Sunday, July 31, 2022

Marilla of Green Gables: A Must for fans of Anne Shirley

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As a reader, I admit that I typically avoid books where an author takes a crucial and/or favorite character in a series and explores either their backstory before or after a book/series. My reason being is that I don't want the new author to "ruin" my concept of that character. While after having 4 bookish friends within a week recommend this book to me I knew I had to check it out. 

In the case of Marilla of Green Gables author Sarah McCoy delves into what a young Marilla Cuthbert (and Matthew) were like, how life shaped her before spirited and spunky red-headed orphan Anne Shirley burst into their lives.  

If life hadn't gotten in the way I would have finished this book in less than 2 days. Upon closing this book, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to find I had a whole new appreciation for Marilla and wanted to go back to Avonlea and dive into re-reading the delightful 8-book Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. (Warning: You may need a box of tissues when reading Marilla of Green Gables.)

In her author's note Ms. McCoy reveals to us her inspiration for this book was a quote from Anne of Green Gables chapter XXXVII where Marilla is telling Anne how John Blythe (Gilbert's father) used to be her beau and Anne tragically says " Oh Marilla- and what happened?"  Marilla of Green Gables was her answer to this question.  For me, I recall the scene in the Anne of Avonlea (1985) movie where Anne mentions Marilla's romance with John Blythe and Marilla responses with "You can never tell about people by looking at their outsides." This quote always made me wonder who Marilla was before Anne. 

Ms. McCoy did an excellent job of maintaining her own voice as as author all the while paying tribute to L.M. Montgomery.  One aspect I appreciated was how you felt there were some characteristics of young Marilla that we see in Anne. You get the sense that Marilla understands Anne better than she realizes. 

Marilla of Green Gables may end up being on my most surprising reads of 2022 and is not to be missed. I'd even venture to say if somehow you missed the Anne of Green Gables books as a kid (trying to pick my jaw off the floor and not judge.) perhaps reading Marilla of Green Gables will make you want to read the series. Add this book to your TBR pile!