Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery #AnneReadalong2017

Note: Jane at Greenish Bookshelf and Jackie at Death By Tsundoku are co-hosting an Anne of Green Gables series readalong for the remainder of the year.  Check out their blogs for more info on how to join the fun!

“Gilbert darling, don’t let’s ever be afraid of things.  It’s such dreadful slavery.  Let’s be daring and adventurous and expectant.  Let’s dance to meet life and all it can bring to us, even if it brings scads of trouble and typhoid and twins!”

68f9201c86e4a036de539fc195ea8766--anne-of-windy-poplars-large-housesAh, the power of low expectations!  I’d been warned by Melanie that the even-numbered books in this series weren’t as good as the odd ones.  Plus, my own experience with the second book made me set my bar pretty low for Anne of Windy Poplars.  How nice to be surprised!  I ended up really enjoying this and felt almost sad when I finished it.

Windy Poplars introduces a new kind of structure to the series, with many of the chapters in the form of letters from Anne to her beloved Gilbert Blythe.  I confess that when I read the first chapter I thought, “Dude, this chapter is too long to be an actual letter to someone!”  But then I just went with it and forgot about my minor quibble.  Anne tells Gilbert early on that he’ll only get a romantic letter from her when she has exactly the right kind of pen.  I am most grateful that we are spared the lovey-dovey stuff between Anne and Gilbert.  Call me a crank, go ahead!  This book is about Anne and her last years of being an independent,  single young lady. I can read all about shmoopy-ness in the next book (or so I hear!)

I didn’t know if I could take all the ridiculous Pringle business at first.  In fact, as I took notes during my reading I labeled two people “pills” and two others names that I won’t print here out of decency.  🙂  But Anne worked her innumerable charms (and wasn’t above a little innocent suggested blackmail) and turned around all the unfriendly and hostile Pringles and others in Summerside.  Two of my favorite victories of Anne’s were when she sat with the wheelchair-bound Mrs. Gibson, allowing Pauline to go to her friend’s wedding and enjoy a glorious day of freedom, and the matchmaking of Nora and Jim Wilcox.

I actually shed some tears when I read about poor Teddy Armstrong.  I could tear up just thinking about it now, his poor father all alone without a picture of his beloved little boy.  Finding his nephew Lewis brought some measure of peace but still it was a very sad event, the saddest so far in the series.

AnneOfWindyPoplarsI very much enjoyed Anne’s hosts, Aunt Chatty and Aunt Kate, and their no-nonsense housekeeper Rebecca Dew.  Rebecca’s funniest moment was when she grumbled, “Do you s’pose they’ll ask us at the judgement day how many petticoats we’ve got on?” and then went into the kitchen before anyone could comment.

I was left with a sense of melancholy when I finished the book, because I realized that this was the last installment before Anne and Gilbert get married.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for their marriage.  It’s just that Anne is such an independent, strong, resourceful young woman in a time when most young women didn’t dare have dreams or independent lives beyond the hope of marriage and children.  Maybe I’m anxious because I’ve never read the series before and I just don’t know that Anne will retain her strong nature and not just become a mother to little “Davy and Dora”-type kids.  I want Anne to continue to solve problems and bring people together and charm people into doing what she wants!  Maybe those of you who have read this series before can soothe my fears on that score.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by Windy Poplars and would definitely consider reading it again someday. The epistolary nature grew on me, as did Anne’s (sometimes unlikely) propensity for matchmaking and solving people’s problems.  Four stars.

(This is book #13 of #20BooksofSummer.)

24 thoughts on “Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery #AnneReadalong2017

  1. I’ve never read this book but I know I would have the same thought as you if I started reading something unbelievable: ‘dude this is not realistic!’ LOL

    I find having low expectations throughout life really helps me. For instance, I fully expect my daughter to pee all over herself when out and about, and when it doesn’t happen I feel like I’ve scored a victory 🙂

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  2. It’s probably been literally 19-20 years since I’ve read the series, so they’ve all kind of blended together in my mind. I do remember that I felt they tailed off by the end, when it’s more about Anne and Gilbert’s children. I’m long overdue for a reread.

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  3. What a fabulous review – I am so glad you liked it more than you thought you would! And it’s been so long since I read the series, I too, felt a little sad about Anne minus her singledom…always thought there could have been another book squeezed in between this one and Anne’s House of Dreams – that wasn’t all letters and such – then I would be all ready for her to settle down and be all motherly…

    I DO remember vaguely that she ends up adopting spinsters and gruff people, and maybe a cat???
    And fixing all manner of things in the next one…so fear not!

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  4. Fabulous review! I remember being so excited to read this one because I love the word “poplars.” Silly thing, I know. But I can so relate to Anne when she says she’ll write a letter when she finds the perfect pen – kindred spirit!! 😀 🖋

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  5. Yay! I am soooooo glad that this book was a win for you! The power of low expectations provided you a victory in this sense. In fact, your review is so infectious, I almost want to go back and re-read this book to find more love in it. I think I set my own expectations too high as I adore epistolary novels. Oops!

    I agree with you that I am hoping Anne will retain some of her independence. I’m a little anxious to see what happens as she and Gilbert begin to nest. While I adore Marilla, I hope that Anne’s mothering just reflects herself as a child. That said, we might get some amazing antics from their kids… Here’s hoping to that, at least!

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      1. Agreed. Poor Dora– I still feel bad for her. She is the flattest, least appreciated character I’ve read in a long time. I honestly don’t know why she is even written into this story up to this point. She hasn’t added anything but to be ridiculed. It makes me quite sad.

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  6. I’m so glad you liked this one! When I was young, I didn’t like it as much, because I was anxious for Anne and Gilbert to be together. But now there’s so much about it that I like – one of the best being Rebecca Dew.
    Anne’s House of Dreams has a lot more of Anne, but after that the focus is on their children. But it’s all good!

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  7. You are the first bigger I’ve encountered to say you love this book! Glad I could lower your expectations! 😄 I think the mini stories in this book at fantastic, but made me eager to read Montgomery’s short story collections (I bought one on ghost stories and one about weddings). I only wish I had known it was interconnected stories that carried a longer narrative to some degree. Over time, we’ll lose parts of Anne, but she will be replaced by characters you’ll love (in one case for me, a character I loved more than Anne *gasp*).

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  8. Heheh. I love that Melanie acknowledges that her lowering of your expectations increased the likelihood that you might enjoy it! This is one that I loved as a girl because it was letters, and, no, it never occurred to me that letters wouldn’t be long as I wrote irritatingly long ones myself, but I hated the lovey-dovey bits and I hated the fact that Anne was growing older all the time. Naomi was anxious for her and Gilbert to get together, but I was hoping she’d get back to romping with Diana and drinking too much raspberry cordial and puffing up her sleeves for recitals! (I got over it as an adult – I think you’ll enjoy the rest just as much.)

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  9. I love the next in the series – possibly my favourite of them all except for Anne of Green Gables. But, in truth, I did get progressively disappointed in how Anne developed from there on. I think you’ll find enough of the old Anne in the next one, though – there are some very strong storylines in it. Enjoy!

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