Friday, February 08, 2013

Kilmeny of the Orchard (1910)

Kilmeny of the Orchard. L.M. Montgomery. 1910. 144 pages.

THE sunshine of a day in early spring, honey pale and honey sweet, was showering over the red brick buildings of Queenslea College and the grounds about them, throwing through the bare, budding maples and elms, delicate, evasive etchings of gold and brown on the paths, and coaxing into life the daffodils that were peering greenly and perkily up under the windows of the co-eds' dressing-room.  

Eric Marshall, our narrator, takes a teaching position at a Prince Edward Island school to help out a friend who needs to take a leave of absence for health reasons. While on the island, he falls in love with a beautiful young woman, Kilmeny. It is love at first sight, for him; but for her, well, it's a different story. She flees the scene. At first he wasn't sure if the problem was with him or with her. He doesn't know who she is, and, he certainly doesn't know her story. But he gradually learns the truth. She can't speak. And she's had a horribly sad and awkward upbringing. He loves her all the same. And through a series of secret meetings, they come to love one another very much. He is ready to propose, but, she is not ready to say yes. How can she wed him when she's so unworthy of him? He surely deserves a wife who can speak. So she's ready to turn him down no matter how many times he proposes for his own good. But he's not ready to walk away from true love, and he's got hope and confidence. Confidence that his good friend, who just happens to be a THROAT doctor, can figure out why Kilmeny can't speak and perhaps cure her.

This romance novel is not my favorite. I do not care for the conflict in it. Neil Gordon is a "foreign" orphan taken into Kilmeny's family and raised practically by birth. (He's Italian.) Yet, it's clear that NATURE wins over nurture in this one. For he's so "strange," and "foreign," and "wild" and so very unsafe. Though the two have been raised together their whole lives, he becomes obsessed with her. Think Jud Fry from Oklahoma. And when he sees the two together, he's anything but happy. Even though this conflict helps bring the story to its resolution--Kilmeny having GREAT motivation to finally speak--I can't help regretting it all the same.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Read Kilmeny of the Orchard
  • If you love L.M. Montgomery
  • If you like romance novels (clean romance novels)
  • If you like classics and/or historical fiction
  • If you like descriptive writing; Montgomery LOVES nature

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I thought this one was a bit over the top and enjoyed poking gentle fun at it: