L.M. Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery (known as Lucy Maude to fans) is the beloved author of Anne of Green Gables and other children’s books about quirky orphaned or semi-orphaned intelligent, imaginative girls. Lucy Maude herself lived with her mother until a late (for the time) marriage to a minister whose occupation required her to stifle her lively mind (at least outwardly) and to endure many boring teas as well as move out of her beloved PEI to Ontario. Adding insult to injury, her husband was mentally ill, something she covered up on his behalf, as well as her own bouts of depression.

Like all successful and well merchandised (through movies, dolls, tv spin-offs and much else) authors whose copyright has expired, there is always another buck to be extracted from her journals and notes. Penguin is set to release The Blythes Are Quoted in Oct/09, a collection of short stories derived from the archives at The University of Guelph. Die hard Lucy Maud fans will enjoy, I’m sure, with some surprises. Though Lucy Maud wrote that it’s as easy to write about the sky as it is the privy, these stories contain plenty of privy:

From Quill and Quire

[T]he stories don’t reflect the sunny tone readers might expect from Montgomery. Several themes in The Blythes Are Quoted are inescapably grown-up: adultery, illegitimacy, hatred, revenge, death.

In my experience, books put together from scraps unused by the author in the author’s lifetime are usually not very good, but I’ll probably read it just for the fun of seeing another side of Lucy Maud (who inspired me as a kid and many other  writers, too!). However, I recommend the journals, which I read in PEI while working on my first novel. Her journals make fascinating reading and reveal the range and depth of her mind.

At the end of her life she lived in a part of Toronto that overlooks Lake Ontario. It’s a lovely place, originally the Village of Swansea, so named because it looked so much like Wales, and was one of the last two villages to be absorbed by the city in 1967.

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