If you are like me, you grew up reading the Anne of Green Gables series and watching Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe fall in love in the movies with Megan Follows. I remember thinking Gilbert was so romantic and wanting to be like Anne when I grew up—intelligent, beautiful, and still having fun and getting into trouble.
When I was in college, a classmate of mine introduced me to The Blue Castle, another book by L.M. Montgomery that is not as well known. I enjoyed it so much, I gave it to my sister and my teenage niece to read, and they loved it too.
It is not the typical romance for that time period—the main protagonist is a 29-year-old spinster named Valancy who has never had a boyfriend or a marriage proposal in her life. She has resigned herself to a lifetime with her overprotective mother and an assortment of relatives who pride themselves on being proper. Then, Valancy is told she only has a year left to live. She realizes that if she only has a year left to live, she is going to enjoy herself and live it up. Valancy breaks all her family’s “proper” rules, and begins to live a life worth living filled with adventure, fun, and love.
For those of you who loved Anne Shirley, I believe you will also enjoy Valancy Stirling. For those of you who struggle with L.M. Montgomery’s older style of writing, The Blue Castle is not as dry or detail focused as some older novels. It is also light and playful, and a fast read. There is not any violence or sexual connotation to worry about; although if you do not like stories about people who thrive after disobeying their parents and elders, this might not be the book for you. Valancy’s family is quite comical in their dignified way, and I love watching Valancy and Barney’s relationship develop. This is a great story about finding yourself and living your own life, no matter how old you are.