#AnneReadAlong2017: Anne’s House of Dreams, A Review

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Hello dear Anne fans! I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend!

I am so so so excited to share some thoughts about Anne’s House of Dreams, book 5 in the wonderful Anne Series by L. M. Montgomery!

I am having so much fun co-hosting this event with Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku. We’d love to have you join us for any part of the read along. We are writing reviews, posting Top 5 Lists, hosting giveaways, and more! Check out my info page here.

I’m not sure where to begin with this book. It was absolutely delightful! That’s the word that I kept using over and over as I described it to my husband. And I think it fits the story well. It has been my favorite book thus far besides the original (I put that one in a class by itself).  I loved it from the first page.

Initial Thoughts:

  • L. M. Montgomery is at her best in this novel! It reminds me so much of the first novel especially with gorgeous descriptions of the scenery, complex characters, and the wonderful feelings of home that I love in Green Gables.
  • Can I just say again how badly I want to visit PEI one day? Or how much I want to live in Anne’s house of dreams? It’s idyllic and peaceful and warm.
  • This book is not long (just over 200 pages) and it reads quickly. I read it cover to cover in just under three days. And it was delightful through it all.

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Anne’s House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery follows Anne’s story during her first few years of marriage to her sweetheart, Gilbert Blythe. Goodreads summarizes, “Anne’s own true love, Gilbert Blythe, is finally a doctor, and in the sunshine of the old orchard, among their dearest friends, they are about to speak their vows. Soon the happy couple will be bound for a new life together and their own dream house, on the misty purple shores of Four Winds Harbor. A new life means fresh problems to solve, fresh surprises. Anne and Gilbert will make new friends and meet their neighbors: Captain Jim, the lighthouse attendant, with his sad stories of the sea; Miss Cornelia Bryant, the lady who speaks from the heart — and speaks her mind; and the tragically beautiful Leslie Moore, into whose dark life Anne shines a brilliant light.”

I felt so happy to finally read about Anne and Gilbert’s perfectly simple wedding. I have been waiting for this marriage since he called her ‘carrots’ and she broke her slate over his head in the first book! Anyone else with me on this? I love that they keep it beautiful and simple–surrounded by their dearest friends and some of my favorite characters in literature in the Green Gables orchard. It just suits them so well. Finally, they can begin their life together.

I think their little house of dreams is my favorite setting yet in the series. It sounds breathtaking in its sweeping views of the sea and the rolling hills of the island. I can just imagine Anne setting up their little home as they begin their life together. There is something so special about your first home as a married couple. It holds your first memories together as a family. How warm and cozy Anne’s little home is from the first time we see it. This is the type of home I want to create, a place where family and friends gather, where children are raised in love, and where memories are stored for all time.

I love all the little moments that allow us a peak inside Gilbert’s head and how much he adores his Anne-girl. A few favorites here:

“She was his at last, this evasive, long-sought Anne, won after years of patient waiting…. They belonged to each other; and, no matter what life might hold for them, it could never alter that. Their happiness was in each other’s keeping and both were unafraid. They were married in the sunshine of the Old Orchard, circled by the loving and kindly faces of long familiar friends.”

“Golden hair wouldn’t suit you at all, Queen Anne– my queen Anne– queen of my heart and life and home.”

“When a fellow has a home and a dear, little, red-haired wife in it what more need he ask of life?”

Anne’s House of Dreams, pages 21, 81, & 89

Montgomery is at her best in the characters of Four Winds, especially Leslie and Captain Jim. They almost leap off the page and offer such rich and complex characterizations. Honestly, book 4 left me wanting more from the new characters Anne meets in Windy Poplars. But these characters are absolutely stunning. They are described so wonderfully from their first meetings with Anne. And we just get more attached to them as the story progresses. I love Captain Jim’s lifelong love of lost Margaret and his beautiful storytelling that creates his life book. I love the way Leslie embraces life again and her deepening friendship with Anne. I love Miss Cornelia’s ridiculous observations about men and Susan’s fierce loyalty. These characters are as well written as Diana Berry, Marilla, Matthew, and Miss Stacey of the original novel. I think they are so well developed because they are kindred spirits or ‘of the race of Joseph’ as they call themselves. Montgomery writes a wonderful kindred spirit.

I felt like I wanted to write down just about everything that Captain Jim said throughout the novel. His life wisdom is so applicable to any age:

Heretics are wicked, but they’re mighty interesting. It’s just that they’ve got sort of lost looking for God, being under the impression that he’s hard to find–which he ain’t never.”

“You’ll have your troubles and worries and sorrows, too. … but they won’t get the better of you if you face ’em together with love and trust. You can weather any storm with them two for compass and pilot.”

Anne’s House of Dreams, page 111, 216

Additionally, Montgomery is at her best in her writing style and tone in this novel. I was so glad to find myself gripped by this story like in the early novels. I loved the way she describes the scenes of Anne’s new home and the scenery surrounding it. Again, I felt let down after book 4 but was so glad to be pulled back into Anne’s world in this one. This book makes me happy like the original Anne of Green Gables does. It’s a book I want to live in. I want to know the characters and see the views. This book is safe and peaceful and homey. It’s a book where the style creates a world that readers can’t help but fall in love with.

Spoiler Alert!

The most compelling part of the novel is the ways Anne overcomes intense sorrow in her life. She and Gilbert lose their first baby after she lives only one day and it is a terrible lose to Anne. It shakes her whole world to the very core. I cried when I read about that horrible experience for Anne and Gilbert. And I felt a dear companionship with Anne during that section of the novel.

I have not shared this before, but it seems fitting now. I had a miscarriage just over a year ago. And it was a time of deep sorrow in our lives. That was never something I thought would happen to me. And it shocked me. It was a trial of faith for our family, just like it was for Anne. At the time, I never thought I could be happy. I thought the ache and the burden would never lift. But it did.

I especially appreciate Captain Jim’s wisdom about turning to God that he shares with Anne during this struggle. I remember thinking that our miscarriage could either drive us away from God or closer to Him. I am glad we chose to strengthen our relationship with God and trust in Him during that hard time. When Anne is able to continue living and feel joy again in her life, I felt like I was reading my own story. And oh the sweet joy when little Jem is born healthy and happy! And that connection has bound me even more to Anne and her beloved story.

Again, Captain Jim says it best in his wise counsel to Anne on how to remember what she has lose and also to live with joy.

“We can’t understand–but we must have faith–we must believe that all is for the best. I know you find it hard to think so, just now. But try to be brave–for Gilbert’s sake.”

“If it wasn’t for a dreams they might as well bury us. How do we stand living if it wasn’t for our dream of immortality? And that’s a dream that’s bound to come true, mistress Blythe. You’ll see your little Joyce again someday.”

Anne’s House of Dreams, 119 & 121

Overall, this is a new favorite of mine, both in the series and as a novel in general. I could share a dozen more favorite quotes, several other favorite scenes, and many favorite emotions I felt as I read this darling novel. Again, the best word for it is delightful!

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Thanks for participating with us in the #AnneReadAlong2017! What did you think of Anne’s House of Dreams? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Enter your information in the form below or in the comments, and I will add it to the list of posts this month.

More Posts about Anne’s House of Dreams:

Review by Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku

Review by Sarah @ Sarah Emsley

Review by Melanie @ Grab the Lapels

Review by Naomi @ Consumed by Ink

Review by Krysta @ Pages Unbound

See you in October for Anne of Ingleside!

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14 thoughts on “#AnneReadAlong2017: Anne’s House of Dreams, A Review

  1. I almost didn’t see this post – what a shame that would have been as it’s such a favourite!
    I’m so sorry to hear about your lost little one. I hope it was comforting rather than painful to read about Anne going through it as well.I remember it being a shock the first time I read about it – Anne’s life doesn’t usually get so grim. But I think it also helped to deepen her character for those of us who have gone on to read the later books.
    And there are so many other great characters in this book, as well. Miss Cornelia continues to be a part of Anne’s life in the next couple of books.
    Thanks for adding a link to my review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you caught this one! 🙂 Thank you. I did find it quite comforting to read about Anne’s similar experience. In fact, I think it made me connect with her on an even deeper level. And I agree, her character is deepened for us as readers (and for Leslie as well). So many great characters in this one! I loved getting more of Miss Cornelia in book 6 as well!

      You’re welcome! I enjoy reading your reviews as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is wonderful to read your reactions to reading these books for the first time. I actually don’t remember mine, as it’s been over 30 years. Although, in some ways, I feel as if I’ve always known and loved the Anne books.

    This book is one of my favourites! For the mystery of Leslie. For Captain Jim and Miss Cornelia. For Gilbert and Anne. Their tragedy is as heart-breaking as when Matthew dies in AOGG.

    On a historical note, the sad event with regards to little Joyce was Montgomery’s own experience. Her second son, Hugh, was stillborn. This story was probably very cathartic for her. And probably very hard to write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It has been such a fun adventure to read them all for the first time. I already feel that I have known Anne forever as well 🙂

      Yes, I agree this tragedy is as sad as when Matthew dies in the original novel, which still stings whenever I read it.

      I did not know that Montgomery had a baby born stillborn. That is very sad to hear. But yes, I agree that it probably was both cathartic and difficult to write. Thanks for sharing that historical note! And I appreciate you reading my reviews!

      Like

  3. I haven’t begun reading this one yet but knowing you and Jackie both loved it makes me excited to read it. I’l begin when I’m finished with my current read.

    I read the spoiler on Jackie’s review before I read yours. I’m so sorry for your loss. It was brave of you to share your pain and your very personal connection to Anne’s story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so, so sad to hear about your loss. That must have been a very challenging time for you and your family. How wonderful, though, that you found joy through the experience of reading Anne’s House of Dreams. I hope you get to visit PEI someday. The landscape is stunning, and there are so many wonderful LMM places to visit. I’ll look forward to hearing what you think of Anne of Ingleside!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Jane! I am both so sad and so happy reading this review! Yes– this is my new favorite of the Anne novels as well. I agree completely with almost every word above! Montgomery is certainly at her best. I am in love with all these new characters. I hope they appear again in future books! Losing Captain Jim was strangely difficult for me. He’s such a wise, patient, and melancholy character. I hope to have a Captain Jim in my life someday.

    I’m so sorry for the challenges the last year brought you. I can’t even begin to imagine how challenging that experience would have been for you and your family. When Montgomery wrote about Anne losing her first child I wept. Like a little baby. I just— I was so shocked! I really felt for Anne. It was a dose of reality we hadn’t seen yet in the Anne books and a true sign her childhood was behind her. But, I am glad that your road to emotional recovery paralleled Anne and Gilbert’s. I hope that you had someone like Captain Jim around during that time! He really did help push the Blythe’s on through that storm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just love this book!!! Yes, Captain Jim was one of my favorite characters in this book and the entire series.

      And thank you so much. It was a hard year for us. But through the blessings of God and dear kindred spirits we made it through and now have own new baby in our family. God is good 🙂 I totally wept as well reading that section of the book. It felt so much like my own experience and made me love Anne all the more!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think this is one of the more moving books in the series. Montgomery never shies away from darkness and sorrow, but somehow this one seems to have a bit more sorrow than the other books. Anne’s first loss is absolutely heartbreaking. I can’t imagine the pain she–and you–must have felt. And my heart goes out to both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

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