. However, two books, Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne of Ingleside were both written and published over a decade after the series of books. They feel quite different due to this gap. I have read that this was something LMM had to come back to in order to make more money. The life of an author is hard!

      I recently learned (thanks to comments here!) that LMM wrote her own autobiography! I am definitely going to read that; I wonder how reliable a narrator she will be to the sadness in her own life?

      • KrystiYAandWine October 13, 2017 at 10:40 am

        Oh, wow! That’s really interesting. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had to do the same thing with the Sherlock series and the later stories do feel really forced and strange for me, but like you said, that is what authors do for a living. It’s hard to keep that in perspective when book are also an art form.

        She wrote an autobiography? I bet that is really interesting. I’m totally intrigued by that. Let me know how it is if you read it!

        • Jackie B October 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm

          Exactly! I love that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle kept killing off Sherlock so he’d never have to write another story, and yet BAM – Sherlock would come back to life magically. Hilarious– but the poor man.

          I just got a TON of recommendations on further LMM reading from the comments on this post. I’m super excited even if my TBR list is not. 😉

          • KrystiYAandWine October 14, 2017 at 6:39 pm

            Hahaha. I know, right?! I do love those stories, but not that element quite as much. I kind of hate it when characters die but don’t really die. It kind of makes it really lessens the stakes in the other stories when you know the characters don’t really die.

            Hahaha. This is why book blogging is dangerous. 🙂

            • Jackie B October 16, 2017 at 10:27 pm

              Oh I totally agree with you. But I feel like Sherlock is totally different. It’s fun to see how Doyle will manage to make an excuse for his miracle survival in this particular case. I never managed to figure it out.

              • KrystiYAandWine October 18, 2017 at 8:23 pm

                That’s very true! That is definitely one trope I dislike, and I’m good with most tropes…even love triangles!

  • Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf October 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Such a neat informative post, Jackie! I’ve been reading all the awesome comments and I need to add so many to my TBR. I actually own a few other of Montgomery’s works (Emily of New Moon is top after I finish Anne). And I really want to read a biography of her now too! I must admit, I am totally a fangirl and want to visit PEI one day. 🙂

    Loving this read along with you, my friend! 🙂

    • Jackie B October 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Yes– this read along has been so fun! I might need a break from LM Montgomery’s writing for a bit in 2018, but I’ll certainly be coming back to her works someday. Learning everything for this biography really helped me understand the breadth of her work better. I don’t think I’ll ever be someone who reads ALL of her books, but I hope to at least read some of the standalone novels and the Emily series.

      I also would love to visit PEI some day, but that was on my bucket list pre-Anne. It just sounds so beautiful!

      And you’re right– these comments have given me quite a bit to add to my TBR! I can’t wait to better understand Montgomery’s life.

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea October 15, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I am so pleased you chose to focus on LM Montgomery. I had not realized how little I knew of the woman whose work greatly influenced my childhood! I did not realize that she faced so many hurdles and some rather tragic events. I think maybe she drew from some of that when developing Anne’s optimistic face in adversity?

    • Jackie B October 17, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      Exactly! That’s what I thought too. If anything, this post has helped me realize I only scratched the surface around the complex life LM Montgomery had. I cannot wait to read her collected journals and learn even more– even if they are going to be biased. 😉

  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks October 29, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Sounds like Montgomery’s childhood must have influenced Anne’s story! Sounds a little bit like Anne’s childhood. Oh… Wait, there you go saying that yourself 😀 great minds! (I am always writing the comments as I’m reading!)

    Becoming published at age 16… How early that is, when you think about it, huh. But I guess they were teachers already at that age. Things must have been so different…

    It’s so hard to believe that someone who wrote a book (books!) like Anne of Green Gables could have struggled with depression. Those books are so calming, so warm and cozy, it seems that would be the last thing on the author’s mind. Maybe she just put everything good she had into those books, and everything she longed for, do you think?

    • Jackie B November 5, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      I love that you write comments as you read! It find that a bit challenging to do, unless I have the review in one window and the comment box in a second. Are you still using both the phone and the computer to answer these? Sneaky.

      I know! Being published at 16… I can think of only one well-read author who has done that: Christopher Paulini. And I haven’t heard anything since The Inheritance Cycle has been published. Who knows! Perhaps he has moreon the way. But yes, more was expected at a younger age in the early 1900’s. I wonder how we even managed to get away from that?

      I like to hope that Montgomery use these books as a way to find solace. I will definitely be reading her journals in the future, as a few people above has commented and suggested. I really want to understand more about how she got to the places mentally she ended up at… The poor woman.

      Plus, she also has over 500 short stories and many other full-length novels exploring these idyllic spaces. It’s nice to imagine Anne and Emily and those other characters brought her peace.

      • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks November 6, 2017 at 2:35 pm

        I’m actually replying on JUST the phone. It’s pretty finicky. Which is why I had to rewrite my previous comment cause the phone gobbled it up ._.

        Oh, I didn’t know about the journals! I think I want to read those too.

  • theorangutanlibrarian November 6, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    It’s so cool to read all about the parallels with Anne’s life!! What a devastating end to her life though. Gosh it’s hard to read things like this sometimes. Thank you for sharing!

    • Jackie B November 10, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      It’s SUPER hard to read stuff like this. It makes me so sad– and this is just her high level story. There must be so much more hidden in her tale… This is why I must read LM Montgomery’s journals now. I want to dig deeper and see if I can find other parallels.

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