Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (1915)

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery is the third installment of the beloved series that follows Anne Shirley from her orphaned childhood through her years as college student, teacher, wife, and mother.

Anne of Green Gables, the first of this series by the beloved Canadian author, was published in 1908, was quickly followed by Anne of Avonlea in 1909.

Readers must have been eagerly awaiting more of Anne’s adventures, as, with a gap of six years, Anne of the Island didn’t appear until 1915 (though she did play a small role in Chronicles of Avonlea, 1912).

In Anne of the Island, our heroine sets off from Prince Edward Island to embark on her studies at Redmond College in Kingsport, Nova Scotia. At the start of the story, she is eighteen years old.

In this story, we encounter familiar characters from the first two novels in the series — Marilla Cuthbert, Anne’s adoptive mother of sorts, Gilbert Blythe, her on and off love interest, Diana Berry, her best friend, Dora and Davy Keith, the young twins also taken in by Marilla, Rachel Lynde, the town busybody with a good heart, and others.

We also meet new friends and college classmates, all of whom add to the charm of the cast of characters. As Anne comes into her early adult years, she faces some of its joys and sorrows — love’s delights and complications, rejected writings, and the death of her childhood friend, Ruby. Through it all, Anne displays the same spirit, fortitude, and humor readers have come to expect of her.

Though this book is currently considered at a Middle Grade reading level, it appeals to readers of all ages, especially devoted fans of Anne, who return to these stories year after year. Here’s an excellent plot summary and character listing.

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L.M. Montgomery in her 30s

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A 1915 review of Anne of the Island

From the original review in the Boston Evening Transcript (Boston, Massachusetts) Aug 7, 1915: After wandering around among chronicles, story girls, and other more or less entertaining adventures, Anne Shirley comes back, the same old Anne, beautiful, brilliant, charming, the good angel of Prince Edward Island.

Now she oscillates between Avonlea, where so have met her, and Redmond, where she acquires a B.A. Few stories of a girl’s have been better told than this. College life and romance are told in enticing portions. And there is an occasional holiday at Green Gables where we hear more stories by the garrulous natives, told in the quaint manner that has been a striking feature of the series of Anne books.

Aunt Atossa. a new character in Avonlea, figures in several of these. One relates her adventures at a prayer meeting. After the customary remarks by the preacher, who was very deaf, and various members of the congregation, Aunt Atossa:

“ … bounces up. She didn’t pray or preach. Instead, she lit into everybody else in the church and gave them a fearful raking down. calling them right out by name, and telling them they had all behaved, and casting up all the quarrels and scandals of the past ten years. Finally, she wound up by saying that she was disgusted with the church she never meant to darken its doors again and she hoped a fearful judgment would come upon it.”

Then she sat down. The minister. who had not heard a word, fervently prayed in a strong, devout voice: “Amen! The Lord grant our dear sister’s prayer!”

Anne’s career at college, where she and Philippa, Stella, and Priscilla “keep house” in a quaint little edifice known as “Patty’ Place” is an attractive bit of college life. And even minor details such as Gog and Magog (the china dogs), Sarah-Cat, and Rusty are made necessary parts of the happy family.

Friends of Anne will remember the twins and be glad to encounter them again.

“Are you clean?” asks Mrs. Lynde of Davy. as he reports ready for Sunday school. “Yes — all of me that shows,” replies Davy, which indicates that the author has met some real boys.

In many ways, this new story is the author’s best. Anne hasn’t the humorous proclivities that she had as Anne of Green Gables, nor is she so mischievous; natural changes come with the accumulation of years. But she is the same sweet-tempered, cheerful girl that made Prince Edward Island famous.

The story as a whole is better finished and the plot has more definite strength than that of any of the other Anne books, in this reviewer’s opinion. There are numerous little love stories. some serious, some humorous, some frivolous, all capital little diversions. and. of course. best or all is the romance of Anne herself, which takes an unexpected course, but ends in the expected happy way.

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Anne of the Island

1915 cover of Anne of the Island
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Quotes from Anne of the Island

“All life lessons are not learned at college,” she thought. “Life teaches them everywhere.”

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“I’ve loved you ever since that day you broke your slate over my head in school.”

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“I wouldn’t want to marry anybody who was wicked, but I think I’d like it if he could be wicked and wouldn’t.”

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“I do know my own mind,” protested Anne. “The trouble is, my mind changes and then I have to get acquainted with it all over again.”

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“I love them [cats], they are so nice and selfish. Dogs are TOO good and unselfish. They make me feel uncomfortable. But cats are gloriously human.”

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“I feel as if I had opened a book and found roses of yesterday sweet and fragrant, between its leaves.”

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“It will come sometime. Some beautiful morning she will just wake up and find it is Tomorrow. Not Today but Tomorrow. And then things will happen … wonderful things.”

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“I have a dream,” he said slowly. “I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends — and you!”

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“There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves–so much in men and women, so much in art and literature, so much everywhere in which to delight, and for which to be thankful.”

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“I don’t want sunbursts or marble halls, I just want you.”
      “But I’ll have to ask you to wait a long time, Anne,” said Gilbert sadly. “It will be three years before I’ll finish my medical course. And even then there will be no diamond sunbursts and marble halls.”

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