The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables: The Enchanting Island that Inspired L. M. Montgomery

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables: The Enchanting Island that Inspired L. M. Montgomery


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Smithsonian Magazine 2018’s Best Travel Books

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables explores L. M. Montgomery’s deep connection to the landscapes of Prince Edward Island that inspired her to write the beloved Anne of Green Gables series. From the Lake of Shining Waters and the Haunted Wood to Lover’s Lane, you’ll be immersed in the real places immortalized in the novels. Using Montgomery’s journals, archives, and scrapbooks, Catherine Reid explores the many similarities between Montgomery and her unforgettable heroine, Anne Shirley. The lush package includes Montgomery’s hand-colorized photographs, the illustrations originally used in Anne of Green Gables, and contemporary and historical photography.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604697896
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/17/2018
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 226,329
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Catherine Reid has taught at a number of different schools, most recently at Warren Wilson College, in Asheville, North Carolina, where she served as director of the creative writing program and specialized in creative nonfiction and environmental writing. In addition to two works of nonfiction, Falling into Place and Coyote, she has published essays in such journals as the Georgia Review, Fourth Genre, Bellevue Literary Review, and Massachusetts Review. She has been a creative writing fellow at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and has received fellowships in creative nonfiction from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives and gardens in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Read an Excerpt

During the course of her life, Lucy Maud Montgomery published twenty novels, more than five hundred short stories, hundreds of poems, and numerous essays. But it was her first and remarkable novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), that garnered her a worldwide audience. The enthusiastic response to the book spurred an immediate request for more stories about the spunky, irrepressible Anne (an additional seven novels and three story collections fill out the rest of Anne’s life), while Anne of Green Gables went through initial print runs at speeds that surprised author and publisher alike. In the subsequent century, the novel has sold over fifty million copies, been translated into twenty different languages, and spun off numerous films, plays, musicals, and television series.

Such popularity derives from the book’s equally compelling features: the appeal of its storyline—elderly siblings want a boy from an orphanage to help them with farm work and are sent an odd scrawny girl instead—and the sheer force of Anne’s personality, so garrulous, smart, and endearing that she quickly wins over Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert along with a wide array of island characters. Anne’s imagination carries the book, as she manages to find the beauty in the bleak and the lesson in every disaster, beginning with the grim possibility of being returned to the orphanage.

Due to the phenomenal success of Anne of Green Gables, tourism is Prince Edward Island’s second most important industry, with agriculture (number one) and fishing (number three) still as important as they were when Montgomery lived there. For the fan seeking the landscapes of Anne’s old haunts, however, the level of new development can be startling; this is not the Prince Edward Island of the late 1890s, when Anne was gathering mayflowers by the armfuls and wandering fern-lined paths through the woods.

One has to look beyond the modern conveyances to see the evidence of undisturbed woodlands, acres of farmland, and expanse of ocean just beyond, or squint in a way that blurs the adjacent golf course and amusement park, the buses and B&Bs, the tour groups and Anne look-alikes in their aprons and wigs with red braids. It is then that it becomes possible to see and sense all that a child—or the child in all of us—might have been able to learn and pursue in the Prince Edward Island of Anne’s era. This book returns readers to the original landscape that so inspired one of literature’s most memorable characters.

Lucy Maud Montgomery shares numerous similarities with the unforgettable Anne Shirley. Anne’s parents died when she was an infant; Maud’s mother also died when she was not quite two, and her father decamped to the other side of the continent a few months later. Both are subsequently raised by elderly people—Maud by her mother’s grim and stiff parents, and Anne by a pair of unmarried siblings. Both are gregarious, intelligent, high achievers, excelling at their schoolwork and ranking top in their classes. Both attend one-room schools and later teach in them. Both delight in being in the midst of social whirls—whether berrying, recital-planning, or sharing pranks with their classmates; both also pursue justice ferociously and are adept at maintaining an iciness against those they feel have wronged them.

Most notably, though, it’s when landscape and the imagination merge that their shared sensibility becomes most evident. They use many of the same names for their favorite places (Lover’s Lane, the Lake of Shining Waters, the Haunted Wood) and spend as much time as possible wandering favorite spots (when she and her friends were young, Montgomery writes in an 1892 journal entry, “we fairly lived in the woods”). The great expanses of sea and field act like canvases for their imaginations, the quiet island beauty nourishing their souls.

In the first eight years of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s surviving journals, the period she subsequently describes in Anne of Green Gables, nothing is rendered as poetically as are the scenes of nature—not clothing or playmates or the interiors of houses, not pets or schoolrooms or suitors. It’s when she turns her attention to the surrounding land that the reader can feel her changing gears to one that evokes far more passion. In that shift of her gaze to the outdoors, the ordinary falls away, and the following sentences soar with aesthetic power. The subtle hues in a sunset, the changing colors of autumn, the winter scenes from a horse-drawn sleigh—all reverberate with new meaning when seen through Maud Montgomery’s or Anne Shirley’s eyes.

This shift in voice when turning to the landscape is especially noticeable when either girl is feeling uncertain, badly treated, or homesick, as in Anne’s first hours with the Cuthberts, not knowing whether they would let her stay at Green Gables, or when Montgomery spends an awkward teenage year in Saskatchewan with her father and his new wife and realizes she has little place in their life there. To rally herself, each girl turns toward the natural world—looking out a window, walking down a wooded lane, or recovering a memory of some happy time spent outside—and almost immediately, as though a switch had been flipped, the prose vibrates with a new energy and the sorrow fades away.

Table of Contents

This Island Is the Bloomiest Place

An Introduction 10

Kindred Orphans

The Lives of Maud Montgomery and Anne Shirley 24

The Loveliest Spot on Earth

Prince Edward Island then and Now 62

Something more Poetical

The Scope of two Imaginations 106

Emerald Screens

Maud's and Anne's Favorite Gardens 146

A World With Octobers

The Seasons of Prince Edward Island 184

That Great and Solemn Wood

A Writer's Life 226

Resources 254

Notes 260

Acknowledgments 268

Photo and Illustration Credits 271

Index 273

Customer Reviews

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables: The Enchanting Island that Inspired L. M. Montgomery 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
bookwomen37 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The book is beautifully presented. The author explores Prince Edward Island as seen by L. M. Montgomery. It is part travel book and part biography. Anyone who has enjoyed the Anne books will enjoy seeing many of the places described in the books. The photographs are wonderful. The text is well written and really captures the island. Any fan of the Anne books will want to add this to their library. I do think this book would be better appreciated as a book and not as an ebook. Enjoy
SandrasBookNook More than 1 year ago
I grew up on the Anne of Green Gables books and have raised my girls on the books and the movies. This evocative book takes you on a journey, not just to the island made popular through the Anne books, but a journey that celebrates the relationship between the character and her creator and the unbreakable link to this beautiful place called Prince Edward Island. From gorgeous photos, to delightful prose, you are sure to enjoy your journey through the land that we first got to know while reading about that Anne-girl. Kindred spirits unite, and delve into a beautiful book of landscapes and stories. Grab a cup of tea (or raspberry cordial!!) and curl up to enjoy the adventure into Maud and Anne’s world. I received a copy of this book from Timber Press for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
A beautiful book with beautiful photos. I am a long-time lover of all things LM Montgomery and especially Anne of Green Gables. This book gave lots of insight into the author, LM Montgomery, as well as Anne (with an "e"). I've had the good fortune to have visited PEI two times in my past - but both many years ago. Everything about this book was a delight.
Lauren Woodard More than 1 year ago
Thank you Net Galley for a review copy of this book. Catherine Reid's "The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables" is a well researched and remarkable book. As an enthusiastic and lifelong Anne of Green Gables fan, I LOVED this book! This book has an outstanding sense of place and delves into Montgomery's inspiration she evoked from the landscape of Prince Edward Island, where Anne of Green Gables is set. I have always wanted to visit PEI and the stunning photography in this book fulfilled part of this wish. I enjoyed reading more about LM Montgomery as well as the similarities between her and Anne. I count this book and as a MUST OWN keepsake for fans Anne of Green Gables. I cannot wait to gift it and share it with others!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I took a few weeks hiatus from reading and came back to finish this lovely book of picturesque settings and glimpses into the past. This would make a stunning coffee table book. Filled with nostalgia, gorgeous pictures, and a brief then and now about Prince Edwards Islands, The Landscape of Anne of Green Gables was idyllic and perfect for a peaceful afternoon read. I especially liked how Reid discusses the parallels between Montgomery's and Anne's disposition and surroundings. It makes me wish I'd been alive when Montgomery was as I am sure with her similarities to Anne, we would be kindred spirits.
susanwalkergirl More than 1 year ago
A Treasure That Will Make You Fall in Love All Over Again Words fail me to describe how much I loved reading Catherine Reid’s newest book, The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables. I felt like I was opening a treasure each time I read from this book and gazed at the beautiful pictures of the breathtakingly beautiful Prince Edward Island. I first read Anne of Green Gables as a young adult and loved Lucy Maud Montgomery’s writing so much so that I read all her books. What a gifted writer! Her poetic lyrical writing captured character’s thoughts and emotions and enabled readers to imagine the beautiful landscapes of God’s creation. Who could not fall in love with Price Edward Island when reading Anne of Green Gables or seeing the wonderful TV mini-series by Sullivan Entertainment? With each page you turn in this book you will be entranced by the beauty of this island. Catherine Reed does a wonderful job in telling about Maud Montgomery’s wonderful, yet hard life. She achieved success, but was not immune to tragedy. Catherine intertwines thoughts and experiences from Maud’s life and shows how they were reflected in the lives of characters she wrote about. The landscapes that inspired and moved Maud, where an integral part of her books and her life. Included in the book are numerous quotes from Maud’s writing, not only her personal journals, but also her beloved fiction books. I forewarn you, after reading The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, you may want to reread all of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books. This book is a treasure; I wanted to savor each page. It will help you to see the beauty in nature in a new and fresh way. You may even be inspired to visit Prince Edward Island and behold it for yourself. If you know someone, young or old, who loves Anne of Green Gables, or is enchanted by gardens and nature, you may want to get them a copy of The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid. I would like to thank NetGalley and Timber Press for the opportunity to read this book. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. Even though I got to read this book for free, I liked it so much that I may go ahead and purchase it. It’s a keeper that I would like to go back to again and again.