Monday, November 12, 2018

Marilla of Green Gables

Marilla of Green Gables. Sarah McCoy. 2018. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
First sentence:  The sun and moon shine alike during snowstorms.

Premise/plot: Ever wondered what Marilla Cuthbert's was like as a young girl? Sarah McCoy shares her version--her imagining--in her newest book.

The book is divided into three sections: "Marilla of Green Gables" is set in 1837, "Marilla of Avonlea" is set in 1838-1839; "Marilla's House of Dreams" is set in 1860.

When the novel opens Marilla is thirteen and Matthew, her older brother, is twenty-one.

My thoughts: I do have PLENTY of thoughts about Marilla of Green Gables. In some ways it meets expectations. Readers know to expect that at some point Marilla and John Blythe will start courting and also that at some point their romance will sour because of a big fight. Readers expect Marilla to share a close bond with her brother, Matthew. Readers will likely guess that Rachel--Marilla's best friend in her adult life--will appear. All these things do happen. Expectations met. But in other ways it doesn't meet MY expectations at all.


you've been warned


  • I wasn't expecting Marilla to be a book-loving, free-spirit, outspoken, take-action abolitionist and political activist. 
  • I wasn't expecting Marilla--at age thirteen or possibly fourteen--to be elected the first president of the LADIES AID SOCIETY. I can't fathom ANY community let alone Avonlea with such strong, stubborn, fierce women to choose a child to lead them. 
  • I wasn't expecting Matthew to have had a drunken past where he almost burns down Green Gables.
  • I wasn't expecting Matthew to have been courting an Andrews sister. She crushes his heart on more than one occasion.
  • I wasn't expecting Marilla to be courting John Blythe at age thirteen. The two go for BUGGY RIDES alone. At one point when he's tutoring her, he falls into a stream, takes off his shirt, and the two make out a lot. There is touching--lots of touching. 
  • I wasn't expecting Marilla's family to be the way they were. Her mother and aunt--are twins--and they wear make-up. I wasn't expecting ANY woman in Avonlea to be wearing makeup in the 1830s. (Maybe I read this wrong and just Aunt Izzy wears make-up?)
  • I wasn't expecting the novel to be 70% politics. Should Canada declare their independence and break away from Great Britain? Should they rebel and take up arms? Should they stay loyal to the Crown? 
  • I wasn't expecting Marilla to be so caught up in abolition. I knew, of course, that slaves would seek to reach Canada where they would be free--could live free. But I wasn't expecting Marilla to be right there in the middle of it. I wasn't expecting Marilla to be hiding "fugitive" slaves right there at Green Gables. 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Paula Vince 6:52 PM  

I've wondered about this story, and whether Marilla maintains her prosaic, no-nonsense approach, even as a young girl. I had a peep at your spoilers. Sounds like a bit of poetic license was taken. I'd suspect LMM might not have been completely happen with the direction this spin-off took.

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