Anne’s House of Dreams, by L. M. Montgomery, is the fifth book in the Anne series, although it was the fourth to be written. I did not remember most of the storyline, so it was almost like reading it for the first time. It covers Anne and Gilbert’s first two years of married life, and, like the fourth book, has mostly new characters other than Anne and Gilbert. Overall I enjoyed it more than Anne of Windy Poplars, but not as much as the first three books. I felt that it does not go as deep into Anne’s character as the earlier books, and I was also struck by how flat the character of Gilbert is. We readers really hardly get to know him at all; he is essentially a side character there to round out Anne.
However, it was still a very enjoyable book. One of the most delightful and touching aspects of the plot was the beautiful friendship Anne forms with Leslie Moore, a young woman who has had a tragic life. And of course, it contained Montgomery’s wonderful writing style and descriptions. She has an amazing power to evoke feelings out of nature, with passages such as:
The Four Winds light was built on a spur of red sandstone cliff jutting out into the gulf. On one side, across the channel, stretched the silvery sand shore of the bar; on the other extended a long curving beach of red cliffs, rising steeply from the pebbled coves. It was a shore that knew the magic and mystery of storm and star. There is a great solitude about such a shore. The woods are never solitary – they are full of whispering, beckoning, friendly life. But the sea is a mighty soul, for ever moaning of some great, unshareable sorrow, which shuts it up into itself for all eternity. We can never pierce its infinite mystery – we may only wander, awed and spellbound, on the outer fringe of it. The woods call to us with a hundred voices, but the sea has one only – a mighty voice that drowns our souls in its majestic music. The woods are human, but the sea is of the company of the archangels.