Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery




My Thoughts:

I'm slowly making my way through Lucy Maud Montgomery's books, with the encouragement of the yearly Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge @ Reading to Know. This year, it also doubled for the January Reading to Know Classic Book Club. I chose to read The Blue Castle, which was the pick for last year's book club pick. Due to my pickiness concerning font size while reading, I ended up passing on the read, and instead read Kilmeny of the Orchard. THIS year, there was a lovely kindle edition of The Blue Castle, which was perfect for me.

I truly do love Montgomery's books(generally, and so far), but I often find myself with a baffled look on my face while reading. Unfortunately, I also allow my sarcasm to come out too often while reading her works. I'm almost tempted to put some of her books, this one included, on my "wonderfully weird" list. ;) I probably mention this every year, but they are also slow reads for me. As much as I'm enjoying the story, I don't find myself pulled back to it without the added encouragement of the reading challenge. That's why I'm so grateful for it!

I've also been slowly making my way through some of Montgomery's short stories. I think I've discovered a new tradition for myself during the month of December. Her Christmas short stories couldn't be more perfect for Christmas time. Short and sugar sweet! There are some of the regular stories that have annoyed me, though. It seems to be the ones with a male narrator. I don't overly like the way Montgomery writes her men, with a few exceptions. I find myself wanting to smack them upside the head(with a pillow).

To the subject of this post now!

In The Blue Castle, we meet Valancy Sterling. She is 29 and no hope of marriage is in sight. She's sad about this, and the fact that she's never allowed to have any fun, thanks to the strict nature of her mother and extended family. She even has to sneak moments to read, and then feels guilty about it. I felt sorry for her, and I can't imagine how bored I would have been with the life she was forced to lead. She sometimes lets her imagination take her to her Blue Castle, though, where she creates different "lovers" to fit her mood.

When she learns that she has a heart condition that will take her life at any moment, most certainly within the next year, she decides to have some fun.

I both loved and hated this book!

I loved the portion of the story where Valancy decides to have fun. She goes a bit crazy, and I found it all humorous. I also felt a little guilty about it, because she was being awful mean at times. She became excessively judgmental to her family, even if she still loves them. I admit, they had plenty of faults, and needed a wake-up call. (Unfortunately, I don't feel they ever learned their lesson, or became accepting of the person Valancy truly was.) Also, I just liked Valancy. I couldn't help but cheer for her as she learned who she was and had fun with it.

I didn't like the way everyone felt the need to point out to her that she wasn't a beauty. My word! If everyone I met felt the need to tell me I wasn't a beauty, I would curl up in a ball, and never leave my room. The truth doesn't always have to be said out loud! (A lesson I constantly need to remind myself of.) I suppose that just shows another great personality trait for Valancy. She took it all in stride, and didn't seem to let it bother her.

I really enjoyed the little mysteries that unfolded through the story. I guessed part of them, but not the other part. I've grown to expect an ending with Montgomery that ties everything up in a nice, neat, unrealistic(sometimes ridiculously so) bow.

Again, I DO enjoy Montgomery's writing, though so far, none of it has compared to Anne of Green Gables. I enjoyed The Blue Castle, for the most part, and I'm looking forward to exploring more of the worlds that were created through Montgomery's imagination. I also grabbed a lovely combination kindle copy of Pat of Silver Bush + Mistress Pat. I MAY even visit those stories before next year's challenge! :)


*Side note: The version I read "bleeped" out several words, which I imagine were mild profanity. (One didn't get bleeped out.) I couldn't help but snicker, and wish that all kindle books had a way to "bleep" out certain words.

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What is your favorite Montgomery book? I'd love to hear your thoughts concerning this book or even Montgomery's work, in general.



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L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge


Reading to Know - Book Club


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9 comments:

  1. I think I feel a lot like you when it comes to LMM. I related to Pat of SB/Mistress Pat more than Anne, but I'm not sure I like them more...but they are a favorite. And, good news, I thought they read faster than typical LMM books. :)

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    1. I remember you really liking Pat, so I'm excited to give them a try! :) (I had searched around for copies, with no luck, so I was thrilled when they turned up on kindle...especially for so cheap.)

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  2. YOUR REVIEW WAS SO WONDERFULLY ENTERTAINING! (I used all caps and an exclamation mark just to Montgomery-ize my statement.)

    I did so thoroughly enjoy reading your thoughts. LMM absolutely does tie things up in neat little bows. I think reading her journals has made me become even more interested in her writing because it's so bizarre to hear about someone's horrible personal life while reading all of these happy cutsie stories. It's a fascinating dichotomy.

    I'm laughing about your wanting to smack the male narrators over the head (with a pillow). I've never actually thought about that aspect of Montgomery before. Hmmm!!

    And then, too, I agree with you that if someone were constantly told how unattractive and ugly they were, it would tend to make them shut down from the world. Which I suppose makes Valancy a little more admirable.

    Fun! I'm so glad that you read along and shared your thoughts. I so enjoyed hearing them.

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    1. I love the nice, neat bows at the end, though. It's refreshing for me. (most the time) :)

      I always think about what you've written concerning LMM's real life, and I'm constantly amazed at how different her books are, too. I love the cutesy stories, but it makes me extra sad for her.

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  3. Interesting! I actually hadn't heard of this title. I'll have to find a copy for my collection. :)

    The Anne of Green Gables books are my favorite. I have a book of her short stories which have been entertaining to say the least. I purchased the Christmas Short stories a while back at a book sale, but haven't had a chance to read them. Hopefully, soon. :)

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    1. I've been digging through the short story collections for the Christmas ones, so I'll have to locate the collection dedicated to just Christmas stories. They are entertaining! ;)

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  4. The Blue Castle is my favorite after the Anne books. Valancy's transformation is so fun. I also liked Kilmeny of the Orchard and Jane of Lantern Hill.

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    1. I still need to finish up the Anne books! I haven't read Jane's story yet, either, but I'm looking forward to it. :)

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  5. I've heard this book is excellent, so I've been meaning to read it. Perhaps this will be the year. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

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