Beyond Anne of Green Gables: The Other Novels of L.M. Montgomery

Discussion Post

We’re huge L. M. Montgomery fans here at Pages Unbound. We’ve hosted an L. M. Montgomery reading event and an Anne of Green Gables read-along. We wrote a quiz for you to find out which Montgomery heroine you are most like, which Montgomery hero you should be with, and which of Anne Shirley’s friends you share a personality with. We’ve written reviews for nearly all of her books and wrote a ton of other posts, such as lessons from Anne Shirley and others I won’t list because I could go on and on.

However, nearly every time we post about an L. M. Montgomery book that is not Anne of Green Gables, at least one lovely commenter says that they had no idea Montgomery wrote anything besides Anne of Green Gables!  This is just shocking, I tell you, absolutely shocking.  Since I can no longer allow people to go on unaware of all the wonderful L. M. Montgomery novels they could be reading, I here introduce to you her books besides the Anne series.  There are brief descriptions below the infographic, and you can look forward to future posts from Krysta about how to pick the best L. M. Montgomery book to read next based on your mood, Hogwarts House, etc. (And, yes, there are eight Anne books, for those of you who thought Anne of Green Gables was the only one!)

L. M. Montgomery also wrote poetry and a number of short stories conveniently published in various volumes, as well as an autobiography called The Alpine Path, but we’ll leave those for another day.

Beyond Anne of Green Gables- L.M. Montgomery's Other Books

L. M. Montgomery’s Children’s Series

Pat of Silver Bush

A young girl grows up on a Prince Edward Island farm.  Pat dislikes change and wants to stay at Silver Bush forever, happy with her family, but life goes on and friends and even family must come and go.  One of Montgomery’s few works where both the protagonist’s parents are alive and well. She also has siblings!

Emily of New Moon

When Emily’s father dies, she is sent to live with her mother’s family, the stern and well-respected Murray clan, on Prince Edward Island.  At first she dislikes their ways and their pride, and the way they frowned on her parents’ marriage, but she soon makes fast friends with three local children and begins to foster her love of writing. One of Montgomery’s more Gothic-inspired series.

The Story Girl

Sara Stanley is so good at telling stories that she has been dubbed “the Story Girl” and adults and children alike gather to hear her stories.  The novel covers the lives of Sara and her cousins, as well as some of the stories she tells.

L. M. Montgomery Children’s Stand-alones

Jane of Lantern Hill

Jane isn’t entirely certain about going to visit her father on Prince Edward Island; in fact, she had thought he was dead!  But she soon comes to build a relationship with both him and the island and starts to dream of building a new life.

Magic for Marigold

Marigold was almost not named Marigold; it was her mother’s dying wish, but the rest of the family thinks it’s too much!  Yet a serendipitous turn of events mean she’s named Marigold after all, and the luck and the magic never stop coming into her life.  Montgomery’s youngest protagonist.

Kilmeny of the Orchard

When Eric Marshall goes to teach temporarily in a small town, he has no plans of falling in love, until he encounters an enchanting girl with a mysterious past.  One of Montgomery’s few texts written from a male point of view.

L. M. Montgomery’s Adult Books

A long time ago I read that these are Montgomery’s only two books intended for adults. It seemed odd to me at the time because, obviously, adults enjoy all of Montgomery’s books and I don’t know how many people consciously think of Anne of Green Gables as a children’s book. However, it sort of makes sense. The protagonists of both of these book are adults, and I think the general point-of-view on matters like social standards, marriage, etc. are slightly more mature (not as in “more risque,” just more what an adult with different experiences would think, vs. a child).

A Tangled Web

Before Aunt Becky dies, she tells her clan that she’s going to leave a cherished heirloom jug to one of them–but they won’t know the beneficiary until one year after her passing.  Even worse: she’s not going to tell them how she’s deciding who gets it, so they’ll have to be on their best behavior just in case she’s instructed someone still living to decide who gets it in a year. Shenanigans ensue as everyone competes for chance at the jug.  It’s a ridiculous-sounding premise when you say it’s a novel about people fighting over a jug, but the book is magic and one of Montgomery’s strongest works. It’ also the only one written with multiple points of view, hence the tangled web.

The Blue Castle

Valancy Stirling is known among her family for people respectable, staid, and on the verge of becoming an old maid–if she isn’t one already.  But when Valancy receives a dire medical diagnosis, she decides she wants to enjoy the rest of her life and proposes to one of the area’s most notorious men!  She has no idea what’s worse, though: dying, or not dying and looking like she swindled her husband into marrying her.

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff

umbrella-summerINFORMATION

Goodreads: Umbrella Summer
Series:  None
Source: Gift
Published: 2000

SUMMARY

Ever since her brother Jared died from a rare heart condition, Annie Richards has been very careful.  Skin cancer, gangrene, or Ebola–anything could get you.  So she doesn’t ride her bike down the hill anymore, or race with her best friend Rebecca, or eat sugary cereal for breakfast.  Can a chance meeting with a new neighbor help Annie to find a way to live again?

Review

In Umbrella Summer, Lisa Graff sensitively explores the aftermath of the death of Annie’s eleven-year-old brother Jared.  Though the adults around her keep telling her she’s fine, ten-year-old Annie can’t help but worry.  They say that the chances of her getting skin cancer or other deadly diseases are slim.  But Jared died from a heart condition so rare no one bothered to check for it.  You have to be prepared, Annie thinks, because you never know.

I would say that this a lower middle-grade, so at times the writing and the story did feel a little simplistic to me.  I had to fill in some of the emotions, especially those of the adults, because while Graff does depict the effects of Jared’s death on Annie’s family, much of what happens occurs without comment.  Of course, this is partially because Annie narrates the story and she’s not very effective at articulating her own grief, and much less at understanding why her parents are behaving as they are.  (She is, after all, only ten.)  But it still feels like we’re offered only a glimpse of what is really happening, because if we looked at raw grief in its entirety, it might prove too overwhelming.

Still, this is an excellent story, one that has your heart reaching out to Annie as she tries to cope. It helps that Annie is not simply a victim.  She is strong and smart and funny and, well, a kid who likes to do kid things like spy on the neighbors or make up silly songs.  She’s a fun protagonist, one whose adventures you want to travel on even while you wish you could give her a hug and tell her it will be okay.

3 starsKrysta 64

Rethinking the Value of MLA

MLA may seem like a type of busy work to some students, a meaningless task to perform so they can please their teacher.  However, MLA is not just a personal teacher preference.  Rather, MLA is specifically set up to perform certain tasks.  And understanding what some of those tasks are may help you to master MLA style.

The Main Reasons to Use MLA

  • It’s a standardized style so readers know automatically what information they are looking at or where to find information.
  • Using the standard helps you to present yourself as an insider in the field.
  • MLA helps authors to give attribution to their sources and to avoid plagiarism.

The Reasons Behind Some of the Details

The in-text citation (Page and Line Numbers)

These tell readers where to find the quote you cite in its original context so they can determine if you quoted it accurately, interpreted it correctly, etc.  This means you should be as specific as possible.  Use a page number (download the PD F version of an article rather than using the HTML version so you have this) if available.  If not, you may see that the paragraphs are numbered–use that number.  If referring to a play in verse (like Shakespeare’s), cite the scene and line numbers.  If quoting a poem, provide the line numbers.  Don’t just give a page number if referring to something with line numbers because that means your reader has to scan the entire page to find the relevant quote.  Make it as easy for them as possible.

THE IN-TEXT CITATION (Authors and Titles)

Author names should appear in the text itself if possible, so you will not normally need to add them to the in-text citation.  However, you may find it necessary to add a title to an in-text citation.  In this case, you shorten the title if necessary.  Writing a full title of “The Disparities Between Chickens and Fish as Examined Through the Lenses of Several Authors and Interspersed with Poetic Interludes” makes your text look sloppy.  Provide enough information for the reader to find this title in your Works Cited.  “Disparities Between Chickens and Fish” is sufficient.

The Works Cited

This should be in alphabetical order so your readers can find sources easily.  Use the rule of “making it easy on your readers” to determine how to handle situations that you might feel the guidebooks on MLA do not sufficiently cover.  For instance, if you think they will likely look for the writer name while looking for a graphic novel, lead with that.  However, if you were prioritizing the artist in your paper, you might lead with the artist name.  Also keep in mind that your in-text citations and Works Cited should match.  That is, don’t refer to “(Writer 99)” but lead off with the artist in your Works Cited entry.

The Header

Your last name and page number are meant to be on the top of each page so that if the pages are separated they can easily be identified and reordered.

Conclusion

MLA is not taught by instructors simply because they are oddly obsessed with the details of how your paper looks.  Rather, the details perform specific functions.  Readers expect proper formatting because this formatting allows them not only to check a work for accuracy but also to use that work to find other interesting or relevant sources.  

Further, it’s important that students gain an eye for detail and an ability for correct formatting because formatting (even if not MLA) will likely play a future role in many individuals’ lives.  From sending in a resume that includes all the relevant information in an expected manner to submitting manuscripts to publishing agents or submitting articles to academic journals, students will find that formatting affects their chances of professional success.  Sending in a document correctly formatted presents the individual as conscientious and easy to work with.

Finally, many readers are very concerned with stylistic issues.  Even though the content of a document should be more important than how it looks, many people equate surface features with intelligence.  That is, a paper that is written with correct grammar and looks like a professionally-formatted piece will be rated higher by some readers than a paper that is not written with correct grammar and is not formatted the way the readers in the field expect.  This may not seem fair or right, but you can use it to your advantage by taking the few moments necessary to format your documents correctly.

MLA matters.  More than you might think.

Do you have insights on how other citation styles work?  Share with us your citation insights and preferences below!

Recommend a Diverse Classic (Classic Remarks)

Classic Remarks

Classic Remarks is meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.  Feel free to comment even if you are not officially participating!  This week’s prompt is:

Recommend a diverse classic.

One of my favorite books is Chaim Potok’s modern classic My Name Is Asher Lev, which tells the story of a boy whose passion for art threatens his relationship with his father and his community.  Asher cannot help but paint, but his father, an Orthodox Jew, is convinced that Asher’s talent is demonic.  Asher wants to believe that he can reconcile his art with his faith and that what he does is worth something, even if he is not serving his people the way generations of his family have served.  But learning to be an artist means painting nudes and, even worse, considering the power of a crucifixion painting.  Asher feels compelled to follow his vision wherever it leads him, making choice after choice that threatens to destroy his family even as each allows him to feel that he is remaining true to himself.  Asher and his father both see the world in different ways and, though they repeatedly try to bridge the distance between them, they ultimately are too similar ever to understand each other.

The book ends with no easy answers or moralistic messages.  Rather, it suggests that even though art may be necessary, it may also be selfish and destructive.  Its uneasy confrontation with the  nature of art and the cost of success become even more provocative when considered in light of what Potok might have been trying to work within himself as he wrote.  Where do art and faith mix and where do they diverge?  How much meaning can we find in art and in which kinds of art?  Does a compulsion to do something justify doing it?  And what happens when the path you see laid out before you is a path no one  else thinks you should take?

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Blood Rose RebellionInformation

Goodreads: Blood Rose Rebellion
Series: Blood Rose Rebellion #1
Source: City Book Review
Published: March 28, 2017

Official Summary

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

Review

Blood Rose Rebellion is generally an engaging book. It’s well-written with strong characters and an engaging plot.  Unfortunately, it reminds me of a lot of other YA fantasy I’ve been reading, and it doesn’t stand out from the crowd.  The marketing team for the book is comparing it to Red Queen, presumably because of the class differences that the book explores; magic is in the bloodlines of the ruling elite.  However, for me the story most brought to mind A Shadow Bright and Burning with its setting in an alternate 1800s Europe and focus on a female protagonist with unusual powers whose destiny may lead her to dispense magic to people to whom the ruling class declares it does not belong.  While both novels are good, reading them side by side does make them blend together, and I wish Blood Rose Rebellion had felt more original to me.

That issue aside, I very much liked the characters in the book, particularly protagonist Anna Arden. She’s passionate and idealistic but sometimes too impetuous for her own good. Her personality makes her a great main character to follow, as she’s always getting into one adventure or another.  I also enjoyed her grandmother, dignified but with a hidden strength, and her cousin who also has a hidden heart of  gold.

On the hand, I do wish the love interest had been more developed.  I know what I’m supposed to think about him–he’s smart, hardworking, and loyal to his family.  However, I felt as though this was often told to me rather than shown, and I didn’t feel a connection between him and Anna.  For me, the romance is not the high point of the story.

The world building is solid, and I felt like I could picture the magic system that Eves has created.  The historical aspects might have been better integrated, however, as I mostly got the general points that Hungary wants to be free from the Habsburgs and that Europe is in a general state of rebellion.  Anna mentions Queen Victoria of England in passing.  Eves does include an author’s note with some more historical details at the end of the book, but I would have liked this information to be included in the actual story.  I also could have done with fewer info dumps.

I think fans of YA fantasy will enjoy Blood Rose Rebellion, but I didn’t really read it at the right time to fall in love with it.

Briana

The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim

The Crystal Ribbon

Information

Goodreads: The Crystal Ribbon
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: January 31, 2017

Official Summary

In the village of Huanan, in medieval China, the deity that rules is the Great Huli Jing. Though twelve-year-old Li Jing’s name is a different character entirely from the Huli Jing, the sound is close enough to provide constant teasing-but maybe is also a source of greater destiny and power. Jing’s life isn’t easy. Her father is a poor tea farmer, and her family has come to the conclusion that in order for everyone to survive, Jing must be sacrificed for the common good. She is sold as a bride to the Koh family, where she will be the wife and nursemaid to their three-year-old son, Ju’nan. It’s not fair, and Jing feels this bitterly, especially when she is treated poorly by the Koh’s, and sold yet again into a worse situation that leads Jing to believe her only option is to run away, and find home again. With the help of a spider who weaves Jing a means to escape, and a nightingale who helps her find her way, Jing embarks on a quest back to Huanan–and to herself.

Review

This book, starting with the summary but continuing throughout the text itself, fixates so much on the idea that protagonist Jing has a “powerful destiny” that I was expecting an entirely different story from the one I got. People harp on Jing’s name and how it means “crystal” and how she’s fated for great things. I thought this was going to be an epic fantasy adventure where Jing is some type of Chosen One, a hero who changes the course of the world. Instead, it’s about Jing’s personal journey of finding inner strength, not even necessarily to do earth-shattering things, but just to have a life she’s happy with. This isn’t a bad plot, but, as I said, it is far from what I had been led to expect.

Because of my expectations, I thought the book was going to be structured differently than it is, and I wait a long time for the plot to reach a climax or for Jing to discover her great destiny. The plot, however, is fairly episodic, and it plays out pretty much in the way the jacket summary describes: Jing is sold off to be a young bride/babysitter to her three-year-old husband, then she’s sent off to an ever worse life, then she plans her escape. The book is fairly episodic in this way, though it does have a sort of “there and back again” structure to tie it altogether.

The historical aspects and the Chinese cultural aspects are incredibly interesting. It does seem a little heavy-handed at time, as the characters have to repeatedly explain what words mean, what certain objects are, what the local customs are, etc., but I probably would have been lost without a lot of these explanations, so I’ll admit that they’re probably necessary for a lot of readers, though I did think sometimes the info dumps distract from the story. I’m not sure there’s an easy solution here, however, and I’m sure the author and editor went back and forth on this issue a lot.

The characters are perhaps the stars of the novel. The “bad” characters come off a bit caricaturish in their unmitigated cruelty and apparent delight in doing anything nasty, sometimes just for the sake of nastiness, but protagonist Jing is multi-faceted, as are most of the other characters. I particularly enjoyed how Jing comes to see people in different lights as she gains more experience in the world. The jing (which often take the form of animals) are great fun to read and learn about.

This is a solid book, a nice look at Chinese history and one girl’s personal journey to fight for her own happiness.

Briana

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre

Information

Goodreads: The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre
Series: The Two Princesses of Bamarre 0.5
Source: Purchased
Published: May 2, 2017

Official Summary

In this compelling and thought-provoking fantasy set in the world of The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Newbery Honor-winning author Gail Carson Levine introduces a spirited heroine who must overcome deeply rooted prejudice—including her own—to heal her broken country.

Peregrine strives to live up to the ideal of her people, the Latki—and to impress her parents: affectionate Lord Tove, who despises only the Bamarre, and stern Lady Klausine. Perry runs the fastest, speaks her mind, and doesn’t give much thought to the castle’s Bamarre servants, whom she knows to be weak and cowardly.

But just as she’s about to join her father on the front lines, she is visited by the fairy Halina, who reveals that Perry isn’t Latki-born. She is Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti power, Perry must free her people from tyranny.

Review

Although I have not re-read it in several years, The Two Princesses of Bamarre has always been my favorite Gail Carson Levine book, so I was ecstatic to learn Levine was publishing another book about Bamarre this May.  The slight catch:  This stories takes place many years before The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and the kingdom featured is not quite the one that fans know and love.  In fact, the Bamarre people are subjugated under the Lakti, forced to wear tassels and work only as servants rather than free people, and the beautiful land across the Eskerns is only a dream they have.

This is a book that explores identity and prejudice.  The protagonist is raised as a Lakti and taught to consider the Bamarre beneath her– a people who are weak and unimportant in comparison to the aggressive Lakti.  The story is partially a journey of her coming to realize that was she has been taught may not quite be the truth.  While I was initially tempted to take some issue with the fact the Perry seems able to see the good in the Bamarre only because she is actually Bamarre by birth herself (there’s some nature vs. nurture problem here), some of the other Lakti’s views on the matter also turn out to be complex and changeable, which helped.

The book isn’t bleak, however; there’s plenty of the heart and magic that readers expect from Gail Carson Levine.  There are also a number of allusions to people, objects, etc. that appear in The Two Princesses of Bamarre, though I’m sure I missed some of them due to not having read the book recently.  Expect a fun treasure hunt of allusions if you’re already a Bamarre fan, but don’t worry about recognizing these small nods if you’re not; they’re not crucial to understanding the plot in any way.

I did think the plot lagged in places because Perry has to slow down and do some learning before she can go on to great and exciting things, but overall the book was interesting.  The characters also shine.  Both the Lakti and the Bamarre are complex, and Levine puts great effort into developing and describing their histories and cultures.  No one is one-dimensional in this novel.

I’ve been looking forward to a new Gail Carson Levine book for a while, and this does not disappoint.

4 stars Briana