Book Review: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery (McClelland & Stewart, 1989)
The Blue Castle – L.M. Montgomery (McClelland & Stewart, 1989)

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.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery”

  1. I’m reading all 8 of the Anne of Green Gables books for the first time this summer as part of the #20BooksofSummer! What’s interesting about your comment that “old maid” is uncommon today is that even in 2016, if you are an unmarried 29-year-old-woman, society is still going to pick at you about your biological clock! Ew!

    1. Yeah, unfortunately even 100 years later a 29-year-old unmarried woman would definitely get comments. Valancy is really shown as finding freedom only through marriage which is kind of disappointing and, hopefully, she would have more options today. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of the whole Anne series.

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