Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Blue Castle

'If it had not rained on a certain May morning Valancy Stirling's whole life would have been entirely different. She would have gone, with the rest of her clan, to Aunt Wellington's engagement picnic and Dr. Trent would have gone to Montreal. But it did rain and you shall hear what happened to her because of it.'
The first paragraph of The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

I read this book as my choice for a book with a color in the title for Annie's What's In A Name challenge .
I have read and completely enjoyed L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series and have also seen several comments from fellow bloggers that The Blue Castle was their favorite book by this author, so off to Amazon I went... Boy, was I not disappointed! What a wonderful, charming read.

The book opens on Valancy Stirlings 29th birthday, with the realization that she is now officially considered an old maid, that love has passed her by. Valancy lives in the family home with her very strict, proper and oppressive family. She has been stifled her entire life, never let to live and feel, always held up to the standards of her beautiful cousin, Olive. Valancy takes refuge in her daydreams of her Blue Castle and her much loved books by author John Foster, much to her Mother's dismay. On this fateful rainy day, Valancy decides to visit Dr. Trent, without her families knowledge, to find the cause of her "heart attacks" she has been experiencing. The Doctor gets a message during Valancy's exam and rushes out without finishing with her, only to send her a letter later telling her that her condition is serious and she only has a year to live. Valancy takes the news in stride, not telling her family, but deciding to live how she wants to for her remaining time. She moves in with Roaring Abel Gay, the town drunk, to care for his sick daughter after telling her family what she thinks of their stodgy ways. They, of course, think they she has gone completely mad and write her off as a lunatic. While at the Gays, Valancy becomes friends with Barney Snaif, a man who lives alone on an island and doesn't socialize with the townspeople. Because nobody really knows him, the stories circulate about Barney; he is a criminal; he is a drunk; he is this and that, and certainly not fit to be associated with. Valancy falls in love with Barney and finds that her life is so much more than she ever imagined it could be.

Each and every page in this novel is charming and wonderful. A feel good read, and yes, I would have to agree, my favorite L.M. Montgomery novel. I laughed and cried right up to the end. Delightful!


Blogger Joy said...

Oh! I'm listening to Anne of Green Gables now. Glad to know she's got more "good stuff". :)

5:33 AM  
Blogger Chain Reader said...

You've sold me on this one! I had never even heard of it, but it sounds great.

7:24 AM  
Blogger raidergirl3 said...

There is a musical Blue Castle that has been performed in PEI and it is marvelous. I saw it years ago, and it was revived this year, but I didn't get back, unfortunately. Glad you liked the book. Dear Valency. The repressed part of her life represents LM herself, but she never broke out, she stayed and did the 'right thing'.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Booklogged said...

I thought I had read this many years ago, but as I read your review I couldn't remember anything. It must have been something else. This is my sister-in-laws favorite book. Guess I need to try it again, I mean for the first time.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

I love the writings of L.M. Montgomerey. She was from PEI and one day I'd like to go and see the house that she wrote about in Anne of Green Gables. Visitors flock to the site every year.

I've just finished my first book in the Back to History Reading Challenge and it was great. I've posted a review on my blog.


6:55 PM  

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