Emily Readalong: Emily Climbs

Contains spoilers!

When it came to writing the sequels to her novels, Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon, L.M. Montgomery “felt little interest“. According to Mary Henley Rubio in The Gift of Wings, it was “only her personal discipline that got her through the sequels, where her feisty heroines had to be tamed“. “Maud complained in her journals that she could never write of young girls as they really were, very interested in boys and with growing sexual urges.” Considering this restraint she felt, there are moments in Emily Climbs that show Emily’s inner conflict and torn loyalties between the feelings she has for Teddy and her desire to forget about marriage and concentrate on her writing career.

I’ve made up my mind that I shall never marry. I shall be wedded to my art.

When Teddy tells Emily she’s the “sweetest girl in the world”…

Emily thrilled, from the crown of her head to the toes of her slippered feet, with a sensation of hitherto unknown and almost terrifying sweetness – a sensation that was to sense what her “flash” was to spirit.

When Teddy and Emily’s eyes meet at the Old John House, “Emily was never really to belong to herself again”.

I am conscious of three sensations. On top I am sternly composed and traditional. Underneath that, something that would hurt horribly if I let it is being kept down. And underneath that again is a queer feeling of relief that I still have my freedom.

But I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning.

My copy.

Emily’s writing life

In Emily Climbs, Emily is permitted to go to school in Shrewsbury for the next three years (from age 14 to 17), as are her friends Ilse, Perry, and Teddy. She is to board with dour Aunt Ruth while she is there, resulting in delightful misunderstandings and disagreements. And she has promised Aunt Elizabeth she will not write any fiction for the three years that she’s there, which is an attempt on Elizabeth’s part to break Emily of her writing ‘habit’. When she was asked to give up writing altogether, Emily refused, turning down her chance to go to Shrewsbury at all, knowing that she could not keep the promise. So Aunt Elizabeth softened it to include only fiction, since fiction is the most ‘sinful’ part anyway.

Emily Climbs is all about Emily’s ambition to become a writer. She’s determined to overcome all obstacles to climb her “Alpine Path”. (Sarah has written a wonderful post about Emily as a reader, as well as a writer.) She must write, she can’t go a day without it. And she begins having success with her poems and pieces that she sends off to magazines, most notably with “The Woman Who Spanked the King”. As she begins making small amounts of money off of her writing, even Aunt Elizabeth sees the worth in it and lifts the fiction ban.

On writing…

The fat, black “Jimmy-book” seemed to her like a personal friend and safe confidant for certain matters which burned for expression and yet were too combustible to be trusted to the ears of any living being.

… it seems to me there is something beyond words – any words – all words – something that always escapes you when you try to grasp it – and yet leaves something in your hand which you wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t reached for it.

Story and character developments 

Remember creepy Dean? He and Emily are still close, but the older she gets the more jealous he becomes of her friendship with Teddy…

“Tell that young imp of a Teddy Kent to keep your face out of his pictures. He has no business to put you into every one he draws.”

And her writing….

I think he has a little of the Priest jealousy of sharing anything, especially friendship, with anyone else – or with the world. I feel thrown back on myself. Somehow, it has seemed to me lately that Dean isn’t interested any longer in my writing ambitions. He even, it seems to me, ridicules them slightly… ‘It will do very well for a school essay, but – ‘…

And then he calls Emily his property!

Dean laughed as he said it. But I held my head high. I am not anybody’s ‘property’, not even in fun. And I never will be.

Then there is Mrs. Kent, Teddy’s overbearing and jealous mother (again jealousy). She wasn’t going to allow Teddy to go to Shrewsbury, but Emily found the opportunity to speak her mind. Emily and Mrs. Kent have a little showdown on p. 55 – 58, during which Mrs. Kent accuses Emily of “stealing her son”. They argue about who Teddy will go home with and who is allowed to “command” him to do things, and then Emily tells her she is a “foolish and selfish woman” and that “you will make your son hate you”. A couple of times in the book, Emily mentions that she believes Mrs. Kent to be “haunted” by something. But we still have not found out what her story is.

Even though Mr. Carpenter is no longer Emily’s teacher, she still takes her writing to him to be critiqued. She knows he will always tell her the truth, and that the better her essays are “the more he will rage over them“. He cautions her against too many italics and against writing poetry in the spring. He claims that “spring has been responsible for more trash than anything else in the universe of God.”

I like to think of The Disappointed House as one of the characters, and it appears again in Emily Climbs… hinting of ‘tomorrow’…

 I am always so sorry for it – it is a house that has never lived – that has not fulfilled its destiny. Its blind windows seem peering wistfully from its face as if seeking vainly for what they cannot find. No homelight has ever gleamed through them in summer dusk or winter darkness. And yet I feel, somehow, that the little house has kept its dream and that sometime it will come true.

Aunt Ruth plays a big part in this book. Emily has to live in her house and put up with her rules and criticisms and endless sniffing. I think, though, the worst part is her obvious distrust of Emily; she is continuously calling Emily “sly and deep”.

She is always watching me – even when she says nothing – does nothing – I know she is watching me. I feel like a little fly under a microscope. Not a word or action escapes her criticism, and, though she can’t read my thoughts, she attributes thoughts to me that I never had any idea of thinking.

But even Aunt Ruth comes around in the end when Emily is being slandered with malicious gossip. After taking care of the situation she reminds Emily, “Remember, you’ve got a family behind you“.

Incidents, accidents, and gossip

Even in Emily’s day (especially in Emily’s day?) growing up is not easy. Emily Climbs is full of entertaining incidents, big and small, distressing and not-so-distressing. When a boy tries to kiss Emily after walking her home, he gets his face slapped. Emily gets locked in the church one night during a storm, and, much to her horror, realizes that she is not alone. Unbeknownst to visitors, Emily hides in the broom closet so she is not seen in her “ridiculous” apron (she’d “rather be bad than ridiculous”), and ends up hearing rude things said about her and other members of the Murray family. Emily and Ilse’s friendship gets put to the test when Emily discovers, after going to class, that someone has drawn a moustache on her face. After being forbidden by Aunt Ruth to take part in the school play, she takes part anyway then finds herself locked out of the house. Emily and Perry are caught “kissing” by Aunt Ruth.

One of the funniest misunderstandings in the book is when Emily goes to interview Miss Royal at her house and lets in a dog that she believes to be Miss Royal’s. The dog proceeds to behave very badly and neither one of them try to stop it, each believing the dog to belong to the other.

The worst case of gossip in the book is the time that Emily, Ilse, Perry, and Teddy are caught in a snowstorm and are forced to stop and stay at the Old John House overnight. The scandal was so bad that it was destructive to Emily’s social standing in Shrewsbury, and caused her to lose her desire to write.

People remembered that old Nancy Priest had been a wild thing seventy years ago – and hadn’t there been some scandal about Mrs. Dutton (Aunt Ruth) herself in her girlhood? What’s bred in the bone, you understand. Her mother had eloped, hadn’t she?… Then there was that old story of bathing on Blair Water sandshore au naturel.  In short, you didn’t see ankles like Emily’s on proper girls. They simply didn’t have them.

Around the time Montgomery wrote Emily Climbs, she had been a victim of her housemaid’s gossip, and felt infuriated by it. In The Gift of Wings, Rubio suggests that this incident in Emily Climbs “reflects Maud’s own sense of victimization” and that she wanted to show “the power of gossip to destroy reputations”.

On the subject of bathing on the sandshores of PEI

I was thrilled to see it mentioned, on more than one occasion, that Emily and Ilse like to go swimming. Once they even caused a bit of a scandal when they forgot to bring their swimming costumes with them and swam in their petticoats instead. (Gasp!) I’ve always wondered why LMM never wrote about Anne going swimming. Surely, she did!

My family and I have been swimming in the ocean at PEI my whole life. When I was young, our family liked to go camping at Stanhope, which is also where we took our own kids camping when they were very little.

Me with baby #1 at Stanhope, PEI. (2001)

Three cuties at Panmure Island Provincial Park, PEI. (2006)

We’ve also tried out many of the other beaches around the province at both the National Park and the Provincial Parks. My husband and I took a two-week trip around PEI on a tandem bicycle after we got married, visiting most of the Provincial Parks (and beaches) along the way. And my friend and I took a similar trip a few years earlier (in a car), during which we found ourselves in the same situation as Emily and Ilse – a beautiful swimming spot but no swimsuits. In our case, we were also without petticoats, but, as no one else was around, we decided to go for a dip anyway.

Seacow Head Lighthouse, where we went for our dip. The pictures I have really don’t do it justice. (1996)

The diving rock at Seacow Head. Not used by us! (1996)

Our bike trip – North Cape, PEI. (1999)

Summer 2016 at Cavendish Beach, PEI. I imagine it wasn’t as crowded when Emily and Ilse went to the beach.

The supernatural

In Emily of New Moon, there is a supernatural element to the story when Emily sees in her fever dream what really happened to Ilse’s mother years ago. This element is brought back in Emily Climbs when she uses her “second sight” to help find a lost boy. I tried to find more information on the topic of LMM and the supernatural, but no luck. If you know anything about it, please let us know!

Emily’s first proposals

Emily receives her first two proposals by the end of Emily Climbs. Whenever I read about these proposals I’m always very glad that I’ve never had to worry about them. I have such a fear of hurting people’s feelings that I probably would have ended up married to the first guy who came along! Luckily for Emily, she doesn’t have this problem.

Here are her thoughts after refusing both Andrew Murray and Perry Miller…

I don’t know which is worse – to have somebody you don’t like ask you to marry him or not have someone you do like. Both are rather unpleasant.

Emily’s big decision

When Miss Janet Royal comes to town from New York City and her literary career there, it is partly because she wants to meet the person who wrote “The Woman Who Spanked the King”, And once they meet, she offers to take Emily back to New York with her – she could get Emily a job and start her on her way to a wonderful career.

Once Emily gets permission to go with Miss Royal, she finds she doesn’t feel excited about it. “I only feel that I ought to want to go.” Miss Royal advises that she’d be a fool to stay, while Mr. Carpenter advises that she stay and keep her “Canadian tang and flavour”. In the end, Emily decides that she wants to stay at New Moon and make it on her own in a place that she loves and inspires her. Besides, “people live here just the same as anywhere else – suffer and enjoy and sin and aspire just the same as they do in New York“.

And don’t we have L.M. Montgomery and all her work as proof of this?

Some good lines…

That is one reason I want you to marry me when the time comes, Emily – I’ve got to have a wife with brains. (Good old Perry – ahead of his time!)

Tell Emily to go back to Shrewsbury and learn all she can – but to hide it and show her ankles. (Aunt Nancy)

I find it not always easy to be sure whether your deeds are good or bad.

… there’s no use trying to live in other people’s opinions. The only think to do is to live in your own.

It’s not only that I love my room and trees and hills – they love me.

If we don’t chase things – sometimes the things following us can catch up.

There isn’t any such thing as ordinary life.

Book Covers



My favourites



Something to think about: When Miss Janet Royal  comes home to Shrewsbury from New York after being away for 20 years, she is more likely to be looked down on as an Old Maid than admired as a successful career woman. In a comment on my post about Emily of New Moon, Juliae1 suggests that this hasn’t changed. What do you think?

 Coming in April: Emily’s Quest

Further Reading:

In case you missed it, my thoughts on Emily of New Moon

“I Have to Write”: Emily Climbs by Sarah Emsley – “When I read this series for the first time, I’m pretty sure I focused more on Emily as a writer than on Emily as a reader. I was inspired by her determination to create a literary career for herself, to keep writing despite “brutal rejection slips and the awfulness of faint praise” (Chapter 22). Like Montgomery herself, Emily adopts the metaphor of climbing the “Alpine Path” when she thinks about her literary ambitions: “she would climb it, no matter what the obstacles in the way—no matter whether there was any one to help her or not” (Chapter 5).”

#ReadingEmily And The Three Most Influential Words of My Reading Life by Jaclyn at Covered In Flour – “I’ll love this.  There are many scenes in the Emily trilogy, which made great impressions on me as a child – but none quite as much as Emily’s first disappointed look around her room in Shrewsbury, her squaring her shoulders, turning to the window and saying those three words in Emily Climbs.”

Slice of Life at Mama Muse Me – “I love how L.M. Montgomery continues the supernatural element from the first book. […] I really like how L.M. Montgomery just hints at something uncanny, but she does not go over the top with the supernatural elements.

64 thoughts on “Emily Readalong: Emily Climbs

  1. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    There’s a lot of interesting tension here between societal expectations and emotional truths — though Montgomery felt constrained in what she could write about a young girl’s real feelings, I think quite a bit gets through!

    Regarding your question, I think that there is still the assumption that women need to be partnered to be whole and that being “married to their career” makes them stunted in some way. Sometimes this is true, and sometimes it isn’t. What is wonderful about Emily is that she shows how each individual needs to be creative in his or her own way – and that she makes decisions based on her own convictions, against sometimes quite strong opposition. We can all use a bit of that Emily spirit in our modern lives.

    • Naomi says:

      There are so many examples of Emily standing up for herself, or for what she feels is right/just. It’s definitely one of the best things about her, and great for kids to read! It also makes me wonder, now, if this quality made her less popular back when parents didn’t like that quality in their kids so much…
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Lory!

  2. drlauratisdall says:

    I wrote a bit about the tensions between Emily’s writing and her love for Teddy in my Emily retrospective here – mostly about Emily’s Quest but also picks up on that interesting quote you cite (‘I am conscious of three sensations…) https://drlauratisdall.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/laura-rereading-i-belong-to-him/

    I think what I find most fascinating about Emily’s struggles with this question is that LMM doesn’t seem to have resolved them herself, which is why there is no truly satisfying resolution in any of the books. This internal conflict playing out on the page seems to me to be typical of many C19th and early C20th novels written by American and Canadian women – I’m also thinking of Little Women and What Katy Did.

    Additionally, I’m really surprised to hear that LMM was reluctant to write Emily Climbs. I know she talked about being forced to write more and more about Anne, but EC doesn’t feel like the sort of novel written on demand. (Emily’s Quest, in contrast, has a more perfunctory and reluctant feel, especially re. the romantic resolution.)

    • Naomi says:

      I, too, thought Emily Climbs was wonderful, with no hint at reluctance. But then again, I also love all the Anne books. She did a good job of hiding the fact that her heart wasn’t always in it.
      Now I’ll be on guard while reading Emily’s Quest, to see if I notice what you did! But I’m kind of hoping I don’t! 🙂
      Now that you mention it, I guess it doesn’t really surprise me that this issue was hard to resolve for those writers – I myself even feel conflicted when I think about it. Maybe it’s best not to think *too* hard while going through life!
      I noticed that your post is mostly about Emily’s Quest, so I’m going to save it until I’m finished the book and then go back to it.
      Thanks for joining in the conversation!

    • Grab the Lapels says:

      I was surprised that LMM didn’t want to write more Emily when she claimed that she’d rather be writing Emily than Anne Shirley because she related to Emily so much. What happens to LMM that she gets tired of a character? Or does she worry she’s stagnating? Naomi, I know you’ve read many of LMM’s journals–perhaps you know?

      • Naomi says:

        From what I’ve read, she wasn’t keen on having to write about them growing up and marrying. She wanted them to remain fierce and independent. It’s hard to tell, when you read her books, that she feels this way. It kind of explains, though, the convoluted ways in which both Anne and Emily come to finally be united with their romantic interests. Emily’s story with Teddy is even more drawn out and torturous than Anne and Gilbert’s.

  3. FictionFan says:

    I wrote a reply to the old maid question then realised it had turned into a bit of a speech, so decided to spare you! The short version is that, as an old maid, no, I think things have changed hugely over the last thirty years. People are far more likely to be interested in my work than my marital or parental status now – entirely different from decades ago.

  4. TJ @ MyBookStrings says:

    Boy, they were creative in the cover department in 1940, weren’t they!?! Forgive me for studying the pictures more than your review, but I do intent to read this series very soon, so I don’t want to know the spoilers. It’s so much fun to know that you’ve been to the places (or similar places) that are mentioned!

  5. Jaclyn says:

    Wonderful post! I love this installment in Emily’s adventures. The scene with Janet Royal and the dog is absolutely priceless.

    Funny you should mention marriage proposals! I still laugh at a conversation I had with my mom on the subject when I was probably about twelve. As a bookish kid who was heavily influenced by Montgomery and Alcott, I just assumed that multiple marriage proposals was a rite of passage for women. So I asked my mom “How many proposals did you have?” She looked at me strangely and replied “Most people only get ONE.” Ha! Exhibit A for why mothers should be familiar with their kids’ reading material – those questions won’t come out of left field!

    As it happened, I had two. But like Perry’s proposals, my first was very easy to turn down. If it even counts, that is – it was more of an assumption than a proposal. “When we get married we can live in New Jersey next door to my parents and drive matching Mercedes” –> no thanks, and I think we should see other people.

    • Naomi says:

      Haha, great story!
      So often it’s obvious to the women in the books (girls, really) who they should turn down. It was a bit tougher for Anne, though, when she had to turn down Roy Gardner. I really dreaded the day! Good thing it never came! 🙂

  6. Jenny @ Reading the End says:

    Oh, man, the incident with Miss Royal and the dog is one of my favorite things in the entire series. I also love the part where Emily appears to be involved in a scandal and then Aunt Ruth intercedes on her behalf and becomes totally warlike. It’s sweet! They develop a grudging respect!

    • Naomi says:

      Yes, just when Emily actually needs some backup from that proud family of hers, Aunt Ruth comes through. I like what she says, too – “I know you’re a fool, Jim Hardy, but for heaven’s sake pretend you’re not for five minutes!”

  7. juliae1 says:

    I love the covers on show here as mine is just the old green one. However I do treasure it as I still remember the thrill when, as a young married, I found all three at once in a second-hand shop. This was in the early 60s. That marriage foundered because of my love of books. My husband felt that I should read only domestic stuff — recipe books and so on — and that also I should give up my ‘childish’ stuff. I could not then understand why I clung to these books so much but now realise they were all proto-feminist. Feminism wasn’t even ‘in’ then!

    • Naomi says:

      I don’t blame you for treasuring them – what a great find!
      I still like mine the best, too, just because they’re the ones I’ve always had.

  8. Sarah Emsley says:

    Panmure Island! I loved seeing your photos of family trips to PEI. I want to comment more about the book, so I’ll be back later today, when I have a bit more time to write.

    • Naomi says:

      Oh, if only you knew how many more I would have liked to include. 🙂
      I had so much fun looking back through my PEI pictures. But I also know how awful they look when not taken directly off my camera!

  9. susan says:

    Nice post & readalong. Emily’s ambitions as a writer seem inspiring in this book. Loved your beach photos from PEI. I would love to go on a bike trip there. My furthest east in Canada is Montreal so I need to get to the Maritimes to explore, if not this year, then in 2018. I like the book cover in the bottom right of your favorites.

    • Naomi says:

      The nice thing about biking in PEI (besides the wonderful scenery) is that it’s relatively flat and there are many secondary roads that are not too busy. Our first bike trip with the kids was also in PEI, but a whole lot shorter. The biggest downfall, in the summer, are the mosquitoes. 😦

  10. Nili Olay says:

    Thank you so much for doing this read-a-long and thank you Sarah for letting me know about it. I read Anne as a child but I only found Emily as an adult. I always wonder what I would have made of her as a 12 year old. I was always a reader but not a writer, however I do understand her obsession to write. It must be something like my obsession to read non-stop. I started this read-a-long late and then couldn’t stop and re-read all three books. I found the comment above about reading juvenile books interesting – I love juvenile books – like Daddy Long Legs. I also discovered the “girl books” by Baum – the aunt Jane series and they are wonderful. I would love to read who else you guys love to read.

    P.S. In Quest, I love that Emily knows she can never be an Austen (Bronte). Obviously that is L.M.M. Speaking.

    • Naomi says:

      Once you start reading them, it’s hard to space them out, isn’t it?! I’m glad you were able to join in!
      I’ve never read any of the Baum books, but maybe I should do something about that. I’ve also loved Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Astrid Lindgren, E.B. White, Lois Lowry, and Roald Dahl. To name a few.

      • Sarah Emsley says:

        I haven’t read Daddy Long Legs or the Baum series you mention — thanks for the recommendations, Nili, and it’s great to hear that you’re enjoying the readalong so much. I loved all the authors you mention, Naomi. Janet Lunn and Barbara Smucker are two other names that come to mind when I think of childhood favourites. More recent favourites include Jeanne Birdsall’s Penderwicks series (which include many echoes of LMM’s novels), Eva Ibbotson, and Budge Wilson’s Before Green Gables. I just looked at the bookcase where I keep all of these, and my LMM books, and I spotted several picture book favourites as well: Kyo Maclear’s Virginia Wolf, Sara O’Leary’s This is Sadie, Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius, and Sheree Fitch’s Mabel Murple.

  11. Sarah Emsley says:

    One of the things I found really interesting this time around was Emily’s decision about New York. “I only feel that I ought to want to go.” Did you see the Emily musical in Charlottetown several years ago? Can’t remember if we’ve talked about this before. I saw it once (maybe in 2000 or 2001?) and I have a vague memory of the last song, about her love of the island. I wish I had a recording of it.

    Montgomery certainly found success in writing about ordinary — and extraordinary — life in rural PEI. But then she spent much of her career in Ontario, and while she didn’t move to the United States, she did find a Boston publisher. I’d like to read more about Emily’s commitment to her home in relation to the choices Montgomery made about her own career path. I wonder what the two sequels would have been like if LMM hadn’t felt that pressure to include the courtship plot to please her readers.

    As with Emily of New Moon, the range of approaches to cover art is fascinating. Thanks for putting this collection together. Most of these images tend to make Emily look dreamy rather than determined.

    I hope you’ll share more of those PEI photos in your post on Emily’s Quest!

    • Naomi says:

      It’s funny – I remember the scene with the dog, but I don’t remember the part about her getting an offer to go to New York! So, yes, I also found that interesting. And, it must echo LMM’s thoughts, at least somewhat, about the desire to write from a place she loves. Does she wish she had stayed home? I have a feeling she probably wishes she hadn’t married Ewan, which is a sad thought. And, yes, how would her books be different if she had lived a happier life? Or if she was free to write them the way she wanted? Although, now that I’m reading Emily’s Quest, it’s hard to imagine Emily’s story without Teddy in it!
      Another question I have, now that I’m on to Emily’s Quest (forgive me for getting ahead of the readalong for a moment) is: how did LMM feel about travelling around versus staying at home? Emily’s friends are off into the world, and although she is progressing with her career as well, it’s in a very different way from her friends. And it’s hard to tell what LMM is trying to say about it all! Good to be home instead of travelling? Lonely? Some of both? Something to think about while you read the next book. 🙂

  12. juliae1 says:

    Emily says, Some fountain of living water would dry up in my soul if I leave the land I love.
    Is LMM speaking for herself here?
    I’m tending to think Emily should have gone away, at least for a while!
    I’m resisting the urge to open Emily’s Quest before 1 April, but I seem to remember she rather let the writing go.
    It’s like The Prodigal Son. You have to go away to find out what’s important.

    • Naomi says:

      I’m curious about that, too. It makes me wonder about LMM’s own experiences in going away. Does she wish she hadn’t? Or maybe she wanted to explore what it might look like for Emily to stay put after having Anne leave and come back?
      I also find it interesting that many of the other characters leave – Ilse, Teddy, Dean. Not only do they leave, but some of them go far, and for a long time. Maybe she wanted Emily to be in complete contrast to that?

  13. juliae1 says:

    With regard to ‘creepy’ Dean Priest, I never felt like that. I thought him a deal more interesting than rather wet Teddy!
    This backlash against older men and younger women is really very modern. I began reading around the early 1940s. I was a retarded reader! I never got close enough to the printed word. Anyway, I wasn’t that far from LMM’s times. The books of the time used this theme a lot so we young readers accepted it. Older men meant security. They may have spent years making their pile. Young women should marry and reproduce as soon as possible. LMM has at least one short story on that theme as well — I think it’s something like A Husband for Nan.
    I remember Dean really blots his copybook in Quest, but what really disturbs us?
    Is it a question of who has the power?
    And how early in the process does Emily realise what he is planning? I don’t think she has any idea even by the end of the second book. Did he foster this deliberately?

    • Naomi says:

      I don’t think it’s the age gap that disturbs me about Dean as much as the fact that we knew he had designs on her that first year they met, when she was only 12 or 13. I also found him manipulative and in the end, of course, he deceives her in order to get what he wants. I think he would have made a controlling and jealous husband.
      But you’re right – he *is* interesting. Emily probably would never have been bored with him.

  14. juliae1 says:

    Maybe we need a sequel, dealing with Emily’s marriage and motherhood!
    Somehow I just can’t see her in either role.
    Hurry up, April 1st!

      • juliae1 says:

        Yes — I never saw Anne as a really serious writer. It might’ve been more important for her to replace the family she lost before she knew them. Writing was more of a hobby. I don’t see any Mr Carpenter telling her to keep on with it.
        Again, is there something of LMM here too? Her husband was jealous of her writing, we understand.

      • Naomi says:

        It says in Rubio’s biography that Ewan suggested that she stop her writing during times of stress, and that she wrote in her journal about Ewan seeing wives as possessions. The biography suggests that LMM ‘s “emotional turmoil” is coming out in these (Emily) books.
        She wrote most of the Anne books at an earlier stage in her life. It makes her books even more interesting when you know how they correspond to whatever was going on in her life at the time she was writing them!

  15. buriedinprint says:

    I’ve just scanned casually so that when I reread next month I am coming to the stories kinda fresh; already I have the feeling that I barely remember book two (which isn’t surprising as I always reread the earliest books in her series most frequently, stopping at Windy Poplars with Anne, too, and I guess I felt I needed to stop sooner when there were only three Emily stories to begin with). But, wow, what a post, Naomi: lovely! And the combo of your personal photos with the memories of the area: terrific!

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks, BIP! At least there was a little spoiler-free material for you to look at.
      I just can’t avoid the spoilers in these posts – I want to get it all down, more for myself than anyone else. 🙂
      I only remembered bits and pieces of the book. I can remember the overall story, but it’s surprising how many details I’ve forgotten!
      Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it all!

    • Naomi says:

      That’s what I’m really loving about reading along with others – everyone reads the books differently and picks up on different things. I love all the perspectives!

  16. juliae1 says:

    Thank goodness it’s finally April. Naomi, are you encouraging us to wish our lives away?!
    Anyway, I’ve begun Emily’s Quest. I don’t remember much so may have read it only once or twice. I’m four chapters in and Mr Carpenter has died; maybe the ideal death-bed scene for a writer. I think there is a lot of LMM in it and indeed, in the story so far. I’m some 4x Emily’s age but I really identified with her comments about the sting and tang going out of life … although the circumstances are quite different. And in chapter four Emily becomes uneasily conscious of what’s going on with Dean.

    • Naomi says:

      Hi Julia! Yes, April is finally here and we can talk about Emily’s Quest! I’ll try to get my post up about it sooner than I did last month.
      Mr. Carpenter’s death bed scene was well-done. Very Mr. Carpenter-ish. So far it *feels* different than the first two books to me, don’t you find?

  17. juliae1 says:

    Yes it does feel different … older? darker? I noticed how Emily said that Dean seems to be getting younger. There’s also more ‘purple prose’ which I don’t actually mind as I love words but I also suspect LMM of ‘padding!’
    It’s a very Botanical book! What are June lilies? Are they a special kind?
    On an older subject … I didn’t follow the Anne readalong — because I didn’t know about it — but what do fans think about the Ella Ballentine production of Anne of GG? It’s never been released in Australia but I’ve just acquired the DVD.

    • Sarah Emsley says:

      I know what you mean about how Emily’s Quest feels very different from the first two. It seemed to me that Montgomery was rushing from one scene to the next, not developing them as fully as she did earlier. I’ve been reading some of the articles in the second volume of The L.M. Montgomery Reader, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, and Mary Rubio talks about how in the third novel, “the trilogy’s tone shifts rapidly. The first two Emily books were firmly grounded in PEI society, circa 1890, with local colour and vivid characterization. The conversations between characters were tart and plausible, and the events believable. Yet, the last Emily book slides into a comedic mode.” (This is in her article “Subverting the Trite: L.M. Montgomery’s ‘Room of Her Own’”)

      • Naomi says:

        I almost feel as though Emily’s friends have slipped into the 1920s without her. They have that feel when they come home for their visits – driving around in cars and the way Ilse talks, even the words she chooses. And at one point Teddy uses the word “Capital”, which made me cringe. Maybe LMM was reading Fitzgerald after all! 🙂

    • Naomi says:

      I haven’t seen the Ella Ballantine version, but it didn’t seem to very popular from what I can tell. You’ll have to let us know what you think!

      June lilies… I have always pictured them to be white, but when I did a search, they were many different colours, and even looked like different types. So now I’m wondering if they are just lilies that bloom in June? I wonder if anyone else knows..

  18. juliae1 says:

    O dear! Chapter Six and Dean has done that dreadful thing. It seems a lot worse to me this time around … or maybe I’ve forgotten. A lie will always affect a relationship even when you’re both aware, but Emily is too vulnerable. She trusts him more than she trusts herself. If only she could’ve stored A Seller of Dreams on a USB stick. We never find out what it was like.

  19. juliae1 says:

    Dean Priest is so sexy the pages almost sizzle …is LMM writing from her own experience? And yet he never gets beyond talking. Would he have been long on words and short on action? All one summer and he doesn’t kiss his fiancée and she doesn’t seem to expect it.
    He is almost the Demon Lover. His names suggest this as well as the rumours of a Black Mass.
    I used to be sorry for him but this time I noticed the hint of ‘malign” triumph in his parting words, and even his apology is a bit lacking.
    He doesn’t love Emily, but does Teddy? I don’t think she ever gets the man she deserves.

    • Naomi says:

      Haha – your comment made me laugh! I hadn’t thought of it like that before, but you’re right, there’s something sexy about the way Dean holds back. But also we are glad that he does!
      I like to imagine Teddy loves her as much as she deserves to be loved. But if I had to think about it (which I will do just for you), I would have to question why he didn’t act on his love. He’s pretty cowardly about it. But the same could be said of Emily. Back to my image of “happily ever after”. 🙂

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