Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas with Anne

The title: Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories
The author: L.M. Montgomery
Publication: McClelland and Stewart, 1995
Got it from: Mom and dad, Christmas 1996

I reviewed this one before, back when I first started this blog, and reread it again this holiday season.  As I mentioned in my original post, the stories definitely lean on the predictable side, especially if you've read other LM works.  However, if you're looking for gentle, feel-good stories, this is your book.  There's lots of tales of quarreling family members being reunited at Christmas, people learning to be generous to those less fortunate, and mistaken identities inadvertently saving Christmas. 

There are two standout stories in this collection (not mentioning Anne's puffed sleeve dress chapter, which Anne fans will all be familiar with.)  The first is Katherine Brooke Comes to Green Gables, taken from Anne of Windy Poplars.  I love the original story of Katherine Brooke, even more than the version portrayed in the Megan Follows adaptation Anne of Green Gables the Sequel.  There's something very Blue Castle-y about Katherine's transformation from bitter spinster to mellow, happy woman, even if it's through Anne's help rather than for herself.  It's a nice reminder to enjoy the pleasures of life, and not let unhappiness define us. 

The second is a sad story, but its poignancy makes it memorable.  In The Unforgotten One, a young maid is grieving the loss of a family member she served, and thinks no one remembers her as the family reunites at Christmas.  She slips outside to visit the grave, only to overhear each family member, one by one, visit the dead woman and explain how much they miss her.  Montgomery, and Victorian in general, were always close to death, and this story speaks to universal emotion of the bittersweetness of loss.

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