Maud: A Novel Inspired By The Life Of L.M. Montgomery- Melanie J. Fishbane
My Review - 4 Stars
Do you have a special place in your heart for Anne Of Green Gables? Then you're going to want to pay attention.
Taking cues from Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, Melanie Fishbane researched Montgomery's life and developed this fictionalized account. While I have long loved the work of Lucy Maud, I didn't know much about her childhood before reading this.
There are obvious comparisons between Maud's life and that of her beloved characters Anne Shirley and Emily Starr. While I've heard Emily is a closer read on Montgomery's life, Maud reminded me much more of Anne. At the same time, the novel paints a stark picture of what happened to one Lucy Maud Montgomery.
After the death of her mother, Maud grows up being passed around between family members. No one wants her for long, whether due to financial hardship or an inability to tame her tongue. Maud makes the best of her circumstances, longing for her father to send for her but when he finally does, the results only serve to break her heart anew. I was deeply sad she did not have her own Marilla and Matthew to give her the home she longed for.
At the same time, Maud is blessed to have wonderful bosom friends and a cadre of suitors. In fact, I found myself a little jealous over how many young men vied for her hand, especially since she wasn't all that interested in picking one. But I also admired her dedication to her dream of becoming a writer above all else and it was interesting to see the teachers who encouraged her and her beginning attempts toward making it.
My heart went out to Montgomery and based on where the book ends, I'm hopeful Fishbane will write a follow up. I want to see how Montgomery's foray into adulthood treats her. Although based on the reading I did after finished this, I'm not all that hopeful about her happily ever after. Perhaps this is why she wrote Anne and Emily, to give her characters her idealized life.
Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery—Maud to her friends—has a dream: to go to college and, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott, become a writer. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman’s place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister’s stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren’t a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn’t sure she wants to settle down with a boy—her dreams of being a writer are much more important.
Life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother’s plans for her, which threaten Maud’s future—and her happiness—forever.
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Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links included in this post.