I feel obliged to first say that I do not believe that I have adequate words to provide a meaningful review of this book because for one to fully appreciate this story, it must be read in its entirety. With that said, the following is my humble attempt to capture the essence of this wonderful story.
Anne's House of Dreams, the fifth book in Montgomery's Anne series, is a literary treasure full of emotion. I found myself both laughing and crying crocodile-sized tears throughout this beautifully written story. Montogomery's writing is infectious, her settings are poetic in description and her characters are drawn with both charm and depth.
I don't want to reveal any spoilers for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure to read this book so I will limit my review to a broad base of ideas presented. Themes of love, loss, grief, motherhood, family bonds, friendship, marriage, unfairness, duty, sacifice and moral decision-making are present throughout this story. I personally found Montgomery's address of grief to be poignant and real. Those of us who have experienced grief can relate to its accompanied pain when Montgomery writes that Marilla is "helpless before the riddle of the universe - the WHY of undeserved pain." Anne's response to grief is at first overwhelming to her in its fear, followed by pain, longing and ultimately the threat of forgetting.
Montgomery writes the following conversation between Anne and Marilla:
I love Gilbert more than ever—and I want to live for his sake. But it seems as if part of me was buried over there in that little harbor graveyard—and it hurts so much that I'm afraid of life.
It won't hurt so much always, Anne.
The thought that it may stop hurting sometimes hurts me worse than all else, Marilla.
Captain Jim adds his sage wisdom and advice on weathering any storm. I love this quote of Captain Jim: “But [sorrows] won't get the better of you if you face 'em together with love and trust. You can weather any storm with them two for compass and pilot.”
Montgomery not only captivates her readers with beautiful prose but also provides depth and insight into her character's life experiences of love and loss. I appreciate that Montgomery allows her character's to experience grief and loss and yet still find a way to maintain hope and life.
What are your thoughts on Anne's House of Dreams? How do you feel Montgomery dealt with grief and loss in this book?