Title: Anne of Green Gables Series
Author: L. M. Montgomery
Series: Anne of Green Gables
Major Themes: Canada, Prince Edward Island, World War I
Synopsis: A very popular series of books for girls, but please be sure to read the warning for this one.
I discovered the Anne books when I was in my teens, first getting them from the library and then buying the boxed set of the whole series. I loved them and read the whole series a couple of times. Truly a timeless story, these books will appeal to nearly any girl. However, please read the warning for this series.
Book #1: Anne of Green Gables: In this first book in the series, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a brother and sister who run the family farm in Prince Edward Island together and neither of whom has ever married, decide they need a boy to help them out and eventually take over the farm. They ask a woman who is going to Nova Scotia to adopt a girl from the orphanage to bring back a boy for them. What should they do when the message gets muddled up and she brings, not a boy, but a red-headed girl who talks a mile a minute and uses big words all the time?
Book #2: Anne of Avonlea: Anne has decided to stay home and help Marilla when the latter is threatened with blindness. Anne will be teaching at the local Avonlea school. As usual, nothing is boring when Anne is around! A new neighbor has moved to the area, and Anne promptly and inadvertantly sells the man’s cow to someone else. Then, she and Marilla make the decision that they should take in the twin children of a third cousin’s wife when the children’s mother dies—and the little boy, Davy is a holy terror. Between caring for the twins, teaching school, and learning to know new friends, Anne’s two years as a country school teacher fly past.
Book #3: Anne of the Island: Anne is now going to college. She has to leave her beloved Prince Edward Island for the first time since her arrival as a lonely unwanted orphan. Boarding with a dear friend makes the transition easier, however, as does the fact that Gilbert Blythe is also going to Redmond. New friends and Roy, the tall, dark-haired man of her dreams, fill the next four years. When Roy proposes to Anne, however, what will she decide? And what of Gilbert, who seems to still want to be with her, even though she has repeatedly snubbed him?
Book #4: Anne of Windy Poplars: Anne is teaching school and acting as principal for three years while Gilbert goes through medical school. A lot of the book is made up of letters from Anne to Gilbert, describing the funny and difficult experiences she has. Since Anne can’t write love letters when her pen is scratchy . . . or sharp . . . or stub . . . or rusty, she rarely writes a love letter, and when her pen is just write the letters are deleted from this collection! Therefore, we are treated to descriptions of the fascinating and annoying people that make up Summerside, Prince Edward Island.
Book #5: Anne’s House of Dreams: Anne has finished her career as a school teacher and gleefully packed away her school books, including Euclid’s Geometry, which she hopes she has seen the last of. Now she can turn her attention to preparing for her wedding, which is the first that has ever happened at Green Gables! After the wedding, Anne and Gilbert go at once to their little house of dreams, the tiny cottage Gilbert has rented in the area in which he expects to begin practicing medicine to spend their honeymoon.
Book #6: Anne of Ingleside: Anne has now been married for nine years and has five children, Jem, Walter, Di, Nan, and Shirley. Soon her sixth baby, Rilla, is born, amid grave concern for Anne’s health and safety. Because of these concerns, the older four children are sent away to stay with friends for a few weeks. Walter ends up walking home alone at night because he is so worried about his mother, but she is able to put everything right for him again—as she always does. The next few years are growing years for the family. Anne revels in being a mother to her six busy children and wife of a busy doctor. She is also quite involved in her community, helping people who need help as well as people she thinks need a nudge. The children have many adventures, and Di especially has challenges with friends. Anne of Ingleside is a delightful picture of a happy wife and mother.
Book #7: Rainbow Valley is a little different from the preceding Anne books. In the beginning of the story, Anne has just arrived home from several months in Europe with Gilbert, and now she is catching up on all the gossip around the Glen with Susan, her housekeeper, and Miss Cornelia. They inform her that they have a new minister. Mr. Meredith is a widower with four children, and seems not to notice all the shenanigans that his children get into. Anne is inclined to be quite charitable when the children get into scrapes; she was just as unthinking when she was a child. The manse children are soon good friends with Anne’s children, as they live so close together. Will Mr. Meredith ever really wake up and see what his children need? When he does fall in love with a woman who would make a wonderful mother for his children, will she agree to marry him?
Book #8: Rilla of Ingleside: In this last book in the Anne series, her youngest child, Rilla, is the main character. Rilla is almost 16 when the story begins, and anticipating several years of carefree fun ahead. She has talked her parents into letting her attend her first dance, and is thrilled when the young man she most admires singles her out for special attention. But then, shocking news reaches the crowd of young people at the dance—England has declared war on Germany and Canada, as part of Britain, is at war as well. The next four years, as World War I is fought, are years of tragedy and trial as one young man after another goes to fight in Europe and some will never come back.
WARNING: There is a very minimal amount of bad language in one or two of the books, and romance in several. Please consider this warning from a friend of ours: I loved the “Anne” books when I was growing up. But I would like to issue a warning. They are very humanistic! They give you the feeling you can live a wonderful life with out having Jesus as the center of your life. The author also had an inclination towards the occult. I would really seek the Lord feel a clear leading that He had a purpose for reading them or allowing my children to read them. They really appeal to the flesh but if you are trying to live “in the light of eternity” I’m not sure they should be part of your life.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults