Goodreads: Emily’s Quest
Series: Emily #3
Ilse, Perry, and Teddy have all moved away from Blair Water to pursue their careers, leaving Emily alone to work on her writing. Once Emily dreamed of marrying Teddy. But with him out of the picture, will Dean finally attain his Star?
Emily Byrd Starr has always distinguished herself from the seemingly similar Anne–orphaned and adopted on P.E.I.–partly by her devotion to her writing. Her books follow her high and low points as she attempts to find publishers for her works, receiving rejections, facing opposition from her aunt, and enduring criticism from her community (who all believe, hope, and fear that Emily is “writing them in” to one of her stories). Emily’s Quest would seem to be the culmination of all this as she focuses in this novel on getting an entire book published. But the bulk of the story focuses instead on her love life.
Of course, love and work have never really been separate, especially for women–especially in Emily’s time. Emily’s devotion to her writing threatens her community and in particular the men who want to woo her. Of course Emily will give it up when she’s married! Of course it’s a fad and not something she must do! Of course no woman can write and be a wife! Impossible! And so Emily finds herself torn, needing to write but also feeling desperately abandoned and alone.
In many ways, this is the darkest installment of a dark trilogy. Emily hits a low point here as she struggles to find her way in life and to be true to herself without losing everyone she loves. The years pass as no one seems willing to accept her as she is and she tries to take comfort in her career. But why can’t she have it all? Why must she choose between feeling fulfilled in her work and in finding love? Montgomery’s questions still resonate today.
Emily’s Quest has for me, always been the most painful of Montgomery’s works. It is full of misunderstandings, crossed loves, and spells of depression and loneliness. But I like that Montgomery never pulls her punches. She allows her characters to live, to suffer deeply sometimes just as they sometimes experience joy. That is part of the secret that makes her characters seem so real.