The Blue Castle
-by Lucy Maud Montgomery
My Rating: 5 / 5
Best remembered for her well-loved red-headed heroine, Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery's understated more 'grown up' novel, The Blue Castle, deserves equal, if not a higher echelon of praise. An invigorating exercise in general satire, The Blue Castle's characterization borders on Dickens-like caricature as Montgomery introduces an array of amusing, egotistical and decidedly silly relatives of the heroine, Valancy Stirling.
Social and familial pressures have combined to deny the sensitive 29-year-old the simple joys of youth. An overbearing pious mother and dour hypocritical relatives, who attempt to elevate themselves to local aristocracy, deliberately snuff out any spark of happiness that could make its way into Valancy's life.
She secretly finds solace in her daydreams of her 'Blue Castle' - a fantasy world she retreats to, where she is adored and happy; and the nature books penned by John Foster, a popular (but mysteriously unknown) author who writes about the poetic beauty of Canada's wilderness. Little does she know her life is about to change, on the receipt of a letter from her doctor, and that her Blue Castle will soon be within reach.
As the heroine herself undergoes a complete metamorphosis due to major life-changing events, so the plot takes the reader around one exciting bend after another. It is a pure delight to read and is sure to become a fast favorite of any reader that delves beyond the tasteless cover and insipid synopsis on the back of the book. The Blue Castle is truly one of L.M. Montgomery's greatest works that you will want to share with others!