Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Anne of the Island" by L.M. Montgomery

As a preteen, I read all of L.M. Montgomery's "Anne" books. In fact, the first book-induced ugly cry that I can remember came as I read of a death in Rilla of Ingleside. (If you'd like to know the specifics, go here. I'm purposely trying not to spoil you!)

As a young teen, I was completely obsessed with Anne of Avonlea (a.k.a. Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel), and Gilbert Blythe (as portrayed by the late Jonathan Crombie) was pretty much my dream man. (True confession: I wore out our videotape because I kept rewinding and rewatching the final proposal scene.) I still have yet to watch any Anne, as I'm just not sure I want to see anyone besides Crombie and Megan Follows portraying Gil and Anne!

When I saw that Audiobookworm Promotions had the first three "Anne" books up for review, my first thought was, "GET THEM ALL!!!" Then I came back to reality as I remembered that it takes much longer for me to get through an audiobook than it does a regular book, so I should pick just one. I chose Anne of the Island, as I remembered (and confirmed through a quick Google search) that it's the book where Anne finally realizes she's in love with Gil 💗

Author: L.M. Montgomery

Narrator: Colleen Winton

Length: 8 hours 20 minutes

Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press

Series: Anne of Green Gables, Book Three

Genre: Classics

Anne of the Island was published in 1915, seven years after the best-selling Anne of Green Gables, partly because of the continuing clamor for more Anne from her fans - a fan base that continues to grow today! In this continuation of the story of Anne Shirley, Anne leaves Green Gables and her work as a teacher in Avonlea to pursue her original dream (which she gave up in Anne of Green Gables) of taking further education at Redmond College in Nova Scotia. Gilbert Blythe and Charlie Sloane enroll as well, as does Anne's friend from Queen's Academy, Priscilla Grant. During her first week of school, Anne befriends Philippa Gordon, a beautiful girl whose frivolous ways charm her. Philippa (Phil for short) also happens to be from Anne's birthplace of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia. Anne, always the good scholar, studies hard, but she also has many life lessons. This book sees Anne leave behind girlhood to blossom into a mature young woman.

You know how they say the book is always better than the movie? Well, in this case, I think the "movie" (miniseries) is better than the book. That's not to say that Anne of the Island is a bad book; it's just that I have such intense love for the Anne of Avonlea miniseries (which does pull a large portion of the plot from Anne of the Island) that it would be difficult for the book to rise above it in my eyes.

However, I found it really interesting to revisit book Anne as an adult! When I first read the novels as a preteen, I thought Anne could do no wrong. In the intervening years, the Anne of the books morphed into the Anne of the Sullivan miniseries in my head, and I found myself surprised at just how ridiculous Anne could be as I read Anne of the Island! (Apparently, adult me doesn't find Anne's whimsy nearly as endearing as preteen me did.)

The plot, which sees Anne leaving her teaching position to attend Redmond College, is quite interesting ... and since it's actually very different from the miniseries, it was really like I was experiencing a brand new story! (My preteen years were a long time—and a couple thousand books—ago, so I didn't remember much.) I especially enjoyed watching the slow-burn romance between Gil and Anne ... and yes, I did want to shake some sense into Anne on a few occasions! I also loved that Montgomery touched on Anne's past, as she learns more about her parents.

One of my favorite aspects of the novel was Davy Keith, an orphan taken in by Marilla Cuthbert. He wrote hilarious letters to Anne while she was at Redmond, and he was such an entertaining character.

The only thing I didn't like was a horrible section where Anne and her roommates tried to kill a cat that had adopted them. It. Was. Awful. The cat lived, and all was well, but I never want to hear about animals being killed!

Actress Colleen Winton did a great job of reading the novel. Her voice and inflection reminded me a lot of the actress who played Katherine Brooke in Anne of Avonlea. I did notice a couple places where sentences had obviously been recorded separately and dropped into the narration. These instances were rather jarring, as the difference was so obvious that it pulled me out of the story. This only happened two or three times near the end of the book, though.

Overall, I really enjoyed Anne of the Island, and I would recommend other books read by Winton. 4 stars.

Buy the audiobook: AudiblePost Hypnotic Press

➜Use the code Anne_VT17 to get 35% off downloads and CDs from Post Hypnotic Press.

Read my review of Montgomery's The Blue Castle (4 stars).

Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942) was a Canadian author best known for Anne of Green Gables and the series of novels that book begins. The "Anne" of the books is Anne Shirley, an orphaned girl who comes to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert on their farm, Green Gables. Published in 1908, the book was an immediate success in Canada, the United States and beyond. It has been adapted multiple times to screen, stage, radio, and TV.

Anne Shirley made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following. Anne of Green Gables was ranked number 41 in "The Big Read," a survey of the British public by BBC to determine the "nation's best-loved novel" (not children's novel!). And a survey conducted by School Library Journal (USA) in 2012 ranked Anne of Green Gables number nine among all-time children's novels.

Anne of Green Gables was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery published 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays in her lifetime. Her work, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide. Mostly set in Prince Edward Island and locations within Canada's smallest province, the books made PEI a literary landmark and popular tourist site. Montgomery was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
Colleen Winton is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer...and now a narrator. Her career has taken her all over the country and includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the original Canadian companies of CATS and Show Boat, extensive film/TV credits, and numerous directing/choreographing credits. Her stage work has been honoured with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award and she received a cultural award given by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was especially pleased to have recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press just before she embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.

     Anne of Green Gables Giveaway: Three Winners

Follow the blog tour:
Aug. 13th: History From A Woman's Perspective, Spunky 'N Sassy
Aug. 14th: A Lovelorn Virgo, 2 Girls and A Book, Tara's Book Addiction
Aug. 15th: Dab of Darkness, Joy of Bookworms, Canadian Book Addict
Aug. 16th: CGB Blog Tours, A Book and A Latte, Macarons and Paperbacks, Lilly's Book World
Aug. 17th: To Read Or Not To Read, Jorie Loves A Story, Reading for the Stars and Moon, Notes From 'Round the Bend, Haddie's Haven
Aug. 18th: The Maiden's Court, The Book Slayer, Jorie Loves A Story, Hall Ways 
Aug. 19th: Christian Chick's Thoughts, Lomeraniel, Life As Freya, Bound 4 Escape, WTF Are You Reading?

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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