Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery // Book Review // It’s no secret that my love for Anne is boundless! While the real world we live in is often filled with tragedy and pain, this fictional world Montgomery creates for us is full of hope and goodness! If we were all a bit more like Anne, our real world would be a better place!
This is the fourth book in the Anne series (although it was the seventh book written with 28 years between the publication of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ in 1908 and ‘Anne of Windy Poplars’ in 1936). Written in an epistolary format (through Anne’s letters to Gilbert) we experience Anne’s maturity into adulthood, observe her acts of kindness (even to those undeserving) and witness her struggle with and ultimate victory over adversity.
I thought it was interesting that Montgomery originally titled the book Anne of Windy Willows. Her American publisher thought the title too closely resembled the children's book The Wind in the Willows so Montgomery changed the title (in the US and Canada) to Anne of Windy Poplars. The UK publisher maintained the unabridged version along with Montgomery's original title Anne of Windy Willows.
I am thrilled that Montgomery wrote this book, although I wish she would have made a few modifications. I enjoyed Anne's descriptive narrative in her letters to Gilbert, who is away attending medical school. I was so disappointed when I approached the "pages omitted" lines! I want to read all of Anne's letter(s) to Gilbert and Montgomery censors the reader from the gushy, lovey-dovey romantic talk. I also wanted to hear from Gilbert! Anne mentions her love for his lengthy letters and now I will sound like Davy.... "Anne, I want to know!" What did Gilbert say to Anne?! In my opinion, this could have been the very best part of the book!
One of my favorite parts of the story that Montgomery does include involves the relationship between Anne and Elizabeth, the little girl next door. Elizabeth reminds me of a sadder version of Paul Irving. The following passage is full of such sorrow... and promise of love:
'They - they made me wash your kiss off, Miss Shirley,' she [Elizabeth] sobbed. 'I didn't want ever to wash my face again. I vowed I wouldn't. Because, you see, I didn't want to wash your kiss off. I got away to school this morning without doing it, but tonight the Woman just took me and scrubbed it off.'
I kept a straight face. 'You couldn't go through life without washing your face occasionally, darling. But never mind about the kiss. I'll kiss you every night when you come for the milk, and then it won't matter if it is washed off the next morning.'
'You are the only person who loves me in the world,' said Elizabeth. 'When you talk to me I smell violets.'
Every time I pick up one of the books in the Anne series and start to read, I smell violets, too!
What are your thoughts on this book? Do you like epistolary novels? If so, which are your favorites?