Title: Anne's House of Dreams.
Author: L.M. Montgomery.
Genre: Fiction, YA, children's lit, teen lit.
Publication Date: 1917.
Summary: Anne's own true love, Gilbert Blythe, is finally a doctor, and in the sunshine of the old orchard, among their dearest friends, they are about to speak their vows. Soon the happy couple will be bound for a new life together and their own dream house, on the misty purple shores of Four Winds Harbor. A new life means fresh problems to solve, fresh surprises. Anne and Gilbert will make new friends and meet their neighbors: Captain Jim, the lighthouse attendant, with his sad stories of the sea; Miss Cornelia Bryant, the lady who speaks from the heart - and speaks her mind; and the tragically beautiful Leslie Moore, into whose dark life Anne shines a brilliant light.
My rating: 8.5/10
My Review: yet again Montgomery proves that one of her greatest gifts is coming up with incredibly lovable, relatable, almost-painfully human characters.
♥ Human nature is not obliged to be consistent.
♥ "Lad, I know. I've lost friends before because of this. I don't blame them. There are times when I feel hardly friendly to myself because of it. Such a power has a bit of divinity in it - whether of a good or an evil divinity who shall say? And we mortals all shrink from too close contact with God or devil."
♥ "Do you think he did see it?" demanded Captain Jim abruptly.
"God knows," said Gilbert softly. "Great love and great pain might compass we know not what marvels."
♥ "I love to smell flowers in the dark," she said. "You get hold of their soul then."
♥ "It's rather hard to decide just when people are grown up," laughed Anne.
"That's a true word, dearie. Some are grown up when they're born, and others ain't grown up when they're eighty, believe me. That same Mrs. Roderick I was speaking of never grew up. She was as foolish when she was a hundred as when she was ten."
"Perhaps that was why she lived so long," suggested Anne.
"Maybe 'twas. I'd rather live fifty sensible years than a hundred foolish ones."
"But just think what a dull world it would be if everyone was sensible," pleaded Anne.
♥ 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, forever moaning of some great, unshareable sorrow, which shits it up into itself for all eternity. We can never pierce its infinite mystery - we may only wander, awed and spell-bound, 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.
♥ Some of them city folks who have summer homes over the harbour are so thoughtless that they're cruel. It's the worst kind of cruelty - the thoughtless kind.
♥ "There isn't any devil in a good dog. That's why they're more lovable than cat, I reckon. But I'm darned if they're as interesting."
♥ "Do you know, Captain Jim, I never like walking with a lantern. I have always the strangest feeling that just outside the circle of light, just over its edge in the darkness, I am surrounded by a ring of furtive, sinister things, watching me from the shadows with hostile eyes. I've had that feeling from childhood. What is the reason? I never feel like that when I'm really in the darkness - when it is close all around me - I'm not the least frightened."
"I've something of that feeling myself," admitted Captain Jim. "I reckon when the darkness is close to us it is a friend. But when we sorter push it away from us - divorce ourselves from it, so to speak, with lantern light - it becomes an enemy."
♥ "I like to ponder on all kinds of problems, though I can't solve 'em," said Captain Jim. "My father held that we should never talk of things we couldn't understand, but if we didn't, doctor, the subjects for conversation would be mighty few."
♥ "Eliphalet Baxter lived too much alone - hadn't even a cat or dog to keep him human."
♥ The last day of the old year was one of those bright, cold dazzling winter days, which bombard us with their brilliancy, and command our admiration but never our love. The sky was sharp and blue; the snow diamonds sparkled insistently; the stark trees were brave and shameless, with a kind of brazen beauty; the hills shot assaulting lances of crystal. Even the shadows were sharp and stiff and clear-cut, as no proper shadows should be. Everything that was handsome seemed ten times handsomer and less attractive in the glaring splendour; and everything that was ugly seemed ten times uglier, and everything was either handsome or ugly. There was no soft blending, or kind obscurity, or elusive mistiness in that searching glitter. The only things that held their own individuality were the firs - for the fir is the tree of mystery and shadows, and yields never to the encroachments of crude radiance.
But finally the day began to realise that she was growing old. Then a certain pensiveness fell over her glittering points, melted away into curves and enticing gleams. The while harbour put on soft grays and pinks; the far-away hills turned amethyst.
"The old year is going away beautifully," said Anne.
♥ "Death grows friendlier as we grow older. Not that one of us really wants to die though, Marshall. Tennyson spoke truth when he said that. There's old Mrs. Wallace yup at the Glen. She's had heaps of trouble all her life, poor soul, and she's lost almost everyone she cared about. She's always saying that she'll be glad when the times comes, and she doesn't want to sojourn any longer in this vale of tears. But when she takes a sick spell there's a fuss! Doctors from town, and trained nurse, and enough medicine to kill a dog. Life may be a vale of tears, all right, but there are some folks who enjoy weeping, I reckon."
♥ "Oh, I don't know - but I love my garden, and I love working in it. To potter with green, growing things, watching each day to see the dear, new sprouts come up, is like taking a hand in creation, I think. Just now my garden is like faith - the substance of things hoped for."
♥ "I wonder why people so commonly suppose that if two individuals are both writers they must therefore be hugely congenial," said Anne, rather scornfully. "Nobody would expect two blacksmiths to be violently attracted towards each other merely because they were blacksmiths."
♥ He told how his vessel had been run down by a steamer; how he had been boarded by Malay pirates; how his ship had caught fire; how he helped a political prisoner escape from a South African republic; how he had been wrecked one fall on the Magdalens and stranded there for the winter; how a tiger had broken loose on board ship; how his crew had mutinied and marooned him on a barren island - these and many other tales, tragic or humorous or grotesque, did Captain Jim relate. The mystery of the sea, the fascination of far lands, the lure of adventure, the laughter of the world - his hearers felt and realised them all.
♥ "It's so beautiful that it hurts me," said Anne softly. "Perfect things like that always did hurt me - I remember I called it 'the queer ache' when I was a child. What is the reason that pain like this seems inseparable from perfection? Is it the pain of finality - when we realise that there can be nothing beyond but retrogression?"
"Perhaps," said Owen dreamily, "it is the prisoned infinite in us calling to its kindred infinite as expressed in that visible perfection."
♥ "Why is it that so many of the words connected with death are so disagreeable? I do wish that the custom of calling a dead body 'the remains' could be abolished. I positively shiver when I hear the undertaker say at a funeral, 'All who wish to see the remains please step this way.' It always fives me the horrible impression that I am about to view the scene of a cannibal feast."
♥ Duty in the abstract is one thing; duty in the concrete is quite another, especially when the doer is confronted by a woman's stricken eyes.
♥ Anne's convalescence was rapid and happy. Folks came and worshipped the baby, as people have bowed before the kingship of the new-born since long before the Wise Men of the East knelt in homage to the Royal Babe of the Bethlehem manger.
♥ "I see happiness for all of you - all of you - for Leslie and Mr. Ford - and the Doctor here and Mistress Blythe - and Little Jem - and children that ain't born yet but will be. Happiness for you all - though, mind you, I reckon, you'll have your troubles and worries and sorrows, too. They're bound to come - and no house, whether it's a palace of a little house of dreams, can bar 'em out. But they won't get the better of you if you face 'em together with love and trust. You can weather any storm with them two for compass and pilot."