Carrie's L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge this month, and it was fun reaquainting myself with the pages of a favorite author. I mentioned that January seems to be a month that I pull out the familiar (after the holiday hectic) and this challenge was a perfect fit!
The two books that I read were Jane of Lantern Hill and Chronicles of Avonlea. Jane is one of my favorite Montgomery works and one that I have read many times. Jane lives with her mother and extremely strict grandmother (and an aunt that doesn't figure much into the story) in Toronto. As far as she knows, her father has been dead for many years. She trudges along in life - struggling in school, continually at odds with her grandmother, and wondering why her mother is always so sad. Then, one day, after chance comment from a schoolmate, she finds out that her father is alive! At this point, it doesn't make much impact on her life, other that it is one more person that dislikes her, but then ... a letter arrives from her father and she embarks on a summer journey to stay with him on Prince Edward Island!
The story is mostly set during her two summers with her father. Out from under the criticizing eye of her grandmother, Jane blossoms. She finds a kindred spirit in her father and the two of them set up housekeeping in a home that is full of "magic." She teaches herself to cook, makes wonderful friends, and has several adventures. When she returns home to winters with her mother, changes are noticed in Jane. Along the way, Jane also uncovers some of the mystery of why her parents are no longer together ... but I'll leave the rest of you to read about that because the book has a wonderful ending.
I don't know why I am so drawn to Jane. I think it is the simplicity of her days, the joy she takes in her homemaking, the excitement that she finds in everything whether it is a fresh posy of flowers or a red, ripe bunch of strawberries. Her childhood days, while burdened with the separation of her parents, are spent knowing that she is loved and, for the first time with her father, she is encouraged and allowed to blossom as Jane, not as what her grandmother wants her to be.
As a side note, there is also a movie version of Jane of Lantern Hill. It's been several years since I have watched it, but I remember enjoying it. It looks to be unavailable, but a library might have it tucked away somewhere. :)
The 2nd book I read for the challenge was Chronicles of Avonlea, a collection of short stories with familiar and unfamiliar characters that are linked some how to either Anne or Avonlea. If you have watched any of the Road to Avonlea series that was on the Disney Channel, you will recognize a couple of these stories as they were woven into the sweet series.
I have read this book before. However, as I was re-reading it for the challenge, I was a little frustrated with it. The stories weren't long enough. Just when they had me hooked into the characters and the story, it ended! And moved on to someone else! It is safe to say that I don't read many short stories. :) I want to read a loooong book that I can get buried in, getting to know all about the characters, and come out wanting more.
Seriously, if you need little tastes of life in Avonlea, these stories are perfect. Short, with characters that are full of quirks and personality ... these are great for a quick read when you have just a moment to sit down.
For more reviews on other works by L.M. Montgomery, head over to Reading to Know. And thank you, Carrie, for hosting this fun challenge. :)