Review of Rainbow Valley by L. M. Montgomery
Overview from www.bn.com: Anne’s wonderful, lively children found a special place all their own. Rainbow Valley was the perfect spot to play, to dream and to make the most unusual friends, like the Merediths. They were two girls and two boys who had no mother. What they did have was a minister father who was looking for a wife but so far had found nothing but heartbreak. Between the minister courting a young spinster and the escapades of the restless children, the town was bubbling with scandal. But in the end, the warmth and laughter of Anne of Green Gables taught all an unforgettable lesson of love.
The grown-up Anne of Green Gables, her husband, and their six children live in a special hideaway known as Rainbow Valley.
With this review I return once again to the Anne of Green Gables series. This is the second to last book in the series so it looks like my time with Anne and the Ingleside brood is ending. I am feeling a little sad about this but also a little sense of accomplishment at being closer to completing my goal to read every book in the series.
However, Rainbow Valley doesn’t feature Anne hardly at all though her children appear throughout. The focus is instead on a new family that moves into the area of their little valley. They are called the Meredith’s and they are a clan without a mother. Mr. Meredith has lost his wife and seems to withdraw into a world of his own.
The children can seem to do nothing right in the eyes of the majority of the townsfolk. They run wild: riding on pigs, singing silly songs in grave yards, and going to church without wearing their stockings.
Faith, the oldest girl, tries her best to correct the erroneous perception that the townspeople have of them but to no avail. They only think worse of her for speaking out in church. Thus the kids decided to all get together to “bring themselves up,” hoping to avoid bring any more shame to their father. They love the valley and want to stay there but as one of the local ministers, their father’s reputation could get him fired from the job that would allow them to stay. They are determined to do everything in their power to prevent it but with disastrous consequences.
Carl becomes sick from his punishment of having to stay outside in the graveyard at night alone. Una nearly faints from starvation. And the whole brood feels terrible that their mistakes cause so much anger towards their father.
I liked this one too though perhaps not as much as some of the other Anne books. Here is one of my favorite quotes to sum it up with. In this part of the book, an orphan, Mary Vance tells the Meredith children what she thinks of the devil.
“’Old Aunt Christina MacAllister nursed me with poultices. She brung me round. But sometimes I wish I’d just died the other half and done with it. I’d been better off.’
‘If you went to heave I s’pose you would,’ said Faith rather dubiously.
‘Well, what other place is there to go to?’ demanded Mary in a puzzled tone.
‘There’s hell, you know,’ said Una, dropping her voice and hugging Mary to lessen the awfulness of the suggestion.
‘Hell? What’s that?’
‘Why, it’s where the devil lives,’ said Jerry. ‘You’ve heard of him—you spoke about him.’
‘Oh, yes, but I didn’t know he lived anywhere. I thought he just roamed round. Mr. Wiley used to mention hell when he was alive. He was always telling folks to go there. I thought it was some place over in New Brunswick where he come from.’” P.34