L. M. Montgomery, the beloved Canadian author, bestowed upon us the vibrant world of Avonlea through her celebrated series, beginning with “Anne of Green Gables.”
In this enchanting sequel, “Anne of Avonlea,” Montgomery allows us to delve deeper into the life and adventures of the fiery-haired Anne Shirley, who captured our hearts in the first novel.
As a continuation of Anne’s journey, this sequel offers readers a chance to see her transformation from an impulsive orphan with boundless imagination to a young woman tasked with responsibilities and challenges in the close-knit community of Avonlea.
Set against the backdrop of the idyllic Prince Edward Island, “Anne of Avonlea” commences as Anne Shirley, now sixteen, assumes her new role as the schoolteacher of Avonlea.
A task easier said than done, for her students range from diligent learners to mischief-makers, challenging Anne’s patience and teaching prowess.
Nevertheless, with her trademark optimism, Anne navigates these challenges, learning the ropes of teaching and discovering the joys and tribulations of shaping young minds.
But Avonlea is not just about school. The novel brings forth a parade of delightful episodes and characters, each contributing to the tapestry of Anne’s life.
Notably, there are the twins, Davy and Dora; Marilla Cuthbert’s distant relatives.
Davy, with his mischievous antics, often finds himself at odds with Anne’s notions of proper behavior, while Dora is the gentler, more reserved of the two.
As Anne settles into her teaching role, she also becomes an active member of the community.
She, along with her close friends, including Diana Barry, forms the “Avonlea Village Improvement Society” (AVIS).
Their noble intentions, however, often lead to comical outcomes, like the time they mistakenly dye a neighbor’s cow blue.
Through these episodes, Montgomery paints a vivid portrait of life in Avonlea, where each day brings new adventures, challenges, and invaluable life lessons for Anne and her friends.
In essence, “Anne of Avonlea” is not just a story of Anne’s progression into young adulthood but also a heartfelt portrayal of a community, its quirks, and the bonds that tie its members together.
“Anne of Avonlea” bears witness to Anne Shirley’s continuous journey of self-discovery.
The curious and fiery-headed girl we met in “Anne of Green Gables” has blossomed into a young woman of responsibility, although she still retains a touch of her youthful exuberance.
Her role as a teacher in Avonlea has undoubtedly molded her, bringing a sense of maturity and patience that wasn’t as pronounced in her earlier days.
But it’s not just Anne who has evolved. Marilla Cuthbert, once the stern guardian, softens further in this sequel, especially in her interactions with the twins, Davy and Dora.
Her relationship with Anne, too, has grown deeper and more maternal, revealing a touching dynamic between the two.
Diana Barry, Anne’s “bosom friend,” also undergoes subtle changes. As both young women step into adulthood, their bond remains unbreakable, but with a hint of maturity.
And let’s not forget Gilbert Blythe.
His presence is felt more profoundly, his interactions with Anne becoming more nuanced, hinting at the deeper connection that fans of the series adore.
Newcomers, especially the twins, play a pivotal role in shaping the narrative.
Davy, with his unruly nature, often acts as a mirror to Anne’s own childhood mischief, reminding her (and us) of her past antics.
Dora, in contrast, is a steady, calming influence, perhaps symbolizing the balance that Anne strives to achieve in her own life.
Themes and Symbols
A recurring theme in “Anne of Avonlea” is the inexorable passage of time and the changes it brings.
Avonlea, though still the charming Hamlet, undergoes subtle shifts, mirroring Anne’s own growth.
The once reckless girl is now a figure of authority, guiding her students just as she was once guided.
Nature remains a central motif in Montgomery’s storytelling.
The landscapes of Prince Edward Island, described in Montgomery’s rich prose, are more than just a backdrop; they’re symbolic of Anne’s inner emotions and growth.
The changing seasons in Avonlea parallel the phases of Anne’s life, with each season bringing its joys and challenges.
Community and kinship, too, stand out as pivotal themes.
The tight-knit community of Avonlea, with its shared laughter, sorrows, and little adventures, emphasizes the importance of togetherness.
The Village Improvement Society, while a source of comic relief, also underlines the spirit of unity and the collective desire to better one’s surroundings.
Writing Style and Literary Techniques
L. M. Montgomery’s “Anne of Avonlea” can be likened to a delightful waltz through the seasons of Prince Edward Island.
Montgomery’s prose is inherently lyrical, imbued with a warmth that invites readers into the world she’s created.
Each description, whether of the windswept shores or the cozy nooks of Green Gables, feels tactile, painting images that linger in one’s mind.
Montgomery’s wit shines through the narrative.
The humor in “Anne of Avonlea” is often gentle, derived from the everyday follies and eccentricities of its characters, making it all the more relatable.
This novel, perhaps even more than its predecessor, uses humor to underscore the charm of the ordinary and the unpredictability of life.
One of Montgomery’s most potent tools is dialogue.
The conversations between characters are never just exchanges; they’re windows into their souls.
Anne’s passionate discourses, Davy’s mischievous quips, and Marilla’s often terse yet affectionate responses all serve to provide depth to their characters, letting us understand their fears, hopes, and the essence of who they are.
“Anne of Avonlea” and “Anne of Green Gables” are two sides of the same coin.
While the former introduced us to a spirited orphan finding her way in a new world, the latter showcases her evolution into a young woman, gracefully (and sometimes comically) shouldering responsibilities.
The tone of “Anne of Avonlea” is mature, mirroring Anne’s own growth. While “Anne of Green Gables” was filled with the wide-eyed wonder of a girl discovering a world full of possibilities, its sequel deals with the realities of those choices and their consequences.
Anne’s interactions, especially with her students, are reminiscent of her past encounters with authority figures, offering a full-circle moment.
Yet, at its heart, the essence remains consistent.
Both novels cherish the idea of finding beauty in the mundane, the importance of dreams, and the value of community and love.
The setting, the idyllic Avonlea, remains a constant, even as the characters within evolve.
The progression from the first book to the second feels natural, a logical next chapter in the tale of Anne Shirley.
Reading “Anne of Avonlea” feels like reuniting with an old friend.
The charm of Anne Shirley, the one who made us laugh with her innocent mischief in “Anne of Green Gables,” now makes us nod in understanding as she faces the trials and tribulations of young adulthood.
The book, in many ways, mirrors our own growth.
We’ve all been at that juncture in life, straddling the line between youth and maturity, grappling with responsibilities while clinging onto remnants of childhood dreams.
The introduction of Davy and Dora, especially Davy’s playful antics, serves as a poignant reminder of Anne’s earlier days.
For many readers, including myself, it’s a bittersweet moment, realizing that our beloved Anne is no longer that impulsive young girl, but someone who now reprimands similar behavior in others.
It beautifully captures the cycle of life, where the once rebellious become the pillars of authority.
Moreover, Montgomery’s depiction of Avonlea is therapeutic.
In today’s bustling world, the allure of such a close-knit community, where everyone knows everyone, and life’s pace is dictated by the changing seasons, offers an escape.
It’s a return to simpler times, where joy is derived from nature’s beauty, shared laughter, and the company of good friends.
“Anne of Avonlea” is a testament to L. M. Montgomery’s prowess as a storyteller.
It’s not merely a continuation of Anne’s journey but a reflection of the universal voyage of growth and self-discovery.
The book encapsulates the essence of life in Avonlea, with its myriad characters, each adding a unique flavor to the narrative.
What makes it truly special is its authenticity.
Whether it’s Anne’s struggles and victories as a teacher, the comical misadventures of the Village Improvement Society, or the simple joys and sorrows of its inhabitants, every element feels real and relatable.
And while the book beautifully sets the stage for subsequent adventures in the series, it stands strong on its own, offering a story that is both heartwarming and reflective.
For anyone seeking a tale that resonates with the soul, brings both smiles and tears, and transports one to a world where love, community, and nature reign supreme, “Anne of Avonlea” is a must-read.
The magic of Montgomery’s Avonlea is timeless, and this book is yet another gem in its illustrious saga.
Our Rating for “Anne of Avonlea”
Narrative and Plot: 4.5/5
“Anne of Avonlea” crafts a beautiful continuation of Anne Shirley’s journey. While it might not carry the same initial wonder of discovery as “Anne of Green Gables,” it offers a richer, deeper dive into the nuances of growing up. Some episodes, especially the misadventures of the Village Improvement Society, might feel episodic, but they collectively build the tapestry of life in Avonlea.
Character Development: 5/5
One of the standout features of this sequel is the evolution of its characters.
Anne’s transition from a whimsical child to a responsible young adult, Marilla’s softer edges, and the addition of characters like Davy and Dora, all add depth and layers to the narrative.
The dynamics between the characters, especially Anne and Gilbert, are palpable and authentic.
Writing Style: 4.8/5
Montgomery’s prose is a joy to read.
The lush descriptions of Prince Edward Island, the wit, and the vibrant dialogues make the book a literary treat.
Occasionally, some readers might find the detailed descriptions a tad lengthy, but they undeniably immerse one into the world of Avonlea.
Themes and Symbols: 4.7/5
Montgomery touches upon universal themes of growth, community, and change.
Nature’s symbolism, a staple of Montgomery’s works, shines brightly, mirroring the emotional landscape of the characters.
While these themes are brilliantly interwoven, at times, the narrative might feel a tad predictable for seasoned readers of classic literature.
Emotional Resonance: 4.9/5
The strength of “Anne of Avonlea” lies in its ability to evoke a myriad of emotions.
Whether it’s chuckling at Davy’s antics, empathizing with Anne’s challenges, or feeling the nostalgia of days gone by, the book is an emotional roller coaster, leaving a lasting impression on its readers.
Overall Rating: 4.8/5
In Conclusion; “Anne of Avonlea” stands not just as a worthy successor to “Anne of Green Gables” but as a masterpiece in its own right.
It’s a heartwarming journey through the pages of youth, responsibility, and the magic of everyday life.
The slight deductions in the ratings are minor critiques, and the overall experience is one of warmth, nostalgia, and delight.
For lovers of classic literature, this book is undeniably a treasure.