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Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

// Book Review //

“When we have to do a thing...we can do it.” - L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

I took my time and savored every word in Rilla of Ingleside, L.M. Montgomery’s eighth and final book in the Anne of Green Gables series. I truly did not want it to end. To the few critics who believe Montgomery’s writing is merely fluffy prose and pretty landscapes, I urge you to read Rilla of Ingleside. This is my first (but not last) reading of this book and I can honestly say that it challenges my prior favorites (Anne of Green Gables -Book One and Anne’s House of Dreams -Book Four) for top billing!

Montgomery, once again, expertly weaves the following relevant and meaningful themes throughout the storyline: family, happiness, innocence, heartbreak, death, grief, the perils and destruction of war, perseverance, heroism, bravery, sacrifice, patriotism, selflessness, giving, comraderie and one of my favorites - the faithful love of a dog. My only regret regarding Rilla of Ingleside is that Montgomery did not include the text of Walter’s piper poem!

One of My Favorite Scenes:

*Caution* - Spoiler Alert!

From Chapter 35…

“One spring day, when the daffodils were blowing on the Ingleside lawn, and the banks of the brook in Rainbow Valley were sweet with white and purple violets, the little, lazy afternoon accommodation train pulled into the Glen station. It was very seldom that passengers for the Glen came by that train, so nobody was there to meet it except the new station agent and a small black-and-yellow dog, who for four and a half years had met every train that had steamed into Glen St. Mary. Thousands of trains had Dog Monday met and never had the boy he waited and watched for returned. Yet still Dog Monday watched on with eyes that never quite lost hope. Perhaps his dog-heart failed him at times; he was growing old and rheumatic; when he walked back to his kennel after each train had gone his gait was very sober now­he never trotted but went slowly with a drooping head and a depressed tail that had quite lost its old saucy uplift. 

One passenger stepped off the train­a tall fellow in a faded lieutenant's uniform, who walked with a barely perceptible limp. He had a bronzed face and there were some grey hairs in the ruddy curls that clustered around his forehead. The new station agent looked at him anxiously. He was used to seeing the khaki-clad figures come off the train, some met by a tumultuous crowd, others, who had sent no word of their coming, stepping off quietly like this one. But there was a certain distinction of bearing and features in this soldier that caught his attention and made him wonder a little more interestedly who he was. 

A black-and-yellow streak shot past the station agent. Dog Monday stiff? Dog Monday rheumatic? Dog Monday old? Never believe it. Dog Monday was a young pup, gone clean mad with rejuvenating joy. 

He flung himself against the tall soldier, with a bark that choked in his throat from sheer rapture. He flung himself on the ground and writhed in a frenzy of welcome. He tried to climb the soldier's khaki legs and slipped down and groveled in an ecstasy that seemed as if it must tear his little body in pieces. He licked his boots and when the lieutenant had, with laughter on his lips and tears in his eyes, succeeded in gathering the little creature up in his arms Dog Monday laid his head on the khaki shoulder and licked the sunburned neck, making queer sounds between barks and sobs. 

The station agent had heard the story of Dog Monday. He knew now who the returned soldier was. Dog Monday's long vigil was ended. Jem Blythe had come home.”

A Few of My Favorite Quotes:

“Is there laughter in your face yet, Rilla? I hope so. The world will need laughter and courage more than ever in the years that will come next.” -L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

“And they shall fight against thee but they shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee, saith the Lord of Hosts, to deliver thee.” -L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

“There was something in her movements that made you think she never walked but always danced.” -L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

“Walter's death had inflicted on her heart a terrible wound. But it had been a clean wound and had healed slowly, as such wounds do, though the scar must remain for ever. But the torture of Jem's disappearance was another thing: there was a poison in it that kept it from healing.” -L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

“And two years ago this morning I woke wondering what delightful gift the new day would give me. These are the two years I thought would be filled with fun."
"Would you exchange them - now - for two years filled with fun "
"No " said Rilla slowly. "I wouldn't. It's strange - isn't it - They have been two terrible years - and yet I have a queer feeling of thankfulness for them - as if they had brought me something very precious in all their pain. I wouldn't want to go back and be the girl I was two years ago not even if I could. Not that I think I've made any wonderful progress - but I'm not quite the selfish frivolous little doll I was then. I suppose I had a soul then Miss Oliver - but I didn't know it. I know it now - and that is worth a great deal - worth all the suffering of the past few years.” -L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

Book Details:

Title: Rilla of Ingleside

Author: L.M. Montgomery

Illustrator: Elly MacKay

Publisher: Tundra Books

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781770497450

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