Anne of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

Information

Goodreads: Anne of Ingleside
Series: Anne #6

Source: Library
Published: 1939

Summary

Now married with five (and soon to be six) children, Anne Blythe finds that life never has a dull moment. Nan and Di struggle to make friends in school, Jem desperately wants a dog who will love him, and Walter dreams and writes poetry.  And whenever they need advice?  It’s Mummy who understands best.  Anne may no longer live in her House of Dreams, but she’s more than contented where she is.

Review

Anne of Ingleside is a treat because, well, any book that brings us more of Anne, her family, and P.E.I. cannot help but be.  Still, even I, as an avid L. M. Montgomery fan, must admit that the book feels a little uneven.  It moves between focusing on Anne, her dreams, and her worries about her relationship with Gilbert to focusing the fancies and tragedies of her children.  Is it a book about a midlife crisis or a book about childhood?  It’s a little hard to tell.

If I am honest with myself, I did not fully enjoy the chapters focusing on Anne’s brood.  Rainbow Valley is the book for that.  The children’s struggles with making friends or keeping a pet alive felt out of place when juxtaposed with Anne’s struggle to remove Gilbert’s overbearing aunt from their household and her worries that her husband might not find her interesting or attractive anymore.  I wanted this to be Anne’s book.  I wanted to see how she would navigate middle-age.  If the chapters on her children had focused more on Anne’s response to them, I might have enjoyed them more and I might have felt the narrative less uneven.

Many reviewers have criticized the book for depicting Anne as a happy housewife. I have no problem with this.  To say that the book deserves a low rating because Anne only writes sometimes and prefers to take care of her family is to rate it 1) based on modern ideals of what a woman’s life “should” look like and 2) based on a personal feeling that having a career is more important than having a family.  To me, feminism means respecting the choices of women when they say they are doing what makes them happy and fulfilled.  If Anne is happy and fulfilled as a housewife, we should support her, not criticize her as not being feminist enough.  (And, if you want a Montgomery heroine who does put her writing career first, there is always the Emily of New Moon trilogy.)

Anne of Ingleside may, unfortunately, be the most lackluster of the Anne series.  It feels a little as if Montgomery’s heart were not in it.  Even a chapter in which the Ladies Aid gossips about the townsfolk feels somehow less ironic and witty than is Montgomery’s wont.  Still, any glimpse of Anne’s life is welcome to me.  I’m glad we get to see a little bit of it, even if the execution does not seem up to Montgomery’s usual standards.

Need more Montgomery?  Check out our infographic featuring some of her other books.


Today I’m joining in with the Anne of Green Gables series read-along hosted by Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf and Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku.  You can find the details here if you would like to read along, catch up with reading along, or join in with some of the bonus posts!

4 stars

9 thoughts on “Anne of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

  1. ofmariaantonia says:

    You’re right about Montgomery’s heart not being in this book. Her final book was supposed to be ‘Rilla of Ingleside’, published in 1921. She wrote in her journal: “I am done with Anne forever — I swear it as a dark and deadly vow.”

    So then, why do we have ‘Anne of Windy Poplars’ and ‘Anne of Ingleside’??

    I read recently that it was for financial reasons. She lost a lot during the stock market crash of 1929. She wrote the later Anne books because she knew they would sell.

    And I’ve noticed that both of these books, written after her “dark and deadly vow”, are my least favourite in the series. Because of what you identified as her heart not quite being in these books.

    Like

  2. Michelle 🌈 says:

    I haven’t read this one yet (I still need to read Anne’s House of Dreams first) but I’ve seen a lot of negative feelings towards the later books in this series. Glad to see that you still rated it four stars despite your shortcomings with it though 🙂 I’ve decided to take a short break from Anne, since I didn’t enjoy Windy Poplars as much as I enjoyed the first three books, but your review makes me want to continue Anne’s story again (even though this one doesn’t focus as much on Anne herself)

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Windy Poplars and Anne of Ingleside are actually my two least favorite books in the series. They feel less Anneish than the others somehow. But I think it is still worth finishing the series. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    *Hear hear* to this post- we should definitely respect individual women’s right to *choose* the life we want- that’s what equality and freedom means- though I haven’t got to this one yet, I completely agree with you about it being fine for Anne to be depicted in this way. Great review!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I never saw this comment! It must have been so sad and lonely!

      But it’s nice to hear someone agree with me for once. I don’t see why poor Anne should be criticized for leading the life she wants! Montgomery herself seems like a very pioneering kind of woman. She had a writing career herself, after all, and gives one to Emily Starr. I don’t think Anne’s choice is supposed to be some sort of message about the “proper place” of women. Just an acknowledgement that sometimes people’s life goals change–and that’s okay. After all, don’t most children dream of doing something big or becoming famous? But most of us don’t. That doesn’t mean our lives aren’t worthwhile.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theorangutanlibrarian says:

        No worries, I miss comments all the time 😉

        Yes exactly!! Completely agree! Real freedom is people making the choices they want to make and if that’s the direction Anne’s life ends up going, then I don’t think it’s fair to criticise. I don’t see it as a commentary of “what ought to be”, rather as “what is”- and in reality a lot of women do make this choice- and there’s nothing wrong with it (just as there’s nothing wrong with the opposite choice, obviously). And I love what you said about people’s dreams changing- because isn’t this true for everyone?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf says:

    This one was harder for me too. Some details were lovely, but others were harder to get excited about. I think you’re right on with your comment about Rainbow Valley being the book for stories of Anne’s children. So true!

    I also agree that I like Anne as a happy housewife. I think her goals and aspirations have simply changed as she has become a mother. I find that happening in my own life. Thanks for the #AnneReadAlong2017 shout out as well! 🙂

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I was sad that I didn’t connect too much to this installment of the Anne series. However, it’s comforting to know that there are still two excellent books to follow!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply! We'd love to read your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.