By L.M. Montgomery
Anne’s wonderful lively children found a special place all their own. Rainbow Valley was the perfect spot to play, to dream and to make the most unusual friends, like the Merediths. They were two girls and two boys who had no mother. What they did have was a minister father who was looking for a wife but so far had found nothing but heartbreak. Between the minister courting a young spinster and the escapades of the restless children, the town was bubbling with scandal. But in the end, the warmth and laugher of Anne of Green Gables taught all an unforgettable lesson of love.
The #greengablesreadalong continues! This month – Book 7 Rainbow Valley. This book, to me brings back the fond memories of the first book of the series Anne of Green Gables. I can finally shut out the adult social concepts of the time and enjoy the adventures of Anne’s children and their friends the Merediths.
The back cover doesn’t really explain the book well – at least in my point of view. Anne barely makes an appearance in it, which I am sort of thankful for. She is mentioned of course and the suggestion that she is around and never fully forgotten. Even Anne’s children is put to the sidelines. But the book really revolves around the Merediths.
I loved the Merediths from the their first appearance in chapter 4. Like the back cover says, they consist of 2 girls, and 2 boys. Motherless, and their father is the new minister at the Presbyterian church. A daydreamer, John Meredith spends the majority of his time lost in books – of all genres. He is well educated and quick to argue but also finds himself neglecting his children. Allowing them to run free in the town without a care – or completely forgetting about them.
The children are not completely forgotten, they have an aunt who housekeeps for her, but is half blind and deaf and feeds them barely anything eatable. By the first chapter, we already hear of their scandals. They play in the Methodist graveyard, speak their minds and Faith – the oldest girl – has a quick temper. Yet, they have good hearts and mean well.
The book goes through many of their scandals, misfortunes and disasters that befall children at the age. They attempt to do good, but even that seems to get them into trouble. You can’t help but feel sorry for these four children, not because they are motherless but because the town gossips have nothing else to do but complain about their behavior, lack of suitable clothes and bad manners.
Faith Meredith is my favorite of the manse children, the most passionate and caring she takes the centre stage in many of the scandals that happen. She really reminds me of Anne from the first book, even in this book the adult Anne makes mention of how she too was like Faith at that age – to the disbelieving Miss Cornelia.
This book is a nice refresher in a way of what L.M. Montgomery does best, children characters. I was getting tired of adult Anne lately, her children in the past book Anne of Ingelside were the highlight for me and kept me reading along. With Rainbow Valley, each chapter was fun, full of some scandal or attempt of the Meredith children to become proper without a role model to help them. They are memorable and enjoyable.
By the end of the book, things begin to settle into place. Jem (Anne’s oldest) is off to Queens, the Meredith’s get a step mother, and life it seems is at peace. Until Walter ruins it with the Pied Piper poem.
I’m unsure what was on Montgomery’s mind in that last two pages. She gives you a forshadowing of future events leading up to the First World War. Yes, there is small mention of the troubles in Germany in places earlier in the book, but the ending just made it so dire. It put a damper on my impression of the light hearted story.
The Pied Piper is coming nearer,” he said, “he is nearer than he was that evening I saw him before. His long shadowy cloak is blowing around him. He pipes – he pipes – and we must follow – Jem and Carl and Jerry and I – round and round the world. Listen – listen – can’t you hear his wild music? – Walter Blythe Rainbow Valley
Seriously, did she have to but such a downer on the last page???
I am now worried about picking up the final book Rilla of Ingleside. It is the one book in this series I have never read, part of me refused to read it as it will end my Anne of Green Gables series once and for all. However, i’ve heard enough to know that that last book may make me cry and war will come.