Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Anne of Windy Poplars - L.M. Montgomery

Rereading L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series has been a bright spot in the middle of the dreary winter weather.  Despite her aging, Anne remains young at heart and full of endless positivity.  Anne of Windy Poplars captures her over the course of three years.  She has procured a position as a principal while Gilbert, to whom she is now engaged, works his way through medical school.  Montgomery broke the book into three sections, one for each year of their separation.

The first year consists mainly of letters written by Anne to Gilbert describing her new home in Summerside, PEI.  While the second and third years also have some letters, they are mainly Montgomery's traditional prose.  It is unclear why she chose to write the sections in such different ways, aside from providing a change of pace.  The letters and the prose both describe the colorful characters and situations for which we know and love Anne Shirley.  In many ways, I saw Windy Poplars as a sort of series of vignettes about life in Summerside.  The pages fill with gossip about these fictional characters; Anne delights in inputting her helping hand in situations where she can, to both positive and negative results.

For lovers of Green Gables and the Avonlea citizens, there is sparse mention of them in these pages.  To me, Windy Poplars is a transition novel for both Anne and Montgomery.  Anne has grown up and with adulthood comes the gradual movement away from her childhood home and into a life of her own.  Montgomery has given significant pages to the people of Avonlea and certainly felt ready to explore new faces and scenery.  Still, to skip over Anne's holidays at home nearly completely left me missing the people there.  

One particularly interesting part of reading Windy Poplars was comparing it to the movie Anne of Avonlea with Megan Follows as Anne.  The movie takes story lines from Windy Poplars, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island without much dedication to accuracy.  The movie twists the plots and characters to make it a more cohesive story.  While I understand the need to make a more viable screenplay, and while I still love the movie as an independent piece, I do still wish there was a well done movie series following the Anne series which stayed true to Montgomery's words.

Do you have a go-to feel good book or series?  When authors of long series bring in new characters and settings, is that something you enjoy or detest?

Pages: 268
Date Completed: February 1, 2013

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