#GreenGablesReadalong – Anne of Ingleside

I’m still working my way through the Anne books for the Reeder Reads Readlong: one Anne book a month from January to August. So the post is a little late but I swear I did read Anne of Ingleside in June!

You can catch up with this series by starting here if you’re so inclined.

ingleside

Anne Blythe is now the mother of 5, soon to be 6, children! Her wonderful house, Ingleside, has been invaded by the likes of Aunt Mary Maria Blythe, who was only supposed to stay for two weeks. Aunt Mary Maria makes it difficult for everyone in the family to be in the house, always commenting on the kids’ manners, the things they say, eat or do. Gilbert is away working a lot and Anne doesn’t want to force her to leave. Meanwhile we get to know the Blythe children: Jem, the oldest, desperate for his own little dog to love; Nan and Di, the twins, one favouring her mother in colouring and her father in temperament, the other with brown hair and eyes and her head permanently in the clouds; sweet, lovely, sensitive Walter, convinced his family sent him away; Shirley, who doesn’t actually have much of a role in this book at all; and darling lisping baby Rilla, convinced that carrying a cake through town is the absolute worst thing that could ever happen to a girl.

When I read this book as a kid I was delighted with it. I loved how Anne was exactly the kind of mother she always said she’d be, taking all the cares and troubles of her little babies seriously. I loved that there was a series that so completely showed the life of it’s character – that we got to know both Anne as a mother and her little children. I loved how each child was so different but that they all seemed to go together. And to a certain degree, I still love those things about it.

But this time I found Gilbert such a disappointment. I know, I know. At the time, he was just like any other man working hard to provide for his family. And he does work so hard. But when he is around, which is rare, he doesn’t seem like the Gilbert we used to know and love. He seems hard somehow. Like he doesn’t understand his little children, even though so many of them are just like Anne when he loved her as a child. Even his interactions with Anne seem clipped and curt. Only at the very end does Gilbert find any kind of redemption and I’m still wondering if it was enough, or too little too late?

That said, I have a whole new level of love for Susan Baker. Especially when she and Rebecca Dew discover that they are kindred spirits. The letters they write to each other! I just loved those.

If I remember correctly, this was kind of the last book to feature Anne so prominently. The last two books are more or less given over entirely to the Blythe children. I’m sad to leave Anne, even though I know she will still exist in the last two books. It won’t be the same though.

Rainbow Valley here I come!

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10 thoughts on “#GreenGablesReadalong – Anne of Ingleside

  1. I related more to the grown up Ann and very much enjoyed the latter series. It was very sad when it all ended. I immediately sought out the Emily series, which wad quite different but richly satisfying. I never understood why there wasn’t more interest in that series.

  2. I also loved that Susan Baker and Rebecca Dew hit it off – it’s fun when she brings older characters into newer books. What did you think about her bringing Christine Stewart back? It seemed so much like something that would happen today!
    Ah, Gilbert. I know what you mean. But, I like to think of it as a time restraint thing. Montgomery had only so much time and space in which to write about so many characters, that she left out all the good, everyday stuff that happens in families. That’s me trying to defend Gilbert, because I just have to. Besides, fathers not spending enough time with their children is still happening – I’m living it. The difference is, now, they feel guilty about it.
    I do feel bad for Anne being married to a doctor. Imagine all the people always demanding his time at all hours of the day.
    I love what you said about being able to follow a character all the way from childhood to motherhood. I like that, too. It’s sad to be switching from her to her kids, but, on the other hand, I don’t want to read about her getting too much older – it seems strange.

    • I think you’re so right that the whole Christine Stewart thing would happen today. And Christine was such a cow!
      I know I’m probably not being fair to Gilbert. His time isn’t really his own and I’m sure that Anne doesn’t really expect too much more from him. I just wish that some of the time that they do get to spend together, we saw more of the Gilbert we all fell in love with!
      I never thought about the fact that it would be hard to watch Anne get much older. I already feel that way about Marilla and Rachel Lynde. I’m glad that Anne doesn’t live in Avonlea at this point or we’d be way more aware of how old they are getting!

      • I agree! Right now, I can still picture her girlish looking, but another 10 years can make a big difference.
        My trick with Gilbert is to just imagine him the same as ever, even if Montgomery isn’t doing a good job of keeping him boyish. In my head, he still is. 🙂

  3. Oh, Gilbert! Just when I was starting to feel better about him getting more attention in Anne’s House of Dreams, too. I’m behind and haven’t caught up with Anne of Ingleside yet. But I think after I make my way through the remaining books in the series I’ll need to reread the Emily books as well. Did anyone else see the “Emily” musical at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown? I remember loving it when I saw it (maybe ten or twelve years ago) and wishing I could buy a CD so I could listen to those songs again, but there wasn’t one. Too bad it wasn’t anywhere near as popular as the “Anne” musical.

  4. Pingback: #GreenGablesReadalong – Rainbow Valley | The Paperback Princess

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