Continuing with my intentions to re-read the entire Anne of Green Gables series, I read Anne of Ingleside a few weeks ago. This book is the first in the series that does not focus exclusively on Anne. Instead, many of the chapters and episodes are about Anne’s children. It has the same beautiful and lyrical writing as all of L. M. Montgomery’s books, and Anne, although not quite as much in the forefront, is her usual delightful self. However, I did not enjoy it as much as the earlier books. Although Anne’s children are just as delightful and whimsical as Anne, I felt disappointed that Anne was present, but not front and center. Really, there is no one main character in the book, as each child get his or her turn in the spotlight. So you don’t get to know any of the children as well as you know Anne, but at the same time you don’t get to be as intimate with Anne. It is interesting to note that this book, like Anne of Windy Poplars, was written much later than the others. I wonder if that contributed to my somewhat less positive reaction.
That said, there are many quotable and wonderful passages, and I enjoyed reading it. I will leave you with a quote from the very first page. This captures well an emotion I am familiar with – the feeling that comes with having two homes, the one you grew up in and the one you have made for yourself as an adult:
She paused for a moment to look about her on hills and woods she had loved in olden days and still loved. Dear Avonlea! Glen St. Mary was home to her now and had been home for many years but Avonlea had something that Glen St. Mary could never have. Ghosts of herself met her at every turn . . . the fields she had roamed in welcomed her . . . unfading echoes of the old sweet life were all about her . . . every spot she looked upon had some lovely memory. There were haunted gardens here and there where bloomed all the roses of yesteryear. Anne always loved to come home to Avonlea even when, as now, the reason for her visit had been a sad one. She and Gilbert had come up for the funeral of his father and Anne had stayed for a week. Marilla and Mrs. Lynde could not bear to have her go away too soon.
Her old porch gable room was always kept for her and when Anne had gone to it the night of her arrival she found that Mrs. Lynde had put a big, homey bouquet of spring flowers in it for her . . . a bouquet that, when Anne buried her face in it, seemed to hold all the fragrance of unforgotten years. The Anne-who-used-to-be was waiting there for her. Deep, dear old gladnesses stirred in her heart. The gable room was putting its arms around her . . . enclosing her . . . enveloping her. She looked lovingly at her old bed with the apple-leaf spread Mrs. Lynde had knitted and the spotless pillows trimmed with deep lace Mrs. Lynde had crocheted . . . at Marilla’s braided rugs on the floor . . . at the mirror that had reflected the face of the little orphan, with her unwritten child’s forehead, who had cried herself to sleep there that first night so long ago. Anne forgot that she was the joyful mother of five children . . . with Susan Baker again knitting mysterious bootees at Ingleside. She was Anne of Green Gables once more.