Pleasant but...not LM Montgomery's best.,
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This review is from: Anne Of Ingleside (Paperback)LM Montgomery did not write the Anne books in order. Anne of Ingleside was written in 1939, after all of the other books, and while it does have its own charm, it also has to me the feeling of something hastily thrown together to please the author's fans.
The book opens with a few very lovely chapters showing Anne enjoying a week-long visit in Avonlea. These chapters have a bit of the flavour of the previous books, especially the part where Diana and Anne go on a picnic to one of their favourite places of yesteryear, Hester Gray's garden. But then Anne returns to the town of Glen St. Mary and her home, which they have named Ingleside. From that point on the book follows the family life of Ingleside over the course of the next 6 years. Sadly, we see no more of the Avonlea folk whatsoever. In fact we see very little of Anne or Gilbert either.
The bulk of the book follows the various scrapes and adventures of Anne's children as they grow up. Disappointingly, Anne's children seem to interact more with the housekeeper, Susan, than they do with their mother herself (Anne seems to be often away on social engagements). There is no cohesive plot whatsoever here--the book reads more like a collection of short stories, and it's sometimes difficult to discern where we are in the timeline, as season blends into season.
The back of the book talks about Anne wondering if Gilbert still loves her--this is not a central theme of the book at all, but rather the idea in the last few chapters when I suppose LM Montgomery decided she needed to return to Anne to wrap up the book, since the book began with her. Anne only feels dejected for one day, their anniversary, since it seems that Gilbert has forgotten it--but at the end of the day she finds she was wrong and then everything is right in Anne's world. She does nothing whatsoever to "make her husband fall in love with her all over again" as it states on the back of the book.
One thing that irked me, is that in the end of the book they meet up with Christine Stuart, and talk about how Gilbert used to be her beau. But in Anne of the Island, Gilbert clearly states that there was never anything between he and Christine, people just assumed he was her beau...I suppose since so much time passed between the writing of those books the author forgot about what she had previously written. Forgiveable, but still annoying to a reader going through the books all at once.
Anyhow, although I did not feel this book was very well organized or well written, some of the stories within it were very cute, and I did like the parts that included Anne as well. I gave it three stars, although I'd like to give it 3.5 if I could, because I did enjoy some parts of it quite a bit (the image of six-year old Rilla throwing the cake into the brook is particularly memorable).
Overall, I would recommend this book only to die-hard Anne fans. If you are a more casual reader, I would recommend the first three Anne books, followed by Anne's House of Dreams (which actually does have a storyline) and then Rilla of Ingleside, which follows Anne's youngest daughter during the days of World War 1.