A distinct joy of the reading life is in making connections. Ah, we say, this is like that! This is true of unfamiliar words: we meet and greet; then that new friend appears at someone else’s party. Hey! we exclaim. I know you! It is true also of authors. We chortle—at least I do—when an author is referenced and, instead of shrugging in ignorance, we know that name. Oh joy! Montgomery writes of Dan King in The Story Girl “he had a new Henty book he wanted to finish.” Twenty years ago you wouldn’t’ve known Henty, I remind myself, smiling.
This summer as I’ve read through most of L.M. Montgomery’s fiction, I’ve been thinking about connections.
L.M. Montgomery writes much about the landscape: trees, orchards, the ocean, the light, the color. Two other authors write great descriptions of vastly different geographies. Gene Stratton Porter and Willa Cather.
Rainbow Valley, full of adventures of the Blythe kids and the Meredith kids reminds me of other books revolving around siblings: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Railway Children, and Meet the Austins.
I’ve been reading books set before the Great War (aka WWI); though I find it hard to articulate, there is something different in the flavor of daily life. A clear-eyed view of rustic simplicity is portrayed both in Maud’s books and in Lark Rise to Candleford.
Though Prince Edward Island is almost a character itself in Montgomery’s books, there is a Scotch Presbyterian element that makes me think of Scottish books, particularly O. Douglas’ Penny Plain.
Orphans? Oh, man. There are times, particularly with the Emily books, where the adults were so brutal they were positively Dickensian.
I don’t want to get too obscure (e.g. books set on islands: Anne of Green Gables was like Robinson Crusoe! — wink) but it has been fun to retrieve a few of the random thoughts that wandered around my head while I read through L.M. Montgomery’s books.