Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Blue Castle

I thought I was familiar with all of L.M. Montgomery's books, but somehow The Blue Castle escaped my notice until I read rave reviews about it in an online forum.  It was published in 1926, which was in the later period of her writing career and like so many of her novels, features the provincial Canadian busybodies that she drew so well.

I wish I'd had this edition

Instead I had this one

Valancy Jane Stirling is twenty-nine, unmarried, skinny, (in a time when it was a bad thing to be skinny) and homely.  She lives with her overbearing mother and insufferable elderly cousin and is treated like a child that they're ashamed of.  One day, Valancy experiences one of those sudden, life-changing moments, and as a result begins to stand up for herself against her family.

This is not Montgomery's best work.  Valency is no Anne, and the busybody characters are not as deliciously comic as Mrs. Rachel Lynde.  Even so, it is satisfying to read about someone who has suddenly decided that she doesn't give a fuck, and acts accordingly.  There's a vicarious thrill in reading The Blue Castle, it's a light read that you'll finish in just a few days, and cheap, used paperback versions abound.  My little copy of this book spent the summer in Switzerland with Brigid, and later went to Ireland with me.  That's a lot of travel for a one-penny Amazon special.  Highly recommended for L. M. Montgomery fans.


  1. I remember trying to read other LM Montgomery books a while back and being sorely disappointed they weren't Anne. Maybe I'll go back and try again.

  2. I was lukewarm on the Emily of New Moon books, so I'm passing on this one.