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.

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25 thoughts on “Beyond Anne of Green Gables: The Other Novels of L.M. Montgomery

  1. FranL says:

    SO glad to see this post! I love me some Emily! And so few readers know that she wrote things for older readers. I wish she wrote more! The Blue Castle and A Tangled Web are faves.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      That’s true! I seldom find people who know that Montgomery wrote more than Anne! Some people know about Emily! But her books for older readers are fascinating! I’ve always preferred A Tangled Web. There’s something almost a little…melodramatic? about The Blue Castle. It makes The Blue Castle feel like such a guilty pleasure, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bionic Book Worm says:

    Wow! This is so great to see! I loved her books as a kid. And when we went to Prince Edward Island for a road trip many years ago and was lucky enough to see the Green Gables heritage site as well as her birthplace house which was absolutely adorable!

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  3. Jillian says:

    I read a biography on Montgomery called The Gift of Wings by Mary Rubio (highly recommended!): Rubio claims that Montgomery wasn’t actually considered a children’s author until after the First World War. She was acclaimed worldwide as an author of adult regional literature by men like Mark Twain, the governor of Canada, and the prime minister of Great Britain, who traveled to Canada to shake her hand.

    After The Great War, she was forced into a pigeon hole as a children’s author, and you can see her trying to crack through by testing the formula assigned to her in her novels’ subtext. I especially noticed her subversive message in Rilla of Ingleside.

    I’ve read her journals from 1910-1921. She disliked being forced into a box as a children’s author, and having to write merry stories that ended in marriage proposals. She was obliged to do it to pay the bills. In my opinion, the reason forher transformation into a tidy children’s author was enforced marginalization of the New Women writer in the wake of the First World War (see the introduction to New Women, New Novels: Feminism and Early Modernism by scholar Ann L. Ardis.)

    If you haven’t read The Blythes Are Quoted, I STRONGLY recommend it. It was her last published work, delivered to her publisher the day she died.

    I really want to try the Emily series, and read The Blue Castle. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erin says:

      That’s really informative Jillian and I’ll definitely check out the Montgomery memoir! The Emily of New Moon series (book and tv show) was my favourite as a child and if you get a chance to visit PEI definitely go to where they filmed the show. Also, The Blue Castle was really enjoyable too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Krysta says:

        I’m not surprised. The reputations of author can vary widely over the years. Hence why I find the idea of the canon just a little funny. The authors in the canon change as literary tastes change, but no one seems to like to talk about that. Hawthorne used to be admired as sentimental writer. Now we celebrate him for his darkness. Harriet Beecher Stowe used to be respected. Now we look down upon her works as “mere” sentimental fiction. I can see that Montgomery would have been subject to the same forces as tastes changed over the years and ideas of what was “suitable” for different audiences changed. But I’ve always thought her works have a distinct dark streak and am always vaguely amused that people seem to overlook it when discussing her works. The Emily books are, I think, particularly bleak.

        I imagine that Montgomery did feel pressure, too, to conform to the idea of what a respectable woman/female author would do and be. She edited her journals for publication, no? So I’m sure she also wanted to present a certain image of herself in there. I wonder how much of what her journals contain is what she really thought and how much of her journals are her trying to shape her own legacy. It would be fascinating for her to leave a record of her dissatisfaction with the way her legacy was being written while she lived.

        I took note when The Blythes Are Quoted was first released years ago, but copies are hard to find. Actually, Montgomery’s works weren’t widely available on bookstore shelves for some years (aside from the Anne books). I’m glad Sourcebooks brought them back.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Jillian says:

          Yes, she did edit her journals! I think it’s FASCINATING that she clearly wanted people to realize she disagreed with the legacy being created for her. The journals aren’t all about that, of course. But that’s in there, and she obviously wanted it said. I find The Blythes Are Quoted FASCINATING because it’s clearly the final thought she wanted readers to have on her viewpoint. There’s an ENORMOUS dark streak in it. ENORMOUS.

          Yes, so hard to find though. I had to get my copy through my university’s interlibrary loan. It’s such a shame her works aren’t more widely loan. If you can ever get a copy of Blythes, I’d LOVE to know your thoughts. She basically contrasts her happy style in an anthology of stories with a dark subtext of reality in vignettes of the Blythe family as the years pass. It’s disturbing: she juxtaposes the light and merry with what can only be termed reality: the fact that war came and destroyed the Blythes, and merry Anne Shirley faded away. It’s divided into before the war, and after the war. She is clearly making a point.

          The Blythes Are Quoted was originally published as The Road To Yesterday. After her death, people picked through the stories, deleted all the vignettes, and published only some of the stories, in an order different from the one she intended. To the end they censored her. I hope this stuff is unearthed in the years to come, and she’s restored to the place she held in literature before the war.

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          • Jillian says:

            LOL, “more widely KNOWN,” I mean. I didn’t say the above well: I think in Blythes, she’s contrasting what she was told to write, with what she would have liked to say. The contrast is uncomfortable, and makes a really strong statement.

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            • Krysta says:

              Cool! I remember reading that the new book had material from The Road to Yesterday, which I have read, but I wasn’t sure how much was changed or how widely the books diverged from each other. It sounds like something I should definitely try to check out! I imagine it should be a little easier to find Montgomery’s books these days, with all the bookstore websites out there!

              Edit: I guess it’s available if you want to pay over $200….

              Like

    • Briana says:

      That’s an interesting point! I’ve read a couple biographies of her, but it was a while ago, so I admit I don’t remember the finer points. I did remember Mark Twain was a big fan though!

      I don’t think I have read The Blythes Are Quoted yet; at least, I don’t own a copy, so that’s a pretty good indication. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    I am familiar with Emily of New Moon and a few of these (maybe thanks to you). I am now thinking I have read some of the Emily series, but might have to crack one open to see! It has been many years. I hate admitting that haha.

    I was not familiar with the adult fiction. Pretty excited to discover these titles. Thank you ❤

    Like

  5. Jessica says:

    I read Emily of New Moon once I discovered it after falling for Anne back in elementary school. A few years back I picked up The Blue Castle on a whim and really enjoyed it! L.M. Montgomery just has a way with words and the worlds she creates. 😊

    Like

    • Briana says:

      In the back of my mind I always remember that I think Montgomery writes really, really beautifully, but every time I reread her books I’m still surprised and delighted by just how good her writing is!

      Like

  6. Paula Vince says:

    I agree with you, and own everything you’ve listed here 🙂 It still surprises me when outspoken Anne fans tell me they’ve read nothing else by LMM, or weren’t aware it existed. Some of them have even visited Prince Edward Island. Although I have to say, her short story collections turned out to be so extensive, I didn’t even have any idea how many there were until a few years ago.

    Like

    • Briana says:

      I don’t think I’ve met anyone who actually visited Prince Island and still didn’t know Montgomery wrote anything besides Anne! That’s pretty funny!

      Like

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