I love all things Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables! Which is why I was absolutely thrilled when I saw this book.
I am impressed by this series (Extraordinary Canadians) published by Penguin Books - taking a well known Canadian personality and having another well known personality write a book, based on their views of this person and their work. This is a very clever idea and I certainly think that, in this case, it produced a great book.
Author Jane Urquhart, who I have never read, but have certainly heard about, had the opportunity of reading about Lucy Maud Montgomery and writing about her impressions and views on the life and times of this wonderful Canadian author.
My first impression is that it is obvious that Urquhart respects and enjoys Maud's books. This comes through clearly in her writings and it is always interesting to me to read about one author's "take" on another author - especially since Maud was certainly a huge influence on many female authors.
Jane actually also explored Maud as a woman, mother and wife - which, to me, are areas that were solely missing in the past. While there are many, many books out there, analyzing every word written by LMM, precious few explore her as a human being and Urquhart did a wonderful job of this.
Of course, one of the main sources of reference are the many, many journals that LMM wrote throughout her life and were left to her son to publish upon her death. Jane quickly points out that LMM always knew that her journals would be published and therefore probably amended and tweeked her entries into the journals accordingly - which I always felt was a huge flaw in discovering the "real" LMM - I often wished that LMM would NOT have "altered" her journals at all - but considering how vain LMM appeared to be (and this has been documented quite a few times through various sources) I suppose we could not expect these journals to be 100% genuine - showing the good, the bad and the ugly.
However, having said that, I must say that Urquhart recounts her views of Maud's often tragic life with a grace and poignancy that I loved. I think that being a woman and an author gives her a unique understanding of the world in which LMM lived and this comes through in the way the author talks about the hardships and the decline of LMM in her later years.
This book, while not all that long, was a little gem and although I did not learn anything new about LMM, it was fascinating and touching to read someone else's view of this wonderfully gifted author and woman.