The whole time I’ve been participating in the Green Gables Readalong, hosted by Lindsey @ Reeder Reads, I’ve been waiting to read Anne’s House of Dreams. I suspected that this time around it would mean so much more to me to read about Anne as a newlywed, the joys and sorrows she meets in her little white house. (New around here? You can catch up here, here, here and here.)
Now before we get to how much I loved reading this book again, let me caveat the whole thing now. I first read these books when I was at that age when anything great you read stays with you forever. So no matter what, these books will always be perfect to me. I’m not capable of seeing them critically. Those of you reading them for the first time may find these books quaint, unrealistic, earnest or lacking qualities you expect of classic novels. I see none of those things. I see perfection every time.
With that out of the way, let’s carry on.
Before I read this post by Sarah Elmsley, I had no idea that Anne of Windy Poplars was a stopgap, written by Montgomery to kind of fill up space between Anne of the Island and Anne’s House of Dreams. As soon as I started Anne’s House of Dreams, I felt the difference. It seemed as though we were picking up the story after Anne of the Island finishes, like her time in Summerside never happened.
Anne and Gilbert finally get married! And those of you that have been hankering for a better idea of how their relationship works must finally be satisfied. Anne and Gilbert leave their Green Gables wedding (the first in the house) for the train in Carmody and cross the threshold of their little house of dreams that night. Immediately we are treated to some of the characters we’re going to come to love: Miss Cornelia Bryant and Captain Jim. Between them we start to understand some of the history of the place: the story of the schoolmaster’s bride, Lost Margaret, Marshall Elliot’s beard, and poor Leslie Moore.
Aside from Diana, I think I love Leslie Moore the most out of all of Anne’s friends. She feels real. She struggles not to hate Anne who is so blissfully happy when her own life is such a shambles. She’s perfectly honest with Anne about the fact that sometimes she finds it very hard not to hate her. I’m sure that some people reading it for the first time would have found Leslie’s story’s ending completely unrealistic but that’s part of the charm of LM Montgomery’s world: things always work out, more or less.
One of the things that I always really remember from Anne’s House of Dreams is little Joyce and how devastating her loss is. That part was even more devastating this time, mostly because our Anne-girl goes completely to pieces and it changes her in a fundamental way. There is a fear that was never there before.
There were lots of moments in this one that had me tearing up, happy tears and sad tears: little Joyce in her white dress in the churchyard, the advent of James Matthew, Leslie Moore in love, Captain Jim’s life-book, Anne and Gilbert’s wedding (obviously), and when Captain Jim crosses the bar. They made so much out of the Tennyson poem, I had to go and look it up when I finished. It really was the most perfect poem for Captain Jim.
Our Anne-girl is really and truly grown up in this fifth book. It kind of felt like growing up alongside her all over again.