Friday, 4 March 2011

Book Review: Rilla of Ingleside

Rilla of InglesideRilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

Publisher: Bantam Books

Category: Classic

Synopsis: The spectre of the first world war that we saw in Rainbow Valley comes to fruition and the boys of Glen St. Mary go off to war. Left at home is young Rilla and the rest of the women. What follows is four years of joys and sorrows and growing.

My Thoughts: It is possible that this is my favourite book in the Anne series. Anne was more of a heroine for me growing up but this book really captured me in my early teens. I have no idea how many times I read it between the ages of 14-18 but to say that I read it at least twice a year is no understatement. I should add that at the same time I had a bit of a thing for war stories in general.

What I find particularly good about this book is the fact that it shows the home front during the first world war, something I have found relatively little written about. A lot of the focus is usually on the second world war. I also appreciate that the book is about Canada and not one of the usual suspects when it comes to war narratives.

This book has me in floods of tears at times and has the romantic in me going all gooey at other times. Montgomery has somehow managed to balance the lovely with the sad to a perfect mix. And I still love it as much now when I am an adult as I did as a teenager. Strangely enough I can still identify with Rilla as much now as I did then. Although I now lament the fact that we do not get as much Anne as I would have liked. It is fantastic to get a teenaged girls point of view on the events of the war that was to be the war to end all wars, but I would also have liked the views of the mother.

Like the other Anne books this book is told in an episodic fashion but because of the war there is more of cohesive theme and a feeling for time. It isn’t quite as jumpy and not all the stories are events. The narrator also switches at times. Mostly it is an omniscient narrator but occasionally it is Rilla who tells the story, primarily through her diary entries. The switching is never a problem but rather it feels very organic. 

My love for this book has put me in a bit of a predicament. The ending is somehow both satisfying and unsatisfying. I’ve always wished that there was one more book so that I could find out what happens to, primarily, Rilla. Now I’ve found out that there is another volume that at least could answer some questions. You’d think I would pounce on it. But part of me is scared that it won’t end the way I want it to. I’ve had my mouse hovering over the click to buy button several times. I’m just scared. Should I buy it? Has anyone read The Blythes Are Quoted? Will it make me happy?


Copyright ©2011 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Aarti said...

I love this book! I think it's my favorite, too. It has one of the best ending lines, ever :-)

Beth said...

This is one of my favorite Anne books, though I had to read it a couple of times before I realized what a wonderful job it does of showing the Canadian homefront during World War I and how truly horrible it was.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson is another book that shows the homefront of the United States during World War I and a book I really enjoyed.

Melwyk said...

I've just been rereading this series as well...and agree that Rilla makes me bawl in places! It was one of the only Canadian books showing the home front that was written at the time of the war. And there is a new, fully expanded version with all the excised bits returned to the text. Edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, the same who edited The Blythes are Quoted.

As to The Blythes are Quoted, you won't find it a novel as such. It is a collection of short stories with linking narratives about Anne and Gilbert. Still good but it doesn't tell us very much more about the family, really. See my own review of it for a bit more info, at least for my opinion!