I wanted to like this book more then I did. Of all the Anne books, this is the one most distant from Anne herself, which is saying something considering she practically disappeared in the last couple of books bearing her name. This is a collection of short stories, most of which had been published previously, which Montgomery slightly altered to fit the Blythes in somehow (it’s more obvious in some stories then others) and then connected with a few poems and smaller pieces of Anne reading those poems to her family.
As I’ve gone through this re-read, I’ve been most fascinated by the ways in which Anne changed from the first book to the last, and to be honest I’m not really sure that the Anne in the later books is actually all that similar to the Anne of the first books, and not just because she grows up. Somewhere between Green Gables and Ingleside Anne developed a reputation for being a matchmaker. This trait is found nowhere in the first few books, in fact she purposefully stays out of Phillipa’s life in Anne of the Island, but it’s a huge part of the later books, and it’s odd. That matchmaking trait is referenced frequently in these short stories, and while I can see that connecting this book to Anne of Ingleside, Anne’s House of Dreams, Rainbow Valley, and even Rilla of Ingleside, it’s very hard to connect it to Anne of Green Gables. I think in many ways Montgomery let Anne become too perfect and saintly, and so she gradually disappeared as the books progressed. Susan Baker is far more prominent a character in this book.
As for the stories themselves, they’re fine. There were some stories where the patching Montgomery did to fit them into the Green Gables universe shows rather blatantly. However, they’re fine short stories for all that. As a snapshot of life in the early 20th century Canada, it’s very interesting.
For the completists among you, I think this is probably something you ought to search out. I’m glad I did, though I don’t know if I’ll ever really return to it. However, I don’t think a casual reader is going to get a whole lot out of it.