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Anne of Green Gables    by L. M. Montgomery order for
Anne of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2014 (2014)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Who hasn't heard good things about Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables? Of course I had read it before, but was delighted to peruse this new paperback version of the classic. Note that the full Anne and Emily series are being re-released, now, with absolutely charming covers by illustrator Elly MacKay that capture the bright spirits of these young heroines.

I'd forgotten how vulnerable young Anne Shirley is and how quickly she steals not only Matthew's and Marilla's hearts, but each reader's as well. Anne, whose life has been light in care and material things, but incredibly rich in imagination, is often lost in daydreams. Yet she does her best to be and do what is expected of her and sees her own faults all too clearly. Angelic? Not young Anne who has a temper as fiery as her red hair - often ignited by comments on said locks or by anything she considers to be unjust.

In this first in the heartwarming series, we see small, sensitive Anne sent to Green Gables in error. There her quick words quickly steal Matthew's solitary heart, while her winning ways slowly conquer Marilla's reluctance to take on a female foster child. Anne finds a new BFF in Diana next door and the love of her life in schoolmate Gilbert Blythe. Unfortunately, though Gilbert is attached immediately, Anne won't know that they are soulmates for some time, after his careless comment about her carrot curls hurts Anne's feelings excruciatingly.

Anne also finds many kindred spirits, like the wealthy (and rather selfish) Miss Barry, whom she amuses. She starts a story club at school - and she grows up, to Marilla's dismay. But Anne reassures her (as only Anne can), 'I'm not a bit changed ... I'm only just pruned down and branched out.' And when tragedy strikes Green Gables, Anne does the right thing, as does Gilbert. Which is, I think, what I like best in this series. Living in a more selfish age, it's good to read about a time when basic values were more highly valued.

If you haven't read this classic yet, it's high time you did, along with the others in Anne's and Emily's series. The settings, as well as the characters, are beautifully depicted and very real. And don't miss the fascinating biography of the author at the back of the book, which ends: 'Montgomery's keen sense of both beauty and justice ... has encouraged young people around the world.'

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