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Book Review: The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid  (5 star review)

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

written by Catherine Reid

280 pages // published in 2018 // cultural/travel non-fiction


Anne of Green Gables is a worldwide phenomenon that has sold over fifty million copies and inspired numerous films, plays, musicals, and television series. It has turned Prince Edward Island into a multimillion-dollar tourist destination visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year. In The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, Catherine Reid reveals how Lucy Maud Montgomery’s deep connection to the landscape inspired her to write Anne of Green Gables. From the Lake of Shining Waters and the Haunted Wood to Lover’s Lane, readers will be immersed in the real places immortalized in the novel. Using Montgomery’s journals, archives, and scrapbooks, Reid explores the many similarities between Montgomery and her unforgettable heroine, Anne Shirley. The lush package includes Montgomery’s hand-colorized photographs, the illustrations originally used in Anne of Green Gables, and contemporary and historical photography.

My Review

5 Star Rating

So much of the beloved Anne books is centered upon the land, the scenic landscapes described. These descriptions add poetry and romanticism to the stories. When you read the Anne books yourself, tell me, weren't you inspired by the beauty of Prince Edward Island? It creates the very atmosphere of the story, and if you read between the lines, the elements of nature express and emphasize the plot and emotions therein. Some of this, I subconsciously knew before. After reading this book though, I have keener insight in the lay of Montgomery's land.

Reading this book brings out areas of Anne's character too, which I never thought about before, myself... and yet it rings true nonetheless. Her passions (and Montgomery's) are expressed through the moods of the outside world. So many nuances are there in Montgomery's writings, when it comes to her island, but you have to search the pages for it.

"It's to the natural world, then, that each girl turns when her soul is beginning to despair. The inspiration found there not only shifts her mood, it changes the very caliber of the writing, the sentences seemingly possessed of a new vitality, bringing readers into a brighter, better place."
- Catherine Reid

Such a remarkable and stunning collection of pictures are included; some from Montgomery's private collection (even taken by her own hand); some modern day shots of the bright and colorful landscapes. The red cliffs of P.E.I. just steal the show for me, so beautiful they are in photos. But I think my heart stopped beating, and I may have stopped breathing air for a moment, when I saw an actual picture of Lover's Lane in the 1920s. I think you'll feel the same way.

This book feels magical. I think it could be a balm for a hurting heart. You're seeing fictional places out in the real world (they never were "fictional" anyway). Lover's Lane, the Lake of Shining Waters, the White Lady... and it all increases my desire to visit these landmarks myself. There is so much good-feeling nostalgia locked away in this volume. You must get it for yourself!

I'm so glad to have gone on a tour via the vehicle of a book -- armchair travel. It will suffice until I go to P.E.I. to take it all in myself in person, some blissful distant day.

"I had... then as now, two great refuges and consolations -- the world of nature and the world of books. They kept life in my soul; they made me love my home because of my dreams and rambles and the deep joy and delight they gave me -- because of the halo they threw over what was otherwise bare and savorless."
- L.M. Montgomery

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  1. That looks like a great book, I still haven't read the Anne books

  2. This is the first time that I have seen this one! I am in love with the whole concept. Definitely one for my TBR. I am so glad that you enjoyed it. :)