Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Sunday Salon: Reading Rainbow Valley (1919)

Rainbow Valley. L.M. Montgomery. 1919. 256 pages.

The Meredith children are struggling to raise themselves as readers will come to see if they read Rainbow Valley. Their father is a Presbyterian minister--an absent-minded minister; their mother is dead. There is an aunt that makes an effort to keep house, but her efforts don't always include keeping the children. So Jerry, Faith, Una, and Carl have plenty of time for trouble. Not that they seek it out, it just happens to find them time and time again. Like when Faith and Una accidentally get the days of the week confused, attend Sunday School on a drearily rainy Saturday and do their laundry and dirty work in full-view of the church-attending crowd on Sunday. (I believe Methodist.) The children are always do something to shock someone in the congregation or community. But their intentions are all good and honorable.

The Meredith children are best friends with the Blythe children: Jem, Walter, Nan, Di, Shirley, and Rilla. The two families love to be together: telling stories, playing together, imagining dream worlds together. Readers catch a glimpse of the Anne, Gilbert, and their children...but the story truly begins to all four Meredith children.

Another child in their group is the crazy and always unpredictable Mary Vance, an orphan discovered by the Meredith children and later adopted by Mrs. Elliot. She can be hard to take, even her closest friends feel this way at times. But she sure does keep things lively!

Rainbow Valley ends in a lovely romance. Mr. Meredith gets a second chance for love, as does a delightful woman named Rosemary West. The children help bring these two together--in a touching way.

There are also some haunting sections of this one as L.M. Montgomery foreshadows the coming Great War (World War I). This is the novel where Walter first gets a glimpse of the Pied Piper coming for them all...a theme later picked up in Rilla of Ingleside.

I definitely LOVED this one. Like Story Girl and The Golden Road, it captures the ups and downs of  day-to-day life through the eyes of children.
“It is never quite safe to think we have done with life. When we imagine we have finished our story fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter.” 
Read Rainbow Valley
  • If you love L.M. Montgomery
  • If you love classics, children's classics, cozy historical novels
  • If you love good storytelling 
  • If you're looking for stories about preacher's kids 
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Kailana 9:30 AM  

I loved this book when I read it years ago. I really must reread some Montgomery and get around to all the books by her I haven't read. I also want to read her journals...

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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