#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne’s House of Dreams

September 14, 2017
Anne's House of Dreams Book Cover Anne's House of Dreams
Anne of Green Gables, #5
L.M. Montgomery
Classic
Starfire
November 1st, 1993
eBook
248
Owned
1917

Anne's own true love, Gilbert Blythe, is finally a doctor, and in the sunshine of the old orchard, among their dearest friends, they are about to speak their vows. Soon the happy couple will be bound for a new life together and their own dream house, on the misty purple shores of Four Winds Harbor.

A new life means fresh problems to solve, fresh surprises. Anne and Gilbert will make new friends and meet their neighbors: Captain Jim, the lighthouse attendant, with his sad stories of the sea; Miss Cornelia Bryant, the lady who speaks from the heart -- and speaks her mind; and the tragically beautiful Leslie Moore, into whose dark life Anne shines a brilliant light.

(via Goodreads)

 

 

Wow– I thought I would never see y’all again by mid-last-week. I came down with a summer cold (worst), and now with changes at work and some personal things we are deep in the busiest time of the year for me. But it feels good to get a review posted. Anyway– After reading Anne of Windy Poplars, I will admit I wasn’t all that excited to pick up Anne’s House of Dreams. But — oh– am I glad I did! This beautiful little novel reminds me why I just adore this series so much. To think it could get better!

Continuing the journey of Anne Shirley’s, now Anne Blythe, life the reader is brought into a new chapter as the newlyweds move to Four Winds Harbor. Gilbert has graduated medical school and will be the resident doctor. Gilbert knows his bride and finds a tiny old cottage perfect for his dreamy-headed bride. Nestled near a corner of the woods, with a view of the harbor, a beautiful 60+-year-old garden, and all the strange shaped rooms Anne could ever want, the couple moves into Anne’s “house of dreams”. It isn’t long before our couple makes close friends with some neighbors. And thus begins the most detailed and nuanced of all the Anne of Green Gables stories so far.

I supposed all this sounds crazy — all these terrible emotions always do sound foolish when be put them into our inadequate words. They are not meant to be spoken — only felt and endured.

What I expected going into Anne’s House of Dreams was a greater focus on Anne and her new life with Gilbert, as well as some of the more familiar aspects of the first three books where each chapter was more like a stand-alone story. In these pages I found, but so, so, so much more. There is plenty of beauty, romance, and silliness. But in Anne’s House of Dreams, we also find tragedy, sadness, and deep abiding love.

It’s so dreadful to have nothing to love — life is so empty — and there is nothing worse than emptiness…

Anne Shirley is a fully-developed woman by the end of this novel. When it begins, we still have a bit of the young day-dreamer apparent in her. However, as the story progresses we find that Anne has completely grown up by the end of these pages. She is a wife, a mother, and a survivor of both grief and joy. Speaking of… I was absolutely SHOCKED when Anne lost her first child. What a heart breaking tale! I know that’s the sort of thing to be expected in 1917, but… oh, poor Anne and Gilbert. I also greatly appreciate how Anne falls into her role as a wife and mother. Yes, she is well-educated. Anne saw many career women in her life and knew that could have been an option for her. But, as Anne constantly reminds people, she gave up her career ambitions for those of family. Anne chooses to love, love unconditionally, and to both share and breed that love in the world about her. This is her career.

“I’d like to add some beauty to life,” said Anne dreamily. “I don’t exactly want to make people KNOW more… though I know that IS the noblest amotion… but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me; to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn’t been born.”

This is the book where we finally get to focus on the relationship between Anne and Gilbert. It’s heartwarming to watch The Blythes be young and in love together. There are moments where the couple still acts like school children, but they quickly turn into a loving and supportive couple. I think my favorite moments exploring their relationship include the first time Miss Cornelia comes over to socialize with Anne, so Gilbert hides in his study to eavesdrop, and when Anne and Gilbert have their first real argument. Montgomery has taken some fairly flat characters and given them incredible depth. Pitted against the background of friends the Blythe’s have developed, their love and relationship are even clearer. Plus, Montgomery’s implied moments where Anne and Gilbert head off for romantic trysts made me smile something fierce.

But [sorrows] won’t get the better of you if you face ’em together with love and trust. You can weather any storm with them two for a compass and pilot.

I adore the intimacy of Anne’s House of Dreams. Physically, the Blythe household is truly small and intimate. But unlike the previous books, Anne and Gilbert are not surrounded by a large community of friends and family. Instead, our story focuses on a small collection of characters. I found this change to be a breath of fresh air. When you move to a new community it can be a challenge to make friends. Not only that, but our smaller cast of characters also allows the reader to become better acquainted with them. Unlike previous books, I found myself much more connected to the emotional swings and nuances of our small cast. I laughed with Miss Cornelia and her catty ways, I dreamed with Captain Jim for both Lost Margaret and his Life-book, and I despaired with Leslie Moore.

But just think that a dull worked it would be if everyone was sensible.

Let’s take a moment to focus on Leslie Moore. There are so many wonderful characters in this novel (I think my favorite is Captain Jim!) but Leslie Moore is the most nuanced, well-developed characters I’ve read in the entire series. In a scant few hundred pages, we get to explore the entire tragic life of poor Leslie. And we are privileged to see almost every side of her as not only Leslie presents herself, but also how the other characters see her. Leslie’s character also drives a thread of plot consistently throughout the novel. The tragedy of her life and the cruelly tempting opportunities for happiness which enter fleetingly grips the reader and kept me turning pages in a way I never had for Anne on her own.

Ah, well, let’s not borrow trouble; the rate of interest is too high.

For a compact book coming in a little less than 250 pages, Anne’s House of Dreams packs quite the emotional wallop. The stories of this small cast of characters captured my heart. While Anne’s tale wasn’t always the center, her boundless love for her friends ties everything together in a wonderful way. It’s beautiful seeing the whimsical magic Anne casts over all these poor characters. In fact, this might now be my favorite book in the series! If you thought you were going to stop earlier, don’t. Please keep reading! Anne’s House of Dreams is waiting for you.


Are you participating in #AnneReadAlong2017? If so, post the link to your review below and we’ll add you to the list! You can also join us on Twitter with the hashtag #AnneReadAlong2017 and by commenting and discussing on all the Anne series reviews. Finally, we would love you to join our Top 5 list postings as well! We look forward to interacting with you!


Other Anne’s House of Dreams Reviews

Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf

Melanie @ Grab the Lapels 

Naomi @ Consumed by Ink


What do you think?

  • Have you read Anne’s House of Dreams? What do you think of this book?
  • Do you still feel like this is an Anne story, despite the more prominent tragic events?
  • Who is your favorite character from this new cast?
  • What books under 250 pages pack an emotional wallop for you?

35 Comments

  • Grab the Lapels September 14, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    I, too, was surprised by the spoiler you hid and also the resolution to Leslie’s story. Captain Jim and the old lady come back, if I remember correctly.

    • Jackie B September 15, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      !! That’s super exciting! I can’t wait to read more about Captain Jim and Miss Cornelia. They are so much fun; particularly the banter they play off each other.

      I also completely forgot to include the link up! Do you have a House of Dreams post you’d like me to link up above? 😀

  • KrystiYAandWine September 15, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    First of all, I hope you’re feeling better! Glad you were able to find time for blogging/reading amongst all of the craziness you have going on.

    Second, WOW! A five star review! That’s fantastic. This definitely sounds like an Anne book that I would enjoy. That’s fun that this one starts to focus in on that relationship a bit more. I can’t wait to get to read these one day!

    • Jackie B September 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      Thank you! It feels good to dedicate time to my friends again. It’s amazing how important you guys have all become to me over the past year or so!

      Yes! I was super excited after my 2 star review to jump all the way to 5 stars. It’s obvious that the books Montgomery wrote first are key to her relationship with Anne. I look forward to hearing what you think of this someday. 🙂

      • KrystiYAandWine September 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm

        Isn’t it amazing how important blogging friends become? I got to meet some at YALLWEST this year, and it was like having a reunion with your best friends. It may be because we all have a thing or two in common. 🙂

        I was excited to see that the series improved that much that quickly for you. This review definitely sold me on the fact that I need to read these. <3

        • Jackie B September 19, 2017 at 12:42 pm

          Haha. A “thing or two”, that’s for sure. I’d love to go to YALLWEST or somesuch someday. For now, it’s just on the wish list. But I’ll be there one day!

          Oh yes, I was warned ahead of time that the two books written in the 1930s are much…um, less… than the others. I’m so glad that this improved dramatically. I don’t have high hopes for the next book (written in 1936), but I can’t wait for the final two! I’ve heard great things.
          I do hope you read at least the first book someday. I feel like you’d really enjoy how idyllic it is.

  • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer September 16, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Ooh Jackie! I’m not a fan of short stories… BUT you make then sound sooooo intriguing!! ♥️ Actually this is the most tempted I am to read this series. I know you love them so but this sounds like the pinnacle of a life! Loved the quotes BTW!

    Glad to hear you’re over you’re cold… it’s sweeping across the nation! And YAY a review amidst that and everything else!

    • Jackie B September 17, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      I don’t know if I’d ever really describe the Anne of Green Gables series as a collection of short stories… More like vignettes? Basically, each chapter ends a tiny story arc. What I like about them is not only that they are genuine, beautiful, moral, pastoral, and magical– but they really focus on being happy and true to yourself. It’s rare I end a chapter feeling anything other than peaceful.

      It is sweeping the nation– I feel like I couldn’t even pass it to anyone because everyone already had it before I noticed I had it! Silly germs.

  • Krysta September 16, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    I think this book is a really beautiful addition to the series. I like seeing Anne make friends in a new place. And I think Leslie’s story is so beautifully nuanced, and heartbreaking. Thanks for a great review!

    • Jackie B September 19, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Thank you, Krysta! I completely agree, seeing Anne make friends all over again was a bit refreshing. She’s obviously matured quite a bit since she arrived in Avonlea, but she still is looking for Kindred Spirit (even if now they are called “the people of Joseph” — whatever works!).

      • Krysta September 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm

        And making friends as an adult is so HARD! Only Anne can do it with such ease!

  • Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf September 16, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Amen amen amen to everything you say here! I felt the exact same about this novel! Beautiful review!

    And I finally got mine up too 🙂

    • Jackie B September 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Woohoo! I am so glad that we’ve been as aligned as we have been for this read along. That said, I’m certain that it would have been fun either way. I prefer being excited with you than debating the merits of certain sections, however. 🙂

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea September 17, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    This is so beautifully written Jackie! I am so pleased to see that you found some redemption in this one. I always adored the idea of Anne and Gilbert’s relationship, so it is wonderful to have further exposure and a closer look at that. I really do hope to revisit these soon. It has been too long!

    • Jackie B September 20, 2017 at 8:13 am

      D’aw. Thank you!! It was definitely fun to see them closer together. Though, I wish we had been able to explore the relationship between Anne and Gilbert a bit more closely. We only had a few key moments where they were alone.

      Do you remember which one of the AoGG books is your favorite?

      • Books, Vertigo and Tea September 20, 2017 at 6:25 pm

        I always held partial to the first personally but enjoyed them all. I think I may have really liked Anne of Ingleside towards the end, but it has been so long haha 🙂

        • Jackie B September 21, 2017 at 4:55 pm

          Well, that’s our next book– so I’ll be keeping an eye out for the ending, then. 🙂

  • Birdie September 17, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    The best part of your reviews is that they take me back to a world that I loved so much growing up. All I wanted, from the very beginning, was for Anne and Gilbert to be together. They had the best slowly developing relationship, and maybe they’re why that type of love story will always be my favorite.

    • Jackie B September 20, 2017 at 8:15 am

      D’aw. Thanks, Birdy! The relationship between Anne and Gilbert certainly is a slow-burn type. It’s been endearing watching them grow together.

      Have you read all these books before? Which ones are your favorite?

      • Birdie September 20, 2017 at 8:55 am

        I own the box set of the books, all the way through Rilla of Ingleside, and I read them all when I was a teenager. My favorites were Anne of Green Gables and Rainbow Valley.

        • Jackie B September 21, 2017 at 9:21 pm

          I loved Anne of Green Gables, and now I’m really looking forward to Rainbow Valley! Thanks for the veteran tip! 😉

  • Laila@BigReadingLife September 19, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Your glowing review makes me look forward to reading this one! I’ll be starting it next, after I finish my current read!

    • Jackie B September 21, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad. Plus, I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to read this review even though this book is coming up on your TBR. I’m not that brave, even when I know that people write spoiler-free reviews. O_o I’m so silly.

      I hope you love it, too, once you get to Anne’s House of Dreams!!

  • Shouni September 22, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Your Anne reviews are seriously making me fall in love with this series all over again! I’m so glad you loved this one! Anne and Gilbert were probably the first book couple I shipped so I was overjoyed when they got married and moved into their little cottage.

    • Jackie B September 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      It’s not often that the couples we love in books actually see each other long enough to develop a relationship and get married! I’m glad this ‘ship worked out so well for you. Have you read the whole series? Forgive me if I’ve asked you that already– I’m trying to figure out everyone’s favorite books. 🙂

      • Shouni September 29, 2017 at 6:31 pm

        Yes I have! (You did ask already but I never mind talking about my favorite books ). I don’t remember most of what happened, only the big things, but yes I’m very glad Anne and Gilbert worked out. What’s your favorite Anne book so far?

        • Jackie B October 3, 2017 at 8:35 am

          Hahaha. Oops! I’m known to do that. I tend to forget.

          My favorite Anne book? That’s hard to say. It honestly might be this one! Anne’s House of Dreamsintroduces the most complicated secondary characters in the series thus far, which I adore. I also love Anne of the Island. Watching Anne grow up and become a woman through her college years filled me with happy nostalgia.

          Hmm… If I had to pick one, I’d say House of Dreams. Yes. The characters and their relationships are just so much more full and fulfilling!

  • Naomi October 19, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I’m so glad you loved this! It’s so hard for me to pick a favourite Anne book, but this one is defintely in the running. (This one, Anne of the Island, and Rilla of Ingleside are my faves.)
    And I’m happy to see you point out that Anne chooses motherhood as her career. I’ve always felt that this is what she wants. I know other readers are upset because she gives up making writing her career. Which I can also understand… but that argument makes me feel as though choosing to be a mother is a lesser choice.
    Here’s the link to my review: https://consumedbyink.ca/2015/05/18/green-gables-readalong-annes-house-of-dreams/

    • Jackie B October 21, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      I love Anne of the Island, too! I can’t wait to read Rilla of Ingleside. I recently heard so much about it and I’m super psyched to read it now. But I must read these in order. Oops!

      I am a bit sad that Anne stopped writing (though, now that I’m in Anne of Ingleside I see that she is still willing to write, it’s just not as important as being a mother) since I really love that she used that as a creative outlet for her imagination. But I also love that motherhood is the career she chose. Anne seems to know and understand her own limits. She is wiser than me; I just keep acquiring new hobbies instead of letting some go! Oops.

      But you’re right– I think that choosing motherhood is NEVER a lesser choice. I feel bad for those who cannot choose between motherhood and a career. Having the option feels like a luxury these days…

      Thanks for sharing your review! I’ve linked to it above!

      • Naomi October 24, 2017 at 10:00 am

        She still writes for herself. I imagine that if she was around right now, she’d have a blog. 🙂

        • Jackie B October 27, 2017 at 10:03 am

          I’d love to read young Anne’s blog. I imagine it would be a smattering of drama from her days in the world and made up stories. But we’d have to figure out what was real and what isn’t.

Participate in the discussion!

%d bloggers like this: