Publisher: Bantam Books
Synopsis: Anne is grown up and the focus of this book is on her children and their friends. The Blythe children love playing in the little valley below Ingleside which they have named Rainbow Valley.
My Thoughts: This Anne book has never been one of my favourites. I think part of it is that there is no central character. Sometimes this can be an advantage as it can appeal to many different readers. You can connect with the one that best´suits you. But unfortunately I think that in this case we don’t really get to know any character well enough to connect with them. It is just a little bit to fractured.
One could say that the book focuses on the Meredith children. Mr Meredith is the Presbyterian minister in Glen St Mary where Anne and her family live. Mr Meredith is a widower with four children whom he loves but as he is somewhat spacy to a certain extent neglects. However the book also features the orphan Mary Vance, Walter and Jem Blythe and on one occasion Rilla Blythe. All of these are likeable characters (although Mary Vance drives me insane) but there just isn’t enough of one of them to really drive the story.
Like Anne’s House of Dreams the story is told in somewhat of an episodic fashion. This means that you have little sense of how much time passes between different episodes and I think this in combination with the many characters adds to my confusion.
At the same time this is a sweet story about being children in a, in some respects, less complicated time. The Merediths, the Blythes and Mary Vance play in Rainbow Valley and the Methodist graveyard and other places around Glen St Mary without much interference from the adult world. The benign neglect offered by the adults lead to an imaginary world that for the most part is lovely but on occasion scary.
This is a sweet book but not an essential read in the Anne universe (although an event in this book is referenced in Rilla of Ingleside). Despite this the book has one of my favourite endings of all time. The foreshadowing of the events in Rilla of Ingleside always takes my breath away. It is foreshadowing at its best at the same time as it shows the heartache and longing of whole generations.