Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Golden Road, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it through another Lucy Maud Montgomery book this year. As I mentioned the other day, I started taking a C.S. Lewis class which has stolen away my reading time. (Not that I have huge objections because it's an amazing opportunity. I'm simply finding myself out of time to read hardly anything else! I'm not sure if I'll be able to meet all of my Montgomery goals this month but I did want to strive to finish The Golden Road while I still had The Story Girl (linked to my review) fresh on my mind. Oh, but I am so glad that I took the time to travel back to Avonlea and visit with the King cousins!

The Golden Road was first published in 1913, and is sandwiched between the publishing of Chronicles of Avonlea (1912) and Anne of the Island (1915). This is the first book she composed as a married woman.

I think one of the most interesting things to note in this book is the relationship between The Story Girl and her father, who returns to collect her from her King relations, thus breaking up the happy band of cousins. Maud, it is said, put quite a bit of herself into the character of The Story Girl. Maud's own father left her in the care of her grandparents as she was growing up, traveled west and eventually remarried. Maud never got along with her stepmother and greatly longed for a loving relationship with her father. It's interesting then to note that she allowed The Story Girl the privilege of a relationship with a father who loved her dearly but was not "tied" to any other relationship, excepting that of parent and child.

This particular story, although the sequel to The Story Girl, does not feature Sara Stanely as exclusively as in the first book. Instead, Montgomery focuses more on the King cousins as a collection of young children roaming about Prince Edward Island. I thought she was much more descriptive about the Island itself and I wonder if this is in part due to the fact that she had married and moved away from it. The story very much reads as one who has loved the Island and had to say good-bye to it. In fact, all of the cousins have to say goodbye to one another at the end of the story and it is absolutely heartbreaking. (I confess! I cried! I positively HATE good-byes myself and generally refuse to make them! I'm more of a "see ya later!" sort of gal.)

In some ways this book is bittersweet because Montgomery very clearly is drawing the cousins' time together to a close. She hints at what each of their individual futures tell (which I'm certain was helpful in creating the Road to Avonlea television series!) but there are no absolutes to rest in. Still, there are things to love and laugh about when reading along.

I believe I got the most chuckles out of the children setting out to make new year's resolutions. Given the time of the year that I'm reading this story again, I found it particularly amusing.

"I can't think of any resolutions I want to make," said Felicity, who was perfectly satisfied with herself.
"I could suggest a few to you," said Dan sarcastically.
(Chapter 4, New Year's Resolutions)


"I shall try to be cheerful and smiling all the time," wrote Cecily.
"You are, anyway," said Sara Ray loyally.
"I don't believe we ought to be cheerful all the time," said the Story Girl. "The Bible says we ought to weep with those who weep."
"But maybe it means that we're to weep cheerfully," suggested Cecily.
"Sorter as if you were thinking, 'I'm very sorry for you but I'm mighty glad I'm in in the scrape too," said Dan."
(Chapter 4, New Year's Resolutions)

Montgomery's books make me happy. Every year I say that I should read them all throughout the year and not just in January. Perhaps that ought to be the way because I simply delight in relaxing back with funny, peculiar friends and just being.

"And so that beautiful day went away from us, slipping through our fingers as we tried to hold it. It hooded itself in shadows and fared forth on the road that is lighted by the white stars of evening. It had been a gift of Paradise. Its hours had all been fair and beloved. From dawn flush to fall of night there had been naught to mar it. It took with it its smiles and laughter. But it left the boon of memory." (Chapter 26, Uncle Blair Comes Home)

Indeed, her books leave me with pleasant memories and so I'm not going to say goodbye to these friends. I'm only saying "see ya later!"


Barbara H. said...

This one is unfamiliar to me, too. I've thought a little bit about which LMM books to read once I get through the Anne ones. Maybe these would be good so I'd be familiar with the Road to Avonlea people if I ever watch that?

Stephanie Kay said...

I didn't realize there was a sequel to The Story Girl. I'm done with my Montgomery reading for this month, with the exception of an illustrated Anne book to read with Ellie. I'm ready to get back to a little non-fiction. :D

BerlinerinPoet said...

You are so cute, Carrie. I mean that in all seriousness and not at all patronizingly.

The book sounds sweet too. :-)

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I think this is one I'd really enjoy revisiting. I've judt about decided I like the LMM books about children the best (this said after coming off A Tangled Web).

Carrie said...

Barbara H. - Yes! These books fit best with the Road to Avonlea series and I heartily recommend the reads. However, in this particular case, I don't think it's Absolutely Necessary to read the books before watching the series. I kinda like reading the books with the onscreen characters in my head. But this would be a rare exception (for me.)

BerlinerinPoet - ha! ;D

Jules said...

I really need to do my research on the Author, because I never knew she had other books beyond Anne of Green Gables Series and Anne of Avonlea that were as known as they seem to be, or that they existed at all. I was recommend The Blue Mountain earlier in the year, so now I'm going have to check this and The Story Girl out too - and get the rest of Anne of Green Gables series.

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