Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery

Published: 1926 (Re-published - 1989)
Publisher: More than one. 
Page Count: 218 pgs (Paperback)
Genre: Classic, Women's Fiction, Romance, Historical Fiction.
About the Author: Goodreads Page


"Valancy lives a drab life with her overbearing mother and prying aunt. Then a shocking diagnosis from Dr. Trent prompts her to make a fresh start. For the first time, she does and says exactly what she feels. As she expands her limited horizons, Valancy undergoes a transformation, discovering a new world of love and happiness. One of Lucy Maud Montgomery's only novels intended for an adult audience, The Blue Castle is filled with humour and romance."


- Nabbed from the Goodreads Blurb. 
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I love the name Valancy. I love many a V name. Valancy, Verity, Valentina, Victor, Vincent, Vlad! Why, why on earth did Valency Stirling's family decide to call her 'Doss'? Spoiler (not really) - Valancy's family is probably somehow related to the Dursleys. They're absolutely stifling, mundane, and horrible unoriginal and domineering. My favorite kind of villain(s) to see defeated! 'Mwahahhahaa!'

L.M. Montgomery was a huge influence on me as a child. Her books gave me hope and kindness and allowed me the space to be my true strange, little whimsy child. But, I had only ever read Anne with an E and (perhaps, if memory serves) The Story Girl. My best friend loves The Blue Castle. Has been talking of it's amazing-ness since she came across the story in Twilight FanFiction and read the real deal (long story, lol).

The Blue Castle is all about being trapped in a suppressive, hum-drum existence and by fate (or someone's mistake) being triggered into making light-filling life choices. Valancy is a GEM. She's witty, good-hearted, and decidedly unstoppable and independent when she decides to be. So basically, she's the capability of every woman. Yet, she's her own person. She's such a doll. Possibly another one of my spirit animals. (Although I'm pretty sure every L.M. Montgomery heroine is my own, personal spirit animal).

Montgomery draws out the storyline giving us piece, by piece, of her journey in her wonderful descriptions and dialogue. She creates a cast of characters to act as Lighthouses for Valancy. Giving her respite and sanctuary with each step she takes. It's important to distinguish that no one rescues Valancy (except that one time at the party she probably shouldn't have been at, lol). She rescues herself. She is the one that comes up with her decisions, her plans, and puts them in motion. There's a great deal of barriers for a woman in her position in that era but she makes do and comes out on top.  Montgomery creates a contrast with the unhealthy relationships she has with her family/old group and the healthy, mutual-beneficial relationship she builds with her chosen friends. Valancy has good taste. And it all works because she finds her Blue Castle.

What's a Blue Castle? The Blue Castle is the imaginary location residing in Valancy's daydreaming. It's her coping mechanism. A big, shining blue palace where everything is an entirely lovely fairy tale. With a ever-changing but always idyllic true love waiting for her. ;) And you would think that with such a fairy tale fantasy place in her head that she would want more material things. But, what makes her truly happy - her REAL Blue Castle is surprising but entirely expected.

There's no sequel to The Blue Castle and it is one of only works for adults (if not her only!). As an adult I can say that it's 'for adults' in the old fashioned way. As in - it's perfectly fine for tweens/teens. Little kids might not be interested in it though and there is a character death (beautiful written, of course).

Five out of five stars and that is no surprise. It's LM Montgomery, people. She's a literary Queen.

Until next time, 

Jess

2 comments:

  1. Don't hate me... I've never heard of this author before D:

    I feel like I'd have a hard time getting through a book like this. Old timey written books often quickly lose me.

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    Replies
    1. Montgomery is very descriptive and it might be a little old timey but I'd definitely give her a try sometime! Anne of Green Gables is always a good start. :)

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