Overview from www.bn.com: A new life means fresh problems to solve, fresh surprises. Anne and Gilbert will make new friends and meet their neighbors: Captain Jim, the lighthouse attendant, with his sad stories of the sea; Miss Cornelia Bryant, the lady who speaks from the heart — and speaks her mind; and the tragically beautiful Leslie Moore, into whose dark life Anne shines a brilliant light.
It’s been a little while since I returned to the Anne of Green Gables saga and to the experiences of Anne Shirley herself but I decided that it was now time. I did have to wait a few weeks for the book to come to my local library through the inter library loan program and I couldn’t wait to get to it once it had arrived. It exceeded all my expectations.
Anne’s story picks up not long after the last book, Anne of the Island, ended—with Anne relishing her upcoming nuptials to Gilbert along with the end of her experiences with geometry. In fact, I almost got the impression that Anne was happier that her time with Mr. Euclid had ended than she was about her wedding. I can’t say that I blame her there since I have always hated geometry myself.
After a small, outdoor wedding (what else can we expect from a nature lover such as Miss Anne) and a small celebration with many of her old friends, she and Gilbert are off to their house of dreams. The house is small but old and has character. Anne loves it immediately as she also immediately comes to love the community of Four Winds where Gilbert will take over the medical practice of his uncle who wants to retire.
Here Anne, as usual, meets some interesting characters who she must of course try to befriend. It’s in her nature after all. This seems to be the way that the plot moves in nearly all of the Anne books that I have read so far. Anne is intent on helping them if she can and they in turn love her for it.
However, this is the first time, since her unhappy early childhood, that Anne really gets “acquainted with grief” as the Bible says. First, in her encounters and conversations with Leslie Moore who is stuck in an unhappy marriage with a monster of a man when she would really rather be with someone else.
Then later, when she suffers her own loss of her precious little one, it was all I could do to keep from crying. Nevertheless the loss seems to mature her. She doesn’t want to accept it but yet she must get on with her life. She will never forget her Joy, she says, and she will try to carry her (and the joy of living itself) along with her in life whenever she can. Not for herself alone but primarily for those she loves.
And then there is Gilbert. I love how he reacts to Anne in this novel. I love how he calls her “Anne girl” just like Miss Barry, did in the first Anne book. To him, she will always be a girl as well as the fulfillment of his dreams. At the same time he thinks of himself as an “old, married man,” he sees Anne always as a young girl.
At one point in the book, when they have a sort of argument, Gilbert wonders whether or not it would be worth it to persist in the course of action that he has determined is the best one even if Anne were to stay angry at him for a long time. He is later vindicated when his decision inadvertently works a miracle in the life of Leslie Moore. Anne is obliged to admit that Gilbert was right and feels badly for their arguments about it. You would think she would have learned by now after what happened before when they were at odds over whether or not they should even be friends when they still lived in Avonlea.
Overall, Anne’s experience in the house of dreams is a positive but poignant one. In my opinion, apart from her childhood, it is the first time that she experiences such a serious tragedy. A tragedy so severe that her imagination is no consolation to her and it is the only time which I can recall her flatly stating that she will never dream again to anyone else as she does to Captain Jim.
Of course she comes out alright to the other side and begins to dream again. Though I got the sense that she will move on, she will always remember the house of dreams and the lessons that she learned there. Perhaps the most import lesson being that is okay to dream again, even after a terrible tragedy.
Contains: nothing objectionable that I could find.