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.
- 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.
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.
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!
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!
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See you in October for Anne of Ingleside!