My sister and I have always held that this is the perfect time of year to be reading a Lucy Maud Montgomery book. No matter how many times they’ve been read and re-read—the condition of my beloved paperbacks is quite appalling!—there is just something about September that seems to evoke a mood sufficiently wistful to fully savor the beauty of her books.

I have only to think of them and the precious friends they gave me, Emily, Pat, Kilmeny, and, of course, the immortal Anne, to feel enlivened with lovely ideas. But to fall into one of them: to settle down amongst the orchards and hill fields that Lucy Maud brought to life before us, to amble along Lover’s Lane with Anne wrapped in a reverie, or to see the home lights of Silver Bush winking out comfortably in an autumn night—this is pure bliss. For me it’s good medicine, like a heart-to-heart talk with a beloved companion. And trusty companions these books have surely proved themselves to be, in my girlhood and in my womanhood alike. They gave me a vision long ago of what a beauty-filled life could look like in a completely ordinary setting, and for that I will be eternally grateful. And whenever I need reinforcement, it’s never farther away than the second shelf from the bottom of my bookcase.

Our summer was over. It had been a beautiful one. We had known the sweetness of common joys, the delight of dawns, the dream and glamour of noontides, the long, purple peace of carefree nights. We had had the pleasure of bird song, of silver rain on greening fields, of storm among the trees, of blossoming meadows, and of the converse of whispering leaves. We had had brotherhood with wind and star, with books and tales, and hearth fires of autumn. Ours had been the little, loving tasks of every day, blithe companionship, shared thoughts, and adventuring. Rich were we in the memory of those opulent months that had gone from us–richer than we then knew or suspected. And before us was the dream of spring. It is always safe to dream of spring. For it is sure to come; and if it be not just as we have pictured it, it will be infinitely sweeter. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Story Girl

17 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    The only Lucy Maud Montgomery book I have read is Jane of Lantern Hill, and I enjoyed it immensely.

  2. Thank you for your list, now I am excited I love Anne and Avonlea.

  3. une_fille_d'Ève says:

    Angie,
    I can understand frustration with the perfection of the main characters. Fiction’s greatest strength and biggest imperfection I think are one and the same – it just isn’t real. It’s beautiful, different from our normal world, and that’s what draws us into it. It’s a haven to go when our world becomes monotonous or dreary. That’s the problem with it, one that I’ve fallen into over and over again- reading can really make one discontented with one’s own life! And this has been true with fiction and even non-fiction, reading books about nearly perfect missionaries who are so heroic. I just usually can’t find much incommon with myself and them, so I then start dwelling on my faults and imperfections.
    Even though I LOVE Anne, I also understand what you meant. I think it quite possible that many people who love Anne or the Story Girl on paper wouldn’t like either so much in real life. Were she among our circle of friends, she would steal light away from us, and our self-centered, sinful nature just wouldn’t like that!

  4. une_fille_d'Ève says:

    Angie,
    I can understand frustration with the perfection of the main characters. Fiction’s greatest strength and biggest imperfection I think are one and the same – it just isn’t real. It’s beautiful, different from our normal world, and that’s what draws us into it. It’s a haven to go when our world becomes monotonous or dreary. That’s the problem with it, one that I’ve fallen into over and over again- reading can really make one discontented with one’s own life! And this has been true with fiction and even non-fiction, reading books about nearly perfect missionaries who are so heroic. I just usually can’t find much incommon with myself and them, so I then start dwelling on my faults and imperfections.
    Even though I LOVE Anne, I also understand what you meant. I think it quite possible that many people who love Anne or the Story Girl on paper wouldn’t like either so much in real life. Were she among our circle of friends, she would steal light away from us, and our self-centered, sinful nature just wouldn’t like that!

  5. une_fille_d'Ève says:

    Angie,
    I can understand frustration with the perfection of the main characters. Fiction’s greatest strength and biggest imperfection I think are one and the same – it just isn’t real. It’s beautiful, different from our normal world, and that’s what draws us into it. It’s a haven to go when our world becomes monotonous or dreary. That’s the problem with it, one that I’ve fallen into over and over again- reading can really make one discontented with one’s own life! And this has been true with fiction and even non-fiction, reading books about nearly perfect missionaries who are so heroic. I just usually can’t find much incommon with myself and them, so I then start dwelling on my faults and imperfections.
    Even though I LOVE Anne, I also understand what you meant. I think it quite possible that many people who love Anne or the Story Girl on paper wouldn’t like either so much in real life. Were she among our circle of friends, she would steal light away from us, and our self-centered, sinful nature just wouldn’t like that!

  6. Lanier, I thought your post was beautiful.
    I apologize if my earlier comment seemed rather rude. I am afraid that I made it sound like I dislike LMM’s books. I had been talking to my Mom just the other day about how Anne made me feel inferior and so I was just curious if anyone else felt the same way.
    I didn’t care much for the Emily books, either. But my favorites are Rilla of Ingleside and Anne’s House of Dreams.

  7. To expound on the answer to the “What other books did L.M.M. write?” question…

    There are eight Anne books:
    Anne of Green Gables
    Anne of Avonlea
    Anne of the Island
    Anne of Windy Poplars
    Anne’s House of Dreams
    Anne of Ingleside
    Rainbow Valley
    Rilla of Ingleside

    Then there are (the ones in groups “go” together, i.e. the second one is a sequel to the first one)…

    The Story Girl
    The Golden Road

    Pat of Silver Bush
    Mistress Pat

    The Blue Castle

    Kilmeny of the Orchard

    Magic for Marigold

    Jane of Lantern Hill

    A Tangled Web

    The Emily books were mentioned and while I don’t particularly like those because I think they’re a bit more “new-Age-y” than L.M.M.’s other works, they are…
    Emily of New Moon
    Emily Climbs
    Emily’s Quest

    Then, as has been mentioned, there are several books of short stories by L.M.M. and some of the titles of those books are…
    Chronicles of Avonlea
    Further Chronicles of Avonlea
    After Many Days
    Akin to Anne
    Along the Shore
    Among the Shadows
    The Road to Yesterday
    The Doctor’s Sweetheart and Other Stories

    Except for most of the short stories books, I’ve read all the books listed and, with the exception of the Emily books, I would very much recommend them all, especially the Anne books (obviously!), The Story Girl, The Golden Road, The Blue Castle, Kilmeny of the Orchard

    Anyway…that’s probably much more info than you all wanted…but I hope it helps some!

  8. Kelly,

    Lucy Maude Montgomery wrote many books besides the 7 (or is it 8?) Anne books. She wrote 3 about Emily of New Moon, a couple about Pat of Silverbush, someone else mentioned Jane of Lantern Hill. I also know that she wrote several books with short stories in them. I have a way of finding other books by authors whose books I enjoy. I go to amazon.com and look up the author’s name. I have found tons of great books this way.

    I was wondering, does anyone else get frustrated with LMM’s main characters? I am like Diana, rather stupid with no imagination and I get tired of the adoration of those imaginative, perfect girls, who can always say something meaningful or beautiful.

  9. Anonymous says:

    funky,
    I have just been reading LMM books myself.
    How neat to get on your site today and read this now.
    Thanks!

  10. Oh I love that last line about spring… truly it is such a sweet season of the year. What a refreshing post! Thank you 🙂

  11. Your post gave me shivers :). L.M. Montgomery always does that to me. I really need to have a good long visit with my dear Anne books, or Pat :). I’ve been ignoring them recently in search of new “friends.” Thanks for the reminder :).

  12. I think the slow fading of summer, as the leaves begin to change color and we slip into fall, makes me want to curl up under a big quilt and pay a visit to all the kindred spirits waiting within the pages of these books (the Anne series is my personal favorite). There’s something so wholesome and candid and dear about L.M. Montgomery’s writing!

  13. It *is* the LMM time of year. I just finished reading Emily again and now it’s on to my beloved Pat…with maybe a little bit of Jane of Lantern Hill for good measure. 🙂

  14. What other books did Lucy Montgomery write? And are they as good as Anne of Green Gables?

  15. I agree, it is the season to revisit the fun and adventure of Anne of Green Gables. But what other books did Lucy Montgomery write? I am only familiar with the Green Gables movies.

  16. Oh…exactly! I agree entirely with all you said on this delicious subject…I always feel so refreshed after a dose of L.M.M.!

  17. Sarah A. R. says:

    I’m currently reading the selected journals of L. M. and quite enjoying them! Not that I doubted I would. 🙂 I definitely recommend them to anyone who enjoys Montgomery’s works and/or historical documents.

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