A few years ago, Sarah Emsley and I co-hosted a reading of The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. We’ve decided that it’s time for another Montgomery readalong. After polling the readers of Sarah’s blog post on the matter, we’ve settled on Jane of Lantern Hill. I haven’t read this one in years, so I’m excited to re-visit it and see what my middle-aged (rather than middle-grade) self thinks of it.
According to The Gift of Wings by Mary Henley Rubio, L.M. Montgomery was writing Jane of Lantern Hill during a time of mental distress and instability. She was not sure how she would be able to write a happy ending for Jane. In the end, of course, she did. But the book doesn’t start off the least bit cheery.
I’ve already read the first few chapters of the book – the ones introducing Jane, her mother, and her grandmother. These chapters are a better match for Montgomery’s mindset at the time. The street Jane grew up on is described as “dark and dingy, lined with forbidding, old-fashioned brick houses, grimy with age, whose tall, shuttered, blinded windows could never have thought of winking at somebody.”
Jane, herself, has a heavy heart. Jane hates to be called Victoria, which her grandmother calls her, in that “silky voice”. (Another thing she hates.) At times, she’s afraid she might even hate grandmother, “which was dreadful, because grandmother was feeding and clothing and educating her. Jane knew she ought to love grandmother, but it seemed a very hard thing to do.” Jane felt as though grandmother did not love her. And that grandmother did not want her mother to love her, either. When mother showed her affection , “it made grandmother angry with a still, cold, terrible anger that seemed to freeze the air about her.” Worst of all, Jane hated her father.
It’s made clear to the reader, however, that Jane’s character is not meant to hate; she’s not meant to be suffocated by a domineering grandmother in a dark and joyless house. When Jane meets her friend Jody, who is crying in the backyard next door, Jane wants to help. “Jane always wanted to help… the tragedy of her little existence was that nobody ever wanted her help.” And Jane has “laughter lurking” in her golden-brown eyes.
In The Gift of Wings, Rubio observes that “Jane’s grandmother bears uncanny similarities to the woman Maud could sometimes be: a mother who sometimes meddled in her children’s romantic affairs, who tried to break up relationships she considered unsuitable, and who had fierce ambitions for her offspring.” We all know that Jane is going to have her happy ending – it’s just a matter of how she gets there. If only Maud could have had hers, too.
Sarah and I would love for any of you to join us for a readalong of Jane of Lantern Hill this May. You can join in by reading, commenting, tweeting, or blogging (or all of the above!). If you don’t already, you might like to subscribe to Sarah’s blog as well as mine. We’ll link to each other’s blog posts about the novel as well as to any others. So please share links with us if you decide to write about your experience reading Jane of Lantern Hill. We’ll use the hashtag #ReadingLanternHill.
Other L.M. Montgomery readalongs we’ve had over the years include: the Green Gables Readalong (2015), the Emily Readalong (2017), and The Blue Castle Readalong (2017).
The Green Gables Readalong is how Sarah and I met and discovered that we live within an hour of each other. Since then, we’ve seen each other many times, most often in connection with our Project Bookmark Reading Circle.
Below are several Jane of Lantern Hill book covers. Which one do you own?
33 thoughts on “Announcing a Readalong of Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery: #ReadingLanternHill”
JoLH is not a book I’ve ever heard of before, but years ago Grab the Lapels did an Anne of Green Gables project and I got quite to know LM Montgomery. I’ve made a start on JoLH in the last 10 min, on Proj Gutenberg, and as long as she doesn’t stay 11 I might make it to the end and be able to comment further.
Oh wow, that was fast! I think she stays pretty much the same age, but I hope you make it to the end anyway. It’s not very long… 😉
I remember when Melanie read the Anne books. You always get a good idea of all the aspects of a book from her reviews. I need to go ‘visit’ her again!
I should be sleeping, your midday is our midnight (in W.Aust) but instead I’m up to Ch. 30
Yes! The power of LMM. (Or maybe you have insomnia and you’re hoping it’ll put you to sleep. Lol)
Oh, I’m keen! I’m just sorry I missed the Emily readalong. My edition looks quite similar to the TV tie-in one at the start of this post.
Hooray! Excited to have you join us!
Have you read the Emily books before, or would it have been your first time?
I’ve read them countless times since childhood! ❤️
Fascinating details from Mary Rubio’s biography of LMM—thank you for these! I had forgotten. The house and the grandmother are both so awful.
I’m grateful that we met through our shared love of Anne of Green Gables! I’m looking forward to reading Jane of LH with everyone (and to seeing you at our next reading circle meeting—I’ll make sure to bring Margo’s book for you).
That biography of LMM is one of the best books I ever bought. I bring it out for all of these Readalongs, and I usually end up reading much more than what I intended and have to make myself stop reading so I can get my post done!
Hopefully, I’ll see you tonight! 🙂
It’s a brilliant biography. See you soon!
Thanks for the book! It’s perfect timing… The one I have from the library has to go back.
Perfect! I’ll be interested to hear what you think.
I have never heard of JoLH but would love to join in. It’s years since I read AoGG but it’s very dear to me and would like to get to know LMM’s work more, I shall set about getting myself a copy!
Wonderful to hear! And you even share her name. 😉
The university library has a copy, so I’d like to try to join in on this one.
This is on my TBR, so I’m in!
Hooray, Laila! 🙂
I really enjoyed this book when I read it a few years ago, great choice for a readalong. I like it best after the Anne and Emily books and The Blue Castle, which is my favorite standalone of LMM.
I’m curious to find out how it holds up for me!
Thanks for visiting, Lory! 🙂
I had the first cover! I think the copy is somewhere in my crawlspace, waiting for my own girls. Maybe I can dig it out and join in on this – I’ve read and re-read everything by Montgomery!
Please do! I had no idea you were such a big fan! 🙂
I’ve never even heard of this book (as ashamed as I am to admit it) so I can’t wait to read your review and follow along. Reading your thoughts on it will make me a better Canadian I am sure of it!
You better believe it! Lol
This one’s among my favourite LMMs though its been ages since I read it. Let me see if I can work in a reread.
It would be lovely if you could join in!