Lindsey at Reeder Reads is hosting a Green Gables Readalong, in which we are reading one Anne book a month between January and August. This month we are talking about Anne of Ingleside. If you want to catch up, here are my reviews for the first five books: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, and Anne’s House of Dreams.
This is my favourite cover out of all the ones I own. This Anne still looks young and dreamy, and motherly all at the same time. And, I have always loved that yellow dress.
In Anne of Ingleside, Anne is a mother of six. She is about to give birth to her 6th and last baby at the beginning of the book, and by the end, that baby is almost 6 years old.
Most of the stories told in this book are about the children and the trials of growing up. Many things have stayed the same between now and then; children still get into trouble, their imaginations still get the better of them, and they still agonize over things that seem trivial to adults. Luckily for the Ingleside children, they have Anne for a mother.
Susan Baker is a big part of the lives of the Blythe family; she is the housekeeper/cook/nanny. When I was young, I didn’t like her. I resented the fact that she took so much responsibility for Anne’s children and household. I thought Anne should be able to do everything herself. I was curious about whether or not I would still feel so strongly about her, but this time I get what it’s like to have children (and Anne has twice as many as I do). I do like her better than I used to, but I also admit to still feeling slightly put off by her. Does anyone else feel the same way, or am I crazy? Maybe I just wish she lived with me instead.
I like that Anne’s kids are not perfect. They get mad, they keep secrets, they get into trouble, they make friends with with the wrong kids, they make bargains with God, they eavesdrop on the Ladies’ Aid women, they throw perfectly good cakes in the river (you’ll have to read the book to find out why). Poor Walter is taken to a friend’s house when Rilla is born, and he is in agony imagining that his parents don’t love him anymore and that his mother is dying. Jem desperately wants his own dog to love, but continues to have bad luck finding one. Di falls victim twice to girls who embellish, exaggerate, and outright lie to her. Nan is told she was switched at birth with another baby (a girl whose Dad is known as six-toed Jim), and she believes her life at Ingleside is over. Each of Anne’s children have their own distinct personality, and it is fun getting to know them.
The children and the family are the main focus of this book, but Anne and Gilbert get put through the wringer a few times. At different times in the book, Walter, Jem, and Nan go missing. Aunt Mary Maria comes for an extended visit and makes everyone miserable. The tension is thick in the house when Anne is sick with pneumonia. And, near the end, as Anne and Gilbert approach 15 years of marriage, Anne starts to wonder whether Gilbert still loves her; she doesn’t feel as though he notices her anymore. Then, an old flame of Gilbert’s comes to town, and Anne’s imagination takes flight once again. Some things never change.
“Oh, Susan, there is no such thing as a common day. Every day has something about it no other day has.”
“Don’t you find life here rather dull?” an old Queen’s classmate from Charlottetown had asked Anne rather patronizingly one day. Dull! Anne almost laughed in her caller’s face. Ingleside dull! With a delicious baby bringing new wonders every day… with visits from Diana and Little Elizabeth and Rebecca Dew to be planned for… with Mrs. Sam Ellison of the Upper Glen on Gilbert’s hands with a disease only three people in the world had ever been known to have before… with Walter starting to school… with Nan drinking a whole bottle of perfume from Mother’s dressing table… they thought it would kill her but she was never a whit the worse… with a strange black cat having the unheard-of number of ten kittens in the back porch… with Shirley locking himself in the bathroom and forgetting how to unlock it… with the Shrimp getting rolled up in a sheet of fly-paper… with Aunt Mary Maria setting the curtains of her room on fire in the dead of night while prowling with a candle, and rousing the household with appalling screams. Life dull!
She stooped repentantly, gloatingly over them. They were still hers… wholly hers, to mother and love and protect. They still came to her with every love and grief of their little hearts. For a few years longer they would be hers… and then? Anne shivered. Motherhood was very sweet… but very terrible.
“They are newcomers, Mrs. Dr. Dear,”… much as she might have said, “They are crocodiles.”
“I heard Dorothy say that Frank was the best match but she really couldn’t abide the thought of seeing that nose sticking out over the sheet every morning when she woke up.”
“Have I any right to be so happy when other women are so miserable?”
Her nose was still definitely good. Anne patted it as a friend, recalling certain moments of life when her nose was all that carried her through. But Gilbert just took her nose for granted now. It might be crooked or pug for all it mattered to him. Likely he had forgotten that she had a nose.
Who are these people?
The second one (yellow) looks like The Sound of Music, and why is the girl on the third cover so angry?
I would like the second one here, except that the woman’s hair is all wrong.