In the Bookcase


Book Review: Jane of Lantern Hill

Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery (5 star review)

Jane of Lantern Hill

written by L.M. Montgomery

274 pages // published in 1937 // literary children's fiction


For as long as she could remember, Jane Stuart and her mother lived with her grandmother in a dreary mansion in Toronto. Jane always believed her father was dead until she accidentally learned he was alive and well and living on Prince Edward Island. When Jane spends the summer at his cottage on Lantern Hill, doing all the wonderful things Grandmother deems unladylike, she dares to dream that there could be such a house back in Toronto...a house where she, Mother, and Father could live together without Grandmother directing their lives -- a house that could be called home.

My Review...

5 Star Rating

This novel is like reading a dream come true.

I feel like I could gush for a month on the superior qualities of this novel. I feel like L.M. Montgomery really outdid herself! Of course, I've always liked Anne of Green Gables, but it's been so many years since I've read Anne, that I can hardly believe if it was ever half so fun to read as Jane of Lantern Hill. Certainly, the author's most famous book has to rank close, right? (Herein I digress. That is a discussion for another time when I re-read Anne.)

For me, this book represents more of an emotion than it does a plot. (Of course, this is based on my personal feelings and how touched I was in reading it. This is also not to say that there is no arcing plot -- as can happen say, particularly in Victorian literature -- but not so in this case.) Regardless, this book will forever represent JOY and PLEASURE and GLITTERY HAPPINESS in my mind.

The heroine. So, let's talk about Miss Jane herself. She's a caring little creature, filled with hope. Since she lives in a heavily guarded "gilded cage" with her mother and wealthy grandmother, she has no need to do menial work (even though sometimes she desires to), but would never be allowed to such. What is so striking is that when given the chance, she takes to cooking and cleaning and other such chores so easily -- so enviously easy. This added so much to the dream-like aura of the plot. She'd dreamt about and studied the tasks she wanted to do for so long that she effortlessly was able to to fall right into the work, lickety split! Wouldn't that be amazing if we all could perform such miracles? What a capable girl she is -- surely a role model for the girls of the 1930s/1940s (honestly, what did those girls think when they first read Jane?).

The other characters. I have many new favorite characters by meeting them in this novel. I think I fell in love with every single character in the entirety of the book (not because I believe they would all make agreeable friends, but because no matter their personality, they contribute something important to the overall story). But 2 stand out above the rest, and it's a good vs. evil battle between the duo. There's Victoria Kennedy, the all-important, overbearing matriarch of the family. Her acidic tongue caught even me off guard sometimes; her carefully crafted insults certainly riled me, but often set me off in laughing fits. I shan't soon forget her. Turning to the other corner, we see Andrew Stuart entering -- Jane's estranged father. The man she didn't even know existed. I could write much of him too, but I'll keep some mystery shrouding 'round him. But what would you think if this is how your dad talked to you?

"Sorry I couldn't get in last night but my jovial, disreputable old car died right on the road. I managed to restore it to life this morning . . . at least long enough to hop into town like a toad . . ."

The chapters. While reading Jane, I felt like never before had I experienced the thrill of chapters in a book. No, seriously. Don't you ever wonder why books (that is the plain, ordinary, everyday kind) even have chapters? Just because of tradition -- "that's how books are written". But in this book, it was literally like being able to experience a "chapter" of Jane's life with her. Each chapter encapsulates an individual event or thought of hers. By reading 5 chapters in one sitting, I so then felt that I had experienced 5 brand new things with young, enchanting Jane Stuart.

One thing is for certain -- more people need to read Jane of Lantern Hill. If you enjoyed Anne of Green Gables at all, then you, like myself, will certainly revel in this novel -- which history and fellow bookworms don't speak of often enough.

In short? Utter bliss. This story has tickled my literary fancy and strummed my heartstrings in a terrible fashion.

Now, if only I can locate the 1990 film adaptation, and upon viewing it, not be disappointed.

Jane of Lantern Hill is available on Project Gutenburg AU in e-book format, and on Amazon in paperback, and e-book format.

P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to add this to my reading list. I read a few of the Anne of Green Gables books with my daughter when she was young, and I think we'd both love this one too-- if she hasn't read it without me in the meantime!