Goodreads: Anne’s House of Dreams
Series: Anne #5
Now married, Gilbert and Anne move to Four Winds Harbor where Gilbert can pursue his profession as a doctor. There Anne meets a host of new neighbors from Captain Jim who keeps the lighthouse to Miss Cornelia who despises men to Leslie Moore who lives a tragic life as her husband’s nursemaid.
I have to admit that, now Anne has given up teaching, her life seems to be somewhat less full of adventure. True, she still writes some fanciful short stories–but oftentimes she seems to downplay their worth or significance, in contrast to what other writers can accomplish–and we the readers see nothing of the writing or publishing process. At times it is unclear whether Anne is still writing at all. Her new life as a married woman thus seems to have shrunk a little. The focus here shifts from Anne to the lives of her new neighbors. One of them, Leslie Moore, beautiful and tragic, almost becomes the star of the show.
I believe Montgomery does not mean to suggest married life is unexciting or dull, but Anne’s new life sees her associating with exactly three new neighbors–Capt. Jim, the old lighthouse keeper; Miss Cornelia, an amusing man-hater; and Leslie Moore, forced into an unhappy marriage years ago when she was only sixteen. One or two other characters crop up, but Anne’s life revolves around giving and receiving visits from these three individuals. She has hired help now, too, so her domestic misadventures are largely over–mentions of her chores include gardening and sewing, but nothing goes amiss.
None of this is bad. In fact, Montgomery, with her typical magic, manages to convey the enchantment of everyday life for Anne. She goes for long walks on the shore, weathers election season, almost has a quarrel with Gilbert, and experiences what it means to be a mother. She has a happy and fulfilling. But if you wanted the old Anne who finds herself in amusing predicaments, you won’t find her here. Instead Montgomery shifts the drama onto Leslie, married when she was sixteen to a man of low reputation and now acting as his nursemaid as he has lost his memory. Her storyline at some points almost borders on the melodramatic. You might have thought this was realistic fiction, but what are the odds of Leslie’s story happening to the nice woman down the road?
Maybe Montgomery herself realized that a story with such a small cast of characters would not be sustainable in the long run as, when she eventually continued Anne’s story, she had Anne and Gilbert move out of their house of dreams. However, even in her very small world, Anne casts her spell over all those who know her, providing her signature sympathy, wisdom, and kindness. Being allowed to visit her house of dreams is, for readers, a great honor.