Book Review: The Landscapes Of Anne Of Green Gables

The Landscapes Of Anne Of Green Gables:  The Enchanting Island That Inspired L.M. Montgomery, by Catherine Reid

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Net Gallery.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

I consider myself at least a mild fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery and of her writings [1], for like her and like many of her characters I am a high-strung and sensitive person who feels compelled to write, has a deep appreciation of creation, and comes off to others as far more optimistic than I feel inside.  In short, I found this book deeply relatable and wanted to read it on those grounds.  Having read it, I must say that the book ends up being far better than I expected it to be, and I had high hopes and expectations going into it.  A big part of the reason for that is that the landscapes that the author talks about are multi-layered.  I knew, going into this book, that it would have beautiful landscapes of Prince Edward Island, just from the context I brought with me being familiar with Montgomery’s life and writings, but I was not aware that the author would talk about other landscapes as well, including the landscapes of time and the interior landscapes of creativity and inspiration.  All of this made a great book even better.

In terms of its contents, this book is about 300 pages but it can be read profitably and well more easily than others of its size because of a great many gorgeous pictures that will make this book a treasured volume on coffee tables and in bookshelves for a great many people for a long time to come.  The book is organized in a way that puts its gorgeous photos and the author’s text in the best light, being divided into thematically organized chapters that discuss such matters as an introduction to Prince Edward Island and its history, the interconnected lives of Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery as kindred orphans, the loveliness of Prince Edward Island during Montgomery’s time and our own, the poetic imagination of both Montgomery and her protagonists, the beautiful gardens of Montgomery’s imagination and life, the seasons of life on Prince Edward Island, and the life of a writer.  There is a great deal in these materials that is personally relevant and that will likely be relevant to many of this book’s readers, whether or not they have visited PEI.  If this book wasn’t supported by the tourism board of that lovely island province, it needs to be soon.

There are many ways that you could like this book.  You could be a fan of Anne of Green Gables or the other writings of Lucy Maud Montgomery, and be interested in knowing more about her writings and the land that inspired them.  You could be a fan of Prince Edward Island and its natural beauty as well as its unusual history that has led to much of that beauty being preserved even in the face of tourism and the proliferation of golf courses.  You could be a fan of the relationship between the beauty of creation and its influence on the artistic creation of writers.  You could be a fan of nature photography or beautiful book art, or any number of related subjects, and there would be much to enjoy in this book.  This book combines the immense beauty of Prince Edward Island as well as the writing of Lucy Maud Montgomery with the immense tragedy of a life marked by powerful depression and immense difficulty, and the lasting nature of the beauty of the land as well as the writing that was related to a life that in many ways deeply resembles my own.  After all, Montgomery was a sensitive and high-strung person with a marked tendency towards melancholy who channeled her intense passions and the difficulties of her life into writing which has served the world far more than it served her personally.  This book is a worthy and gorgeous testament to that reality.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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