Pages

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kilmeny of the Orchard, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This is the second book of Montgomery's I've picked up in my recent "I want to run away to Prince Edward Island" kick. A quick 134 page read makes this one in a particular an easy "Coffee Store Read." I polished it off in a little over an hour.

This is the story of Eric Marshall, a bright and upstanding man who everyone agrees has only one flaw - he has never been in love. (Yes, folks, he's that perfect. He has brains, he has riches, he has promise and potential! He just needs a girl.) In offering to help out a friend, he moves to Prince Edward Island (where magic happens!) for two months to fulfill his friend's teaching obligations at the local school. While there he wanders into an orchard where he finds a girl.

Kilmeny isn't just any girl though. She's a girl with a past history that is unpleasant. Furthermore, she has a defect of being unable to speak. (Back in 1910 they called this condition being "dumb." Now we would prefer to say "unable to speak" or "mute." Times have changed since this book was written!) Eric and Kilmeny develop a friendship despite her condition and, ultimately, fall in love. It is predictably inevitable. Again, I don't mind the predictability so much because it is Montgomery.

This was Montgomery's third book and followed hot on the tails of Anne of Green Gables (her first book, published in 1908) and Anne of Avonlea (published in 1909). Montgomery wasn't one who liked to linger over her characters and prolong their lives. She wasn't very keen on writing so much about Anne but the public begged and publishers listened. Kilmeny was likely a nice little break for Montgomery and, while very charming and Montgomery-ish in style, this isn't Anne. That being said, this is one of her more notable works because it is the only book of hers in which the main protagonist is male. Most, if not all (excepting in short stories) are female.

Quite honestly, if this book were to have been written by anyone else, the chances of my liking it would be slim. It's a goopy love story and I really don't care for those very much. (I find fictional love stories so wholly unrealistic for the most part.) But this wasn't written by just anyone. It was written by Lucy Maud Montgomery with wit and charm that is only identifiable with her and so I read on with a happy, silly grin on my face.

12 comments:

Nathan & Alison said...

I enjoy reading your non-Anne book reviews. I'm slowly adding all of Montgomery's books to my collection. I'm up to 20 of 36 so far. I've read the Anne books (several times), but have yet to dig in to the others. (Maybe after that baby arrives? Ha!) Do you have a recommened order to read them in?

Carrie said...

Hey Alison!

I don't really have a recommend reading order for Montgomery. Wikipedia lists her books in order written and that's a thought. None of the short stories are connected so that makes it easier to just "pick up and go" in some respects -- just whatever strikes your fancy.

There probably IS an order but I don't like to have one. ;D (Other than starting with Anne and reading straight through THAT series first, of course!)

Ashley said...

I recently read this for the first time and loved it! Have you read "The Blue Castle"? Definitely a new LMM favorite of mine!

Becky said...

I've been meaning to get to the non-Anne Montgomery books, and so this review caught my eye. I'll have to see if I can get to it in 2009.

jama said...

Congratulations, Carrie. I just gave your blog a Butterfly Award: http://jamarattigan.livejournal.com/212265.html.

Happy Holidays, and thanks for such a faboo blog :)!

Brittanie said...

I read this too and liked it. I agree with you. :)

Carrie K. said...

Hi, Carrie - I nominated you for a blog award: http://booksandmovies.today.com/2008/12/17/kreativ-blogger-award/

Merry Christmas!

Sarah M. said...

I read this book years ago while I was in highschool. I had forgotten about it. Thanks for the review. :)

Calon Lan said...

I remember enjoying this book quite a lot, although I wonder if part of my appreciation for it wasn't fascination with the name "Kilmeny." What a great name. And so unique.

Thanks for the review and for the trip down memory lane. I really should read this one again.

Michelle said...

I've never read any non-Anne books of hers. Maybe I should look out for them!

Nicola said...

I read this when I was a child and it was my absolute favourite of Montgomery's. I have never re-read it and now wonder whether I would still like it. Yet the title always brings back fond memories of childhood book love.

Bookish Ruth said...

I read this as a teenager and absolutely loved it. It's still one of my favorite books. The Blue Castle and The Story Girl are both fantastic as well. (Amazingly, I've read everything by LMM except the Anne books. Not quite sure how I pulled that off.)

Top  blogs