The mother of five, Anne never has a dull moment in her home, and, now with a new baby on the way and insufferable Aunt Mary Maria visiting-and wearing out her welcome-her life is full to bursting. Still, Mrs. Doctor can't think of any place she'd rather be than her own beloved Ingleside-that is, until the day she begins to worry that her adored Gilbert doesn't love her anymore. But how could that be? She may be a little older, but she's still the same irrepressible, irreplaceable redhead-the wonderful Anne of Green Gables, all grown up and ready to make her cherished husband fall in love with her all over again!.
Original publication date
Anne's children are quite young in this story; little Rilla, the youngest, appears at age six in one of the last stories. Anne starts to fade out of the series at this point; Anne's House of Dreams is really the last one that really focuses on her, and even then other characters like Leslie Ford and Miss Cornelia are coming to the forefront. Perhaps I rebelled against this inevitable shift in the series and that was my initial, uninformed reason for not caring for it as much as the others. But since then I've noticed other weaknesses as well.
Several of the episodes in the lives of Anne's children are a bit borrowed. The frantic search for Jem reminded me of Marilla's and Anne's search for Dora in Anne of Avonlea. There are three separate stories involving the twins Nan and Di being deceived by a young friend; after the second it became predictable. I never really warmed to Nan; she and Di always stayed in the background. And most of the other stories just weren't that interesting somehow.
Montgomery does do a good job with the advent of Aunt Mary Maria and the misery she causes at Ingleside during her extended stay there. Rebecca Dew has a cameo appearance and the chapter with Rebecca and Susan discussing the ills of the situation is delightful. I also enjoyed the chapter describing the Ladies' Aid meeting at Ingleside and their love of gossip. Somehow the women's unique personalities all come out clearly even when they only get a few sentences of dialogue and one or two narrative lines. Montgomery is such a master at the casual, concise character sketch.
And I will always, always love the concluding chapter in which Anne feels that after fifteen years of marriage Gilbert doesn't care for her anymore, that this is what all marriages come to in the end. Anne is even jealous of the insufferable Christine Stuart! Montgomery really gets into Anne's head and it's a brilliant little look at some common issues of married life: lack of communication, apathy, jealousy, insecurity, and just plain tiredness. The cares of a large family will inevitably wear a couple down. The important thing is that they realize it and take steps to protect their marriage. I do find the end of this book very satisfying, whatever weaknesses are in the rest of it.
Anne fans shouldn't miss this installment in the Blythe family history, and it certainly is amusing and humorous in parts. But it isn't the highlight of the series by any means.
Anne in her mid-thirties is not as fun-loving a character as she was in the earlier
Most of the story however is really about Anne's children in this novel and unfortunately, they all seem like paler versions of their mother. They are a little boring and ill-formed, and their so-called "adventures" are not very interesting at all. All in all, Anne of Ingleside was a disappointment and I am worried about the next two books...
Meant to fill in gaps between Anne's House of Dreams (1917), which chronicles the first year of Anne's married life with Gilbert Blythe, and Rainbow Valley (1919), which focuses almost entirely upon the six Blythe children, the narrative of Anne of Ingleside is divided between Anne and her children, sometimes chronicling the former's trials and tribulations, as when she comes to doubt Gilbert's regard for her, toward the end of the book; and sometimes featuring the children's adventures and misadventures, from Jem's dog-related sorrows to Di's string of false friends. The result is a book that feels, much like the epistolary Anne of Windy Poplars, rather episodic. I found it quite charming, for all that, and while I'm not entirely sure it succeeds as a novel, enjoyed many of the individual episodes enough that it didn't make much difference to me. Anne's reunion with her childhood friend, Diana, and their day of remembrances of times past; the visit of the deliciously obnoxious Aunt Mary Maria Blythe to Ingleside, and the unexpected cause of her departure; the birth of little Rilla, and Walter's anguish, when exiled from home that day; the poignant discovery, on Jem's part, that you can buy a dog, but not his love - these episodes all appealed to me immensely, even if others - Nan's castle-in-the-air, regarding the GLOOMY HOUSE, for instance - strained my suspension of disbelief.
Anne of Ingleside is, in my estimation, the weakest of the Anne books, and despite my enjoyment, I am always cognizant of its flaws. There are some classist undercurrents here - the almost gleefully detailed descriptions of the poorer houses visited by the children, from Jenny Penny's run-down home, with its noisy, crowded dinner table, to the filthy seaside shanty of six-toed Jimmy Thomas - that I find rather unpleasant, and Anne herself sometimes appears as a distant figure, implausibly perfect as a mother, and curiously inactive, compared to her younger days. That said, I do think that the positives outweigh the negatives, and the realization that this was the last of Montgomery's books - something I had not been aware of, when reading it previously - gave the reading experience added interest and poignancy. When Anne describes herself as "a creature in an nightmare, trying to overtake someone with fettered feet," or laments that "Nothing had any meaning any longer. Everything seemed remote and unreal," one wonders whether Montgomery was writing from her own experience, at the moment of composition.
I did like the story of Peter Kirk's
The introduction of Anne's children as the focus is interesting, though. They provide sweet little anecdotes of life in Glen St. Mary and while there's less focus on Anne, it seems natural for it to be that way. Anne is so busy in her maternal duties that she seems to have little time for anything else, so her story is told through the actions of and ministrations to her children.
The book is still enjoyable as a coninuation of the story of Anne's life, but it lacks that special something that Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea have in such strong amounts.
It's especially gratifying to see that Anne tries to take each of their silly episodes seriously, never betraying to them when she wants to laugh long and loud. She shows respect for her children and treats them as she would want to be treated at their age. Hence, Anne is their confidante, and they often bring their trials to her. So there is a lot of Anne's children, but still a lot of Anne too.
I did hate
I do love Montgomery's descriptions of life. The wonderful character of Anne finds such joy in the smallest things and has a very healthy view of dealing with change.
"Well that was life. Gladness and pain... hope and fear ... and change. Always change! You could not help it. You had to let the old go and take the new to your heart... learn to love it and then let it go in turn. Spring, lovely as it was, must yield to summer and summer loses itself in autumn. The birth ... the bridal ... the death."
I love the series and I'm glad I read the book, but it's definitely not my favorite.
I was extremely disappointed
The focus of this book is on her family. Anne’s children are an assorted group from the two older boys, down-to-earth Jem and dreamer Walter, the twins Nan and Di, youngest son Shirley and the baby, Marilla, named after Anne’s beloved foster mother. The wonderful housekeeper, Susan rounds out the family and is an important member to both the adults and the children. As the seasons turn and time passes we get a bird’s eye view of their home called Ingleside and the happiness, laughter and love contained in that home. Of course, there are sad times as well, the death of a loved pet, the difficulties of an extended visit of an older, crabby great-aunt, a child’s fear when a parent becomes ill.
I personally believe that L.M. Montgomery excels in her writing of children. Yes, the story is old-fashioned and sentimental and these children are perhaps a little too good for total believability but she captures the essence of young hopes and dreams effortlessly. I very much enjoyed her descriptive writing of nature, seasonal changes and the society of rural Prince Edward Island. Anne of Ingleside both soothed and captivated me and certainly deserves it’s place on my shelf of best loved books.
A loosely connected series of vignettes, these books remain as
This is the sixth book in the series that follows the irrepressible Anne Shirley as she grows from a young orphan to adulthood. NOTE: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read this far in the series
This book focuses on Anne and Gilbert’s six children, who seem to all share their mother’s gift
However, I really missed Anne in most of the book. Yes, it was fun to watch one child after another learn from his/her mistakes or be scared of shadows or foolishly believe a tall tale or relish a summer day playing in the valley and letting their imaginations soar. But, I read the earlier books in the series for Anne, and she wasn’t as prevalent in this episode. I’m not sure I’ll continue reading the series at all.
Still, a pleasant way to
As this series continues, it seems to be a case of diminishing returns. I really hated the jump in time between the last novel and this one because I felt I didn't get to know these new children well and could never keep them straight in my head, which wouldn't have happened if a mess of them hadn't been introduced in one breath but instead been added to the family slowly over time.
I also disliked that the focus came away from Anne. It's not that hearing about the children's lives wasn't cute (and it did add back in the mishaps and foibles from the first two books in the series), but it's that we didn't see these from Anne's perspective. Instead there's a collective narration at times from the point of view of the children as a faceless mass. For instance, there's many passages such as this one: "That year was always referred to in the Ingleside chronicles as the one in which Dad almost had pneumonia and Mother had it. One night, Anne, who already had a nasty cold, went with Gilbert to a party in Charlottetown...wearing a new and very becoming dress and Jem's string of pearls. She looked so well in it that all the children who had come in to see her before she left thought it was wonderful to have a mother you could be so proud of." Also, I hated that our fierce, funny, and all-around likeable Anne is reduced to having her great accomplishment be looking pretty.
In addition, with all these children and their adventures to keep track of, we hardly ever hear a peep about Avonlea folks, which has unfortunately been the case in several of the later books. There's a brief recap in the beginning of the book that felt nostalgically nice, but after that any mentions became few and far between. However, we also barely hear about all the new acquaintances and friends that Anne made in Glen St. Mary during the previous title either, other than their live-in housekeeper Susan. Others make an occasional appearance or brief mention. I wish we heard more about Leslie at least but she's barely a cameo.
One thing that several editions of this book mention in the short blurb is how Anne needs to convince Gilbert to still be in love with her, or something to that effect. This is only one short vignette, which is literally in the last chapter! By this time, it has been 15 years since their wedding day and an old beau of Gilbert's is in town, so Anne starts to get jealous. Although brief, this chapter felt more like an Anne of Green Gables book, with a feisty Anne and some misunderstandings that all get cleared up.
I will continue with the next two books since I've almost completed my re-read of this series. I just wish it had held up to my memory of it better, because these later books have been disappointing.
The audiobook narrator for this book was just so-so. She tried to give different voices to different characters but they are all just okay. I felt her general narration could have been a little more lively overall.