Which L. M. Montgomery Book Should You Read Next? (Flow Chart)

Introduction

Are you wondering which book to read after Anne of Green Gables?  Fortunately, L. M. Montgomery was a prolific writer and has many novels to choose from (as well as several short story collections).  If you don’t know where to start, check out our handy guide to selecting your next Montgomery read as well as some of our past reviews.

Your Guide

 

Reviews

The Anne Books

The Emily Trilogy

The Pat Books

Standalones

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.

Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane

INFORMATION

Goodreads: Maud
Series: None
Source: Gift
Published: April 2017

SUMMARY

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery dreams of attending college and becoming a writer, but her grandfather does not believe in higher education for women.  Worse, when she finally goes out west to be with her father again, her new stepmother treats her as nothing more than a nanny.  Will Maud ever find a way to follow her dreams?  Or will she grow old feeling that her world has grown increasingly smaller?

Review

Fans of Anne of Green Gables, rejoice!  If you have ever wished to find a similar book and have already read and reread all of L. M. Montgomery’s other titles, this might just be the book for you.  Based on Montgomery’s journals and letters, Maud recounts the author’s teen years on P.E.I. and in Prince Albert.  Maud is a little bit of Anne and little bit of Emily, combining a love for life and beauty with a desire to overcome the odds.  But Maud is, most importantly, ultimately herself–and you are sure to fall in love.

The early parts of the book most resemble Montgomery’s novels, which can make it feel at times like the author and the reader are playing a game of “spot the allusion” together.  Perhaps this is understandable, however.  Montgomery’s stories sprang from her own life and her own feelings of loneliness, frustration, and despair–as well as the moments of deep joy– certainly made their way into her heroines’ journeys.   Maud’s tale is, however, a little darker than those of her young female protagonists, and readers will find themselves sympathizing with her as her world shrinks and her hopes diminish.  Knowing how history turns out does not make the journey less moving.

The pacing of the story does feel a little uneven, with Maud’s years in P.E.I. and her blossoming romance with a certain handsome someone cut abruptly short at the end of Book One.  Book Two, which chronicles Maud’s years with her stepmother and her father in Prince Albert, takes up the bulk of the story.  This is where much of the drama is, as Maud tries to hone her writing skills even as her stepmother tries to keep her from school so she can play nanny to her stepmother’s children.  However, Book One offers many delightful friendships, quiet and reflective moments, and cherished time spent on the Island.  Fishbane could have made Books One and Two roughly equal in size to keep the narrative pacing consistent.

Overall, however, Maud is a charming tale of a young woman growing up, discovering herself, and chasing her dreams.  Fans of Montgomery’s works will love it, but, with its compelling protagonist and sweet romances, fans of YA will find much to enjoy in it, as well.

4 stars

Classic Remarks: L.M. Montgomery Recommendations Beyond Anne of Green Gables

Classic Remarks

Classic Remarks is a meme 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. We look forward to seeing your responses!


Tell us about your favorite L. M. Montgomery work, aside from any of the Anne of Green Gables books.

Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat

I love just about every book L. M. Montgomery has written, but I have always had a special place in my heart for Pat of Silver Bush and its sequel Mistress Pat.

Anne Shirley is famously imaginative and garrulous. Emily Star (from the Emily of New Moon series) has a reputation for being a bit odd; she has “flashes” and borders on interacting with the supernatural.  Pat Gardiner, in comparison, is one of Montgomery’s more “average” heroines–and I love it.   She’s quiet and fond of her home and her cats and somewhat adverse to change.  In short, she sounds like someone I might actually know.  And someone whom I would like if I did.

Montgomery can’t help but add some of her romantic touches, however.  Housekeeper Judy is Irish and firmly believes in fairies and the wee folk, and she’ll probably make you believe a little bit, too.  And then there’s the romance. I talked about why Jingle is one of my favorite Montgomery heroes in a previous Classic Remarks, so I won’t rehash it at length.  However, he’s friendly and earnest and kind and all the great things a strong love interest should be.  And he has an adorable dog.

Pat is sometimes overlooked because she’s quieter than Anne, but she is definitely worth knowing.

If you are participating this week, please leave us your link in the comments!

Briana

Classic Remarks: Who Is Your Favorite L. M. Montgomery Hero?

Classic Remarks

Classic Remarks is a 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:

Who is your favorite L. M. Montgomery hero?

Pat of Silver Bush

While I have a soft spot in my heart for Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables (Who doesn’t, really?), my favorite L. M. Montgomery is actually Hilary (Jingle) Gordon from Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat.  While Gilbert obviously matures over the course of the Anne series, he starts out fiery and as an admittedly annoying school boy.  Jingle is level-headed and kind from the start.  He’s always looking out for Pat’s best interests and is willing to wait for her to see if their friendship should be something more.  He respects her love for her home and her discomfort with change but is willing to have dreams and work to share them with her.  So while Jingle isn’t the flashiest or most passionate of Montgomery’s heros, he’s reliable, responsible, intelligent, and big-hearted. He also has an adorable dog.

Honorable mentions (after Gilbert) may go to Barney Snaith from The Blue Castle.  He’s wild and a bit snarky, so maybe not personally my type, but I love reading about him.  He’s interesting and also kind-hearted; he just hides it a lot better than many of Montgomery’s other heroes, but he doesn’t care what the gossipy people around town think. He just does what he thinks is right and pursues the kind of live he wants to live, which I think I can respect.

Dishonorable mentions to Teddy from the Emily of New Moon series, though I won’t get into spoilers.

Are you participating in Classic Remarks this week? Link us to your posts in the comments!  You can also take our quiz to find out which L. M. Montgomery hero should be yours.

Briana

Along the Shore by L. M. Montgomery

along-the-shoreINFORMATION

Goodreads: Along the Shore
Series: None
Source: Purchased
Published: 1989

SUMMARY

This volume presents sixteen previously unknown short stories written by L. M. Montgomery, best-known for Anne of Green Gables, and collected by Rea Wilmshurst.  Though each one is centered around the sea, they span in content from romance to humor to tragedy.

Review

Though I appreciate Wilmshurt’s work in collecting previously unknown work, I admit that I find her editorial choices a little strange.  She presents various collections of Montgomery’s work by gathering tales with similar themes– the sea, the supernatural, orphans, correspondence–and publishing them all together in the same volume.  (Along the Shore, of course, is all about the sea.)  The sixteen short stories in Along the Shore are already a little repetitive because they contain characters, events, and entire chunks of narration and dialogue that can also be found in books such as Emily of New Moon, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of Ingleside.   But because they are all centered around the same oceanic theme, they also repeat themselves within the same volume.  Tales of characters about to be caught by the tide or saved by dogs occur  more than once within the collection making it seem, if not predictable (Montgomery’s work is already arguably predictable and does the stories no harm), at least a little tiresome. One wishes for variety.

If one overlooks Wilmshurst’s editorial choices and considers only the short stories, it is clear that Montgomery brings to them the same wit and sensitivity that have endeared her to readers of her novels.  They vary from tragic romances to happy romances, tales of brave children to tales of brave dogs.  Notable among them are the courtship of a woman and a man who can never meet face-to-face, thanks to the woman’s man-hating aunt;  a minster’s love for a woman who has never been to church; and the inadvertent betrayal of two friends who fall in love with each other’s beaux.  Even when the stories are tragic, they often contain a hint of the humorous or at least of the ironic.

Any L. M. Montgomery fan will surely love this collection, but it also has appeal for those who simply enjoy a good short story.  These are the kinds of short stories that wrap up right, giving one a sense of closure, even if the ending is sad.  No nebulous, modern endings that simply off the tale and call it “mysterious” here.  Every tale feels like a precious gem, carefully wrapped up and gifted to the reader.  Montgomery wants her readers to enjoy these tales, to be moved by them, to live them.  She doesn’t do you the discourtesy of ending a good tale that has only just begun.

*Content Note: The final story contains an offensive use of the n-word.

4 starsKrysta 64

Classic Remarks: What Would You Do in Anne of Green Gables?

Classic Remarks

Classic Remarks is a meme 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.  The schedule for 2017 is available now, if you would like to participate. We look forward to seeing your responses!


You’ve been dropped into L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

What do you do first?

Anne of Green Gables

Although I love the characters L.M. Montgomery creates in the Anne series, I am also enchanted by her portrayal of Prince Edward Island. I know that life on the Island may not have entirely been idyllic in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  (Anne’s chores are sometimes noticeably glossed over in the books, unless she’s having a mishap baking cakes or such.) However, Montgomery still makes the Island sound like one of the most beautiful places on earth, and if I were plunked directly into Anne of Green Gables, I would start exploring it.

Anne is enraptured by the red soil and the beautiful flowering trees when she first heads to Green Gables with Matthew, so I like I’d like to start there, traveling down the White Way of Delight. I’d move on to see all the beautiful places where Anne spends her girlhood, from the Lake of Shining  Waters to the Dryad’s Bubble to Lover’s Lane.  I think walking around Anne’s haunts would be a well-spent day.

If I had more time in Avonlea, I’d love to see what events were happening.  Entertainment in the past seems so much different than our own today.  (People really went to recitals to hear children recite great poems of literature?) However, it also sounds charming. I think I’d enjoy going to a school concert or a church picnic, or whatever was happening that week, and hopefully there would be delicious homemade desserts!

If you are participating this week, please leave the link to your post in the comments.

Briana

Movie Review: Anne of Green Gables (2016)

anne-2016Following the 1985 Anne of Green Gables mini series (starring Megan Follows) was always going to be difficult for this new film version.  Still, Anne’s story continues to delight readers and it seems that, over 30 years later, we might be due for a new interpretation.  Even after reading the summary (which states that the film ends–instead of beginning with– the decision to keep Anne) I thought I would give it a chance.  But this is one of the most painful films I have ever watched.

Presumably casual viewers might not find this film as awful as I did.  But, being a lifelong fan of Anne of Green Gables, I almost gave up seven minutes in. (Spoilers for the film and the book follow for the rest of the review.) The film opens with a dismal train scene.  It’s dark, the passengers are off-putting, and Anne is remembering her past abuse.  I actually appreciate that the film does not gloss over Anne’s sad past, but the dark colors seem wrong for the film.  The makers must have agreed as the film abruptly cuts off to green grass and a sweeping view of the sea.  The grittiness is over, aside from a few more flashbacks to past abuse.  The vibrant tone of the majority of the film makes it seem like a completely different film has been slapped onto the start.

After the train scene, we switch to Matthew Cuthbert, seen chasing a pig while yelling.  I repeat: Matthew Cuthbert is yelling.  He then falls into a mud puddle for laughs.  Even if we ignore that this a cliche joke and not very funny anyway, it’s hard to accept a film that uses shy, awkward, and endearing Matthew Cuthbert for physical humor.  He then yells at Marilla, yells an almost flirtatious greeting to Mrs. Rachel (“I doozy up pretty good, don’t you think?”), and has a normal conversation with Anne.  We also find out later that this Matthew actually went a-courting in the past, but he was too poor for anyone to have him.  The character resembles Matthew Cuthbert so little that the film should probably have given him a different name.

The film improves a little from here, but perhaps the experience is still far from pleasant.  Anne’s actress is unconvincing.  The actor who plays Gilbert has slicked back hair and almost comes across as smarmy.  Worse of all (for book fans), the Anne/Gilbert subplot is almost nonexistent, presumably because only about half the book is adapted.  It’s admittedly difficult to play up the Anne/Gilbert controversy without a way to resolve it at the end, since this Anne does not age into a young woman.  Still the film nods to a possible reconciliation when Gilbert hands Anne a decoration for the school and she smiles.  That’s the last we see of Gilbert and it’s unclear how Anne feels about him or why she seems to have softened towards him since the infamous “Carrots” incident.  Gilbert receives so little attention from the film that his character might as well have been cut.

The film condenses a lot of the action to ensure a short viewing time.  This means that  plot points like the loss of Marilla’s brooch, Anne’s desire to leave school, and Anne’s separation from Diana are resolved almost immediately.  But through such condensation leaves a little extra room, the film does not use the extra time to fit in the iconic scenes like Anne’s fall off the roof, her hair dye experiment, or Anne’s rescue on the lake.  Instead the film adds a different lake scene–Anne walks on a frozen lake and then falls in when the ice cracks (another overused plot point, I might add).  She then screams relentlessly for help, chastising Matthew for not being faster because she’s soooo cold and who cares if the man is doing his best and can’t go faster unless he wants to fall in, too?  So instead of being treated to favorite moments from the book, viewers are subjected to a whiny Anne in a cliche scenario.

Then we have to consider that the premise of the entire film is a bit ridiculous.  Marilla and Matthew are going to keep Anne for a year and then just send her away?  They’re going to make her love their home and her life and then as soon as they can clean their hands of her, just pretend her feelings (and theirs)  don’t matter? (Note that this Marilla has been giving Anne soft looks since the start and clearly loves her, but we’re supposed to buy that she’s willing to let go of Anne at the end.)  It’s a strange plan.  It also fundamentally changes Matthew’s character since he’s supposed to be startling everyone by firmly refusing to let go of Anne.  Here he doesn’t do anything.  Anne can stay, Anne can leave.  Whatever.  Matthew will do what Marilla says.  It doesn’t really make you want to connect with either Matthew or Marilla on an emotional level.

Finally, many of the decisions of the film just do not make any sense.  For instance, the  film repeatedly shows us that Matthew has heart trouble in foreshadowing.  But Matthew doesn’t die in this version.  So he’s just randomly having heart trouble and I guess…it’s…part of his character?  It doesn’t seem to affect him much except in random scenes.  Yes, we all always wanted a story where Matthew lives, but in that case, cut the scenes of him having spells.  In another scene, we learn that Marilla once was courted but her mother did not approve.  This change ruins the parallels between Anne’s relationship with Gilbert and Marilla’s relationship with Gilbert’s father.  But I suppose since Gilbert’s barely a character in this story, the creators did not think it mattered.  Which also raises the question of why we needed such a line in the first place.  Presumably it’s meant to humanize Marilla, but this Marilla is a big ole softy anyway.

When I think back on what I liked about this film, I liked most of the music (though it was often used in a rather heavy-handed manner to indicate that a mood change is happening!).  And Julie LaLonde gives a fair performance as Diana, who is not so dull in this version but shares excitedly in Anne’s flights of fancy.  Other than that, well….  If you’re an Anne fan, I would recommend returning to the 1985 mini series.  That one never disappoints.

1 starKrysta 64

Anne’s House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery

Anne's House of DreamsINFORMATION

Goodreads: Anne’s House of Dreams
Series: Anne #5
Source: Library
Published: 1917

SUMMARY

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.

REVIEW

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.

5 starsKrysta 64

Emily’s Quest by L. M. Montgomery

Emily's QuestINFORMATION

Goodreads: Emily’s Quest
Series: Emily #3
Source: Library
Published: 1927

SUMMARY

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?

Review

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.

5 starsKrysta 64