This was a re-read for me but when I began sorting through boxes of my childhood books and came across my Lucy Maud Montgomery collection I felt nostalgic and delved into The Blue Castle once more.
L.M. Montgomery is, of course, the author of Anne of Green Gables but she also wrote many other books featuring young ladies having adventures and falling in love. The Blue Castle is a stand alone story about Valancy Jane Stirling. We meet Valancy on her twenty-ninth birthday, unhappy and unmarried. The term “old maid” isn’t one we hear much in our society these days but it was a powerful label at one time. First published in 1926, The Blue Castle is very much a product of its time. Valancy’s sorrows and, later, her scandals are hard to relate to from a modern point of view. That said, I enjoyed this book when I was a pre-teen and I enjoyed reading it again. Montgomery writes sweet, romantic tales and you know you’re going to get a happy ending. The characters are engaging, although the peripheral characters tend to be rather one-dimensional, and there’s some good humour that, I think, works even today.
The Blue Castle is unusual for Montgomery in that its set in the Muskoka region of Ontario, rather than Prince Edward Island like so many of her other books. Place is just as important here though and the book is full of descriptions of the forests and lake. (Apparently my pre-teen self loved those descriptions and underlined a lot of them. Now I found some of them beautiful and some of them overdone.)
I hope that in a few years Pearl may enjoy reading some of Montgomery’s stories for the first time. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy a simple re-read of these sweet tales.