Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic set of Avonlea novels begins with this enchanting introduction to Anne Shirley, a Canadian orphan girl who is sent to the title farm by mistake, as brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert asked for a boy instead.
Their reasons for that preference were practical not personal, as Matthew is getting on in years and could use some help around Green Gables from a younger person. However, when talkative, red haired Anne arrives at the train station, her reception by the Cuthberts is mixed to say the least. While Matthew takes to Anne's winning ways right from the start, Marilla is a much harder sell:
Anne's temporary stay soon becomes permanent, as everyone around her begins to forget how life was without her. Granted, she has a fiery temper and an overactive imagination yet Anne's heart is always in the right place even if her timing proves to be off on occasion.
From various mishaps such as accidentally getting her good friend Diana Barry drunk(due to a mislabeled bottle), buying hair dye that turns her reddish locks green and baking a cake with a flavor that is definitely not vanilla(again, due to mislabeling, which I hardly think is her fault!), Anne struggles to be worthy of life with the Cuthberts and despite Marilla's constant criticisms, she does very well indeed.
Of course, Marilla adores Anne but her natural inclination for plain speaking and humble living makes her express that affection rather reluctantly. Over time, she warms up to Anne and with some encouragement from her shy yet determined to do right by the girl brother, they form quite the little family there.
Anne's circle of influence reaches beyond the boundaries of Green Gables, not only with her school friends but adults such as the well meaning yet interfering Mrs. Lynde, who gets off on the wrong foot with Anne in the beginning but soon becomes one of her champions:
The way that L.M. Montgomery not only develops Anne's character but those of the adults around,particularly Marilla(who I adore), is solid writing for readers of any age and worth noting. Anne's rough ends are smoothed down as she grows up but her passion for living and vivid imagination never dissolves, only matures as they should. Even her long standing feud with Gilbert Blythe resolves itself by the end of the book and you do want to see what happens to the two of them once the last page is turned.
Even if I don't pick up the next book soon, Anne's influence is still easily found in the pop culture realm, from the new adaptation due soon from Netflix to characters such as Elsa in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You That She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman(which I'm reading right now and trust me, she and Anne would get along like gangbusters) and even Disney's Moana.
A young woman on an island longing to comfortably fit in but can't resist the impulse to follow her heart and natural inclinations? That is so Anne Shirley and the story of Moana would enchant her immensely as we are enchanted by Anne's heartfelt joy of living:
Since Mary Alsworthy would prefer to finance her next season of husband hunting in London on her own terms, she accepts a commission from the snarky Lord Vaughn to infiltrate the French spy ring run by the mysterious Black Tulip.
Should be a lot of fun and I suspect that Vaughn and Mary will get along like Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara when it comes to making first impressions, that is: