Sunday, September 12, 2021

"Emily Climbs" by L.M. Montgomery

My L.M. Montgomery Readathon group on Facebook recently announced our next book for the fall months: "Emily Climbs," the second volume in the "Emily" trilogy. (The first was "Emily of New Moon," which we read together over the summer -- reviewed here and here;  the third -- which I hope we will also read together in group, eventually -- is "Emily's Quest.")  

Emily, now 14, is delighted when her family decides she may continue her education at the high school in the nearby town of Shrewsbury. She's not so happy when she learns she may only attend if she promises her Aunt Elizabeth not to write any stories/fiction until she graduates in three years' time. She also has to board with her Aunt Ruth -- a persnickety childless widow who calls her "Em'ly" and accuses her niece of being "sly."  

But her friends Ilse and Teddy and Perry are there too -- and she still has her poetry and her journal as creative outlets. Much of the book is in the format of entries from Emily's diary, vividly detailing the trials and tribulations and rivalries of teenaged life, along with her/LMM's usual luminous descriptions of nature and sharply observed character portraits -- but there's some episodes of real drama (a scary night spent locked in a church with a mentally deranged old man, a community's search for a lost little boy) and (as with the first Emily book) a few supernatural story twists.  

Eventually, Emily's poems begin to be accepted for publication, launching her on "the Alpine Path" toward what she's certain will be fame and fortune. And then she's faced with an unexpected opportunity -- and a decision that could change her life forever. 

I was glad to continue reading and discussing Emily's story with a group of devoted and knowledgeable Montgomery fans and academics. I'd read this book before, but it's been many years since the last time, and there was much I did not remember. I'll admit the childless part of me was a little irritated by the unsympathetic character of Aunt Ruth -- although Aunts Laura & Elizabeth at New Moon are also unmarried and childless -- and yet, by the end, even Aunt Ruth's edges have been softened a little.  There's also a highly successful unmarried childless woman near the end of the book who returns to her PEI hometown for a visit. Emily clearly admires her, but she's also the subject of much local gossip and derogatory comments.  

Our group discussion of this book begins on Sept. 20th and will continue through mid-December with video readings of new chapters, questions and supplementary material posted on Mondays and Thursdays. You are welcome to join us! (I will count this book as a re-read when we are finished our discussion.) 

A solid 4 stars on Goodreads. 

This was Book #45 read to date in 2021 (and Book #1 finished in September), bringing me to 125%! of my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 36 books. I have now completed my challenge for the year, and am (for the moment, anyway...!) 20 (!) books ahead of schedule. :)  You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2021 tagged as "2021 books." 


  1. I love these covers! Can't tell if they're new or just not the US ones, but I have these books and I'm not sure if I ever read past Emily of New Moon, but I think I may have to do a revisiting! Mine are the covers from late 1980s US, so they are totally different. I'll have to send you a picture! :) I loved all the Anne books and then my next favorite was Kilmeny of the Orchard, which is definitely a lesser known one. WHOA! 20 books ahead of schedule! :) You need a way bigger goal for 2022... :)

    1. I think the Tundra editions of some (but not all) of Montgomery's books came out around 2014. All the Anne & Emily books and a couple of the others. Strangely, there's a Tundra edition of Mistress Pat but not of the first book, Pat of Silver Bush.

      "Kilmeny" is definitely one of her lesser-known (earlier) books! I haven't re-read it in years. I will definitely increase my goal for 2022, although I'm not sure by how much... don't want to bit off more than I can chew...! I read 40 last year and 53 in 2019, so somewhere between 40 & 50 seems realistic. We'll see...!