Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Review: Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

Book Description:
Anne's children were almost grown up, except for pretty, high-spirited Rilla. Rilla wasn't yet fifteen, and she was still looking forward to her first dance and her first kiss. But undreamed-of challenges awaited irrepressible Rilla when the happy world of Ingleside was endangered by a fearful far-off war. Rilla must join her courageous family in a dramatic struggle that would change her life and leave Rilla no longer a girl, but a proud woman.

My thoughts today are going to more from a historical point of view rather than an "Anne" point of view:

I enjoy every book in the Anne Series by L.M. Montgomery--from Anne of Green Gables to Rilla of Ingleside. I have read them over and over and enjoyed them, but the story of Rilla is told from a little bit different view than the other "Anne" books.

I have to admit that the first several time I read through Rilla of Ingleside I didn't quite get the "whole picture" in relation to history. Several years ago I was listening to the audio when I realized what a portrait of World War I it presented. It hit me full force what the Canadians and others endured. I don't think that this story can be better explained than by L.M. Montgomery herself:
In my latest story, “Rilla of Ingleside,” I have tried, as far as in me lies, to depict the fine and splendid way in which the girls of Canada reacted to the Great War – their bravery, patience and self-sacrifice. The book is theirs in a sense in which none of my other books have been: for my other books were written for anyone who might like to read them: but “Rilla” was written for the girls of the great young land I love, whose destiny it will be their duty and privilege to shape and share.

– L.M. Montgomery, from “How I Became a Writer,” 1921
Since that moment, Rilla of Ingleside  has become one of my favorite books. Yes, the story is at times incredibly sad, but it is also an awesome story of courage and patriotism. Rilla of Ingleside  is historical fiction at its finest and to make it even better it is filled with L.M. Montgomery's incredible writing ability. It has her poetic flair, her wonderful insight she displays with children, and her charming and often humorous character sketches of the people of Ingleside and the Glen. If you have lost interest in Anne in the earlier books, don't be afraid to pick up Rilla of Ingleside . It is a gem of a story!

On a side note:
When I went to write this post, I found out that a special gift edition of Rilla of Ingleside has recently been released in hardback and paperback. This copy was edited by Benjamin Lefebvre and Andrea McKenzie. Here is a synopsis of what it includes:
This special gift edition includes Montgomery’s complete, restored, and unabridged original text as well as a thoughtful introduction from the editors, a detailed glossary, maps of Europe during the war, and war poems by L.M. Montgomery and her contemporary Virna Sheard.

A copy of this book has gone to the top of my list. My main reason: the maps! Weird, I know, but I think this is a great idea. Many times in the book many of the battles were listed. Since I'm a little deficient in my knowledge about World War I, there were moments I was in the dark.

1 comment:

  1. I love this book--it's my very favorite of all the Anne series, and I think this is why--because it is so real. Anne always lived in her imagination, in a fairy tale. Rilla lived in the real world, and her courage, representative of the young of her generation, never fails to move me to tears when I read this book.



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