Wednesday, June 16, 2021

"Emily of New Moon" by L.M. Montgomery

Our summer read for the L.M. Montgomery Readathon group on Facebook is "Emily of New Moon," first published in 1923. "Emily" and its two sequels may not be quite as well known as Montgomery's "Anne" books, but some critics prefer them, and Montgomery herself said that Emily was more like her in character than Anne was. 

It's been quite a while since I last read the Emily books, but as I happily dived into the pages, the details of the story came flooding back to me. Emily Byrd Starr, age 10, is living a happy life with her widowed father and her beloved cats in a little house in a hollow near Mayfield, Prince Edward Island. 

And then, she learns he only has weeks to live. 

Now an orphan, she is taken in by her late mother's family -- the "proud Murrays" of  New Moon Farm at Blair Water -- haughty, strict Aunt Elizabeth, timid but kind Aunt Laura and quirky Cousin Jimmy. Emily struggles to adjust to her new life in a strange place where few people seem to understand her, and finds catharsis by pouring out her heart in letters to her dead father. Gradually, she learns to love New Moon and her new family, make friends, and to find her voice as a writer. 

Reading the story again for the first time in many years, I remember what an impact these books had on me when I first encountered them as a pre-teen. They were darker and more intense than the Anne novels (which I adored) -- but I felt that Emily, too, was a kindred spirit. I especially related to her outsider status among the girls at school, her fierce friendship with the doctor's daughter, Ilse, and her love of reading and writing (if not her atrocious spelling, lol). It was Emily (and also, I think, Anne Frank, who would have turned 92 last week, and whose diary I read around the same time I first discovering Montgomery), who taught me the cathartic power of writing -- a gift that I've carried with me my entire adult life, including in this blog (among other places).  :)   

It's not my absolute favourite Montgomery novel -- but it's still a wonderful book with a vividly drawn heroine. I am so glad to reacquaint myself with Emily and her friends. :) 

4.5 stars, officially 4 stars on Goodreads.  
(I will count this book as a re-read when we are finished our discussion at the end of the summer.) 

Our Readathon group just began reading & discussing this book on Facebook on Monday, June 14th, and we'll continue to do so through the summer months. If you're an Emily/LMM fan, please join us!  :) I don't know if we will continue with the sequels? -- "Emily Climbs" and "Emily's Quest" -- I hope we will!  (and even if we don't, I will read them myself!)

This was Book #33 read to date in 2021 (and Book #1 finished in June), bringing me to 92% of my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 36 books. I am (for the moment, anyway...!) 17 (!) books ahead of schedule. :)  You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2021 tagged as "2021 books." 

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I’m a member of that group as well! But since I stopped being active on Facebook I don’t often check it anymore. I will try to login a few times over the summer though. The Emily trilogy and Rilla Of Ingleside were my favourites as a child.