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The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

lmm-challengeSynopsisThe Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery is the story of Valancy Stirling and how she takes charge of her own life.  Always under the thumb of her controlling family, meek and mild Valancy is shocked to learn that she has only one year to live.  As a result of this revelation, Valancy takes her life in hand and does things that shock and outrage her “proper” family.  Along the way, she discovers love and friendship, two things she never had in her former small life.

My Thoughts:  I really thought when I finished Jane of Lantern Hill earlier in the month that I was finished with the L.M. Montgomery Challenge.  However, when I read Sarah’s review of The Blue Castle over at A Library Is a Hospital of the Mind, I began to reminisce about the book and decided I wanted to re-read it before January was over.  That’s what I did, despite my towering TBR stack for the month of February, and I am so glad!

I think I like Valancy Stirling just as much as I like Anne, Pat, and Emily.  In some ways, reading her story is much like reading about most of Montgomery’s other heroines:  an oppressed girl finally finds her freedom through some magical turn of events that liberates her imagination and personality so that she can finally be who she really is.  However, this story deals with more “adult” themes (‘though certainly these are tame by today’s standard):  alcoholism, the sullying of a girl’s reputation, the illegitimate birth of a child, etc.  I understand that Montgomery intended this novel for an adult audience.  Certainly it would be entirely appropriate for any young adult reader, as well.

I really appreciate Valancy’s frank appraisal of her family after the scales are removed from her eyes (or maybe a better analogy would be after her tongue is loosened and she can finally speak the truth without fear).  Valancy is sarcastic and truthful, and it is downright hilarious at times.  Montgomery is a master at characterization, and although her characters are so extreme that at times they seem like caricatures (i.e. the snobbishly cold mother or grandmother, the outwardly-wicked-but-good-at-heart man, etc.), her descriptions and little vignettes make reading her books delightful.  This is why I love Montgomery’s works.

Since I read Jane of Lantern Hill for the first time just a few weeks ago, it was still on my mind when I re-read The Blue Castle.  There are many similarities between the two novels. I will not say what they are and ruin it for you if you haven’t read these fine stories; however, I can summarize these similarities by saying that some of the things that happen to Jane as a child are mirrored in the adult world of Valancy Stirling.

The Blue Castle is an entertaining and delightful book.   Highly recommended!


14 Responses

  1. The Blue Castle is my favorite L. M. Montgomery novel. I love the Anne series but Valancy is still my favorite. I haven’t read it in years so I’m off to reserve a copy from the library.

  2. I actually named my photography business after this book. (See if you can find me. 😉 I wanted to name it after Montgomery somehow and everything I came up with involving Anne was too cheesy. So walla! Blue Castle. This is probably my favorite non-Anne book by Montgomery so I’m glad you both read and enjoyed it!

    Thanks for participating! This is a great review!

  3. This book sounds like a classic! I have not read the book yet but after all of these romantic reviews…I am definitely going to.

    Thanks for the review!

  4. Of the ones I have read thus far, Blue Castle is my favorite as well. Anne comes a close second, but Valency is full of such spunk at the end, it made me wish in a way Maud had written a sequel to her life.
    I want to read Jane of Lantern Hill, now…..that will have to come later in the year, but I WILL read it. Thanks!

  5. I’ve read the Anne books, the Storygirl books and Pat and Emily; but have gotten to this one yet. I’m glad it’s on the shelf and calling my name. Thanks for your review.

  6. Interesting – from your review, this sounds like it has similarities to Gene Stratton Porter’s “Freckles”, which I read recently. I suppose they were written in basically the same era, so that would make sense. i enjoyed your review!

  7. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve read Freckles. However, I always thought that Little Women and Anne had some common elements, so I suppose that another of LMM’s works sharing some commonalities with another contemporary novel would not be unusual. Thanks for commenting, sjbruan!

  8. […] blacklin (Coraline)11. Fate (The Plain Janes)12. Queen Shenaynay (Seeking the Face of God)13. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery)14. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (The Man Who Was Thursday by Chesterton)15. Benjie (Adam)16. SmallWorld […]

  9. The Blue Castle is one of my favourite books by LMM Montgomery. I wish I had it in book form because I hate reading online. It’s such a beautiful story. I think it’s a book everyone should read =D. Glad there’s more people loving it. I thought it was so overlooked.

  10. Dear people…
    I just wanted to say how much I adore L.M. Montgomery too. I was actually never interested in them before. I read the Anne series (of course I loved them) but mostly I didnt find Anne as interesting as her children. I became interested in them about week ago and i know that hasnt been awhile, but for me it seems as if i always was addicted and was just to lazy to open them. Kids my age don’t read Lucy’s books because they probably havent even discovered that there was more then just 2books she created (I thought there was only <> and <>). Anyways no one was reading them at my grade school (there not popular around there) … They were just gonna throw all her books away… So instead they just gave all her books to me. In a week I’ve read more than half of the books and there wonderfulXD! I couldnt decide which one I should do for my Isp(Idenpendent Study Project…half ur marks) after reading nights and days I decided on <>. I must say that <> is one of my favourites but I’ve never in all my life heard of the name Valancy:P. I like the name Moonlight better…
    Yours Truly
    L.M.G gr.9

  11. This is my favorite after the Emily of New Moon series. Its a beautiful, happy book. Its “so beautiful it hurts” 😉
    Such a pity I only read it online. I wish I could have it on my hands to reread it over and over again

  12. […] I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with Montgomery last year through this challenge.  I read The Blue Castle and Jane of Lantern Hill, which I believe means that I have now read every novel available by […]

  13. […] here to read my review of The Blue Castle from last year’s […]

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