May 29, 2024

The Blue Castle Graphic Novel

The Blue Castle Graphic Novel by Maaike Bouhuyzen-Wenger adapted from the novel by L.M. Montgomery


The Blue Castle is one of my favorite stories by L.M. Montgomery. I wanted to share an in-progress graphic novel adaptation of The Blue Castle by Maaike Bouhuyzen-Wenger. Maaike is a Canadian artist who is based in Toronto, and her specialties include printmaking and pen & ink drawing. She began drawing and designing her graphic novel in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the introduction to her project on Tumblr, Maaike writes that she thought The Blue Castle seemed "to be a good choice for my first graphic novel project – an opportunity to practice art work and learn from mistakes without the pressure of writing my own story and characters." She has currently concluded Part 2 of the story.

I just began exploring this adaptation, and I think the novel is a beautiful choice for her work. I'm excited to view both Valancy's personal growth and Maaike's artistic growth as the project continues.

External Links:
The Blue Castle Graphic Novel by Maaike Bouhuyzen-Wenger adapted from the novel by L.M. Montgomery
Maaike Bouhuyzen-Wenger's Website

Image Credit:
Page from The Blue Castle Graphic Novel by Maaike Bouhuyzen-Wenger adapted from the novel by L.M. Montgomery.

Created May 29, 2024.

May 28, 2024

The beauty of winter...

A quote from The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery: The beauty of winter is that it makes you appreciate spring.

"The beauty of winter is that it makes you appreciate spring."
-L.M. Montgomery
Sara Stanley in The Story Girl

Read more quotes by L.M. Montgomery.

Image credit:
Photograph by World of Anne Shirley.

Purchase and read The Story Girl and The Golden Road:

The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery

Created May 28, 2024.

May 27, 2024

The L.M. Montgomery Bookshelf

The L.M. Montgomery Bookshelf at the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island
The L.M. Montgomery Bookshelf is a project launched by the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island in November 2022. It is described as, "a physical and digital collection of some of Montgomery's most-loved or most interesting reads." The bookshelf is curated by Dr. Emily Woster, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in Duluth.

It's interesting to consider what a writer reads and how books influence them. Which books did L.M. Montgomery own, quote from, and give as gifts to others? This website helps explore these questions, and the book collection will continue to expand over time.

Image credit:
Screencapture adapted from The L.M. Montgomery Bookshelf website.

Created May 27, 2024.

May 26, 2024

L.M. Montgomery and War

L.M. Montgomery and War edited by Andrea McKenzie and Jane Ledwell

In 2017, L.M. Montgomery and War was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. This book of scholarship examines how war influenced L.M. Montgomery's life and work. It was edited by Andrea McKenzie and Jane Ledwell. The volume contains contributions by Jonathan F. Vance, Irene Gammel, E. Holly Pike, Susan Fisher, Laura M. Robinson, Sarah Glassford, Maureen O. Gallagher, Caroline E. Jones, Andrea McKenzie, and Elizabeth Epperly.

Here's the description of the volume from McGill-Queen’s University Press:

War marked L.M. Montgomery’s personal life and writing. As an eleven-year-old, she experienced the suspense of waiting months for news about her father, who fought during the North-West Resistance of 1885. During the First World War, she actively led women’s war efforts in her community, while suffering anguish at the horrors taking place overseas. Through her novels, Montgomery engages directly with the global conflicts of her time, from the North-West Resistance to the Second World War. Given the influence of her wartime writing on Canada’s cultural memories, L.M. Montgomery and War restores Montgomery to her rightful place as a major war writer.

Reassessing Montgomery’s position in the canon of war literature, contributors to this volume explore three central themes in their essays: her writing in the context of contemporaneous Canadian novelists, artists, and poets; questions about her conceptions of gender identity, war work, and nationalism across enemy lines; and the themes of hurt and healing in her interwar works.

Drawing on new perspectives from war studies, literary studies, historical studies, gender studies, and visual art, L.M. Montgomery and War explores new ways to consider the iconic Canadian writer and her work.


L.M. Montgomery and War is a delight to read. The use of biography, journals, and historical context is admirable. The writing is clear and engaging, always with an eye towards the general readership that Montgomery engages, and the range of issues evoked by a focus on war in Montgomery’s work is truly amazing and illuminating.” Holly Blackford, Rutgers University

“Andrea McKenzie and Jane Ledwell’s edited collection has much to offer anyone interested in how readers remember female authors who do not abide by the cultural scripts defining the topics appropriate to them.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly

The book includes the following essays:

Part One: The Canons of War

1. “Some Great Crisis of Storm and Stress”: L.M. Montgomery, Canadian Literature, and the Great War by Jonathan F. Vance
2. Mapping Patriotic Memory: L.M. Montgomery, Mary Riter Hamilton, and the Great War by Irene Gammel
3. Education for War: Anne of Green Gables and Rilla of Ingleside by E. Holly Pike
4. “Watchman, What of the Night?”: L.M. Montgomery’s Poems of War by Susan Fisher

Part Two: Gendering War

5. L.M. Montgomery’s Great War: The Home as Battleground in Rilla of Ingleside by Laura M. Robinson
6. “I Must Do Something to Help at Home”: Rilla of Ingleside in the Context of Real Women’s War Work by Sarah Glassford
7. Across Enemy Lines: Gender and Nationalism in Else Ury’s and L.M. Montgomery’s Great War Novels by Maureen O. Gallagher

Part Three: Healing or Hurt?
The Aftermath

8. The Shadows of War: Interstitial Grief in L.M. Montgomery’s Final Novels by Caroline E. Jones
9. Women at War? One Hundred Years of Visualizing Rilla by Andrea McKenzie
10. Emily’s Quest: L.M. Montgomery’s Green Alternative to Despair and War? By Elizabeth Epperly

Image credit:
Book cover of L.M. Montgomery and War from McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Purchase and read L.M. Montgomery and War:

L.M. Montgomery and War

Created May 26, 2024.

May 25, 2024

We were always good friends...

A quote on friendship by L.M. Montgomery in Kilmeny of the Orchard.

"We were always good friends until she turned against all the world."
-L.M. Montgomery
Kilmeny of the Orchard

Read more quotes by L.M. Montgomery.

Image credit:
Photograph by World of Anne Shirley.

Purchase and read Kilmeny of the Orchard:

Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery

Created May 25, 2024.

May 24, 2024

Megan Follows on Playing Anne of Green Gables

Megan Follows as Anne Shirley in the 1985 Anne of Green Gables miniseries

Megan Follows is known for playing the outspoken, imaginative and talkative Anne Shirley in the 1985 TV miniseries Anne of Green Gables, which was based on L.M. Montgomery's novel. In December 2023, Follows reminisced about how playing Anne Shirley changed her life in a podcast conversation with the CBC's Tom Power. In the introduction to the podcast, Power mentions how the conversation made him rethink Anne of Green Gables and consider how radical the story was then and how relevant it still is today. I loved their conversation. Give it a listen!

Sometimes actors dislike being identified with a particular role, but not Megan Follows. She expressed gratitude about playing Anne Shirley and emphasized how great it was to play a character that was "a girl that got to express rage." When asked about her relationship with the character, Follows responded, "I love Anne...She and I have a great relationship. We're tight. We're bosom buddies. I think she's an extraordinary character, and uhm, I always felt incredibly grateful to have played her and to have been introduced to a strong-willed, female-driven story where you got to be number one from the point of view of a story." Often, Follows reflects, women are the appendage in stories and not the backbone or driving force. In contrast, Anne has a driving force to belong and to be seen for herself, and Follows believes that this is what resonates with people.

Megan Follows delved back into L.M. Montgomery's stories in preparing to record an Emily of New Moon audiobook a few years ago and then to direct a new Audible Anne of Green Gables audiobook featuring Michela Luci, Catherine O’Hara, Victor Garber, and Sandra Oh. Follows remarks that her deep dive back into the stories allowed her to discover "the subversiveness of the text." She had previously understood Montgomery's humor, but now she observed her way of pointing out hypocrisy through Anne. Follows feels that the power of the character scares people.

Follows sees Anne's compulsive talking as coming from a dark place where Anne chooses to go toward the light, not out of naivety, but for her own survival. As an example, she mentions how Anne planned to sleep in a cherry tree at the train station. She believes that Anne came up with this idea for safety, but that Anne focused on the beauty of the blossoms because she was terrified to be abandoned and alone in the world. Follows says that Montgomery used poetry because children don't actually speak this way.

Follows also reflected on her amazing experiences working with Colleen Dewhurst (Marilla Cuthbert) and Patricia Hamilton (Rachel Lynde). She discussed how Richard Farnsworth (Matthew Cuthbert) was only available for six days of filming, so she worked very long hours with him to film his scenes. Later, she did scenes with a grip stand with a hat on it as a stand-in. Follows also talked about the raspberry cordial scene with Schuyler Grant, who played Diana Barry. They were giving Grant glasses of watered down grape juice or Ribena, and she really did get sick after filming the scene multiple times. Follows briefly mentioned that her heart always smiles for Jonathan Crombie and that they laughed a lot.

Power asked Follows about her audition for Anne. Strangely, the day after her audition, her tape disappeared, and she had to redo her audition at the last minute. Follows mentions that there was another actress who was the first choice for Anne Shirley and that she had to fight for the role. Luckily, she had advocates at the CBC and someone at PBS who believed that she was the right fit for the role.

Later, when asked about how the success of the miniseries affected her, she reflected that she is grateful that she did a good job playing Anne, and that she has received a tremendous amount of goodwill because of the character and how much the character and writing mean to people.

Toward the end of the conversation, Follows talked about how she is currently developing a limited series on the life of L.M. Montgomery, her legacy and the power of her writing. I can't wait to hear more.

Image credit:

Photograph of Megan Follows as Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables © Sullivan Entertainment.

Created May 24, 2024.

May 23, 2024

The Golden Road and the Brattle Book Shop

Postcard-sized image of the 1913 cover of The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery with art by George Gibbs in The Brattle Book Shop, Boston

A few months back, I wrote about how I encountered an old copy of The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery unexpectedly. Today, I was looking through old photos on my phone, and I realized I had another encounter with The Golden Road last summer.

At the time, I was exploring the Brattle Book Shop in Boston. It's one of the oldest book shops in the U.S., having been established in 1825, and it's one of my favorite places. While I was wandering through the store, I spotted a postcard-sized image of the 1913 cover of The Golden Road with art by George Gibbs. The picture was affixed to the side of a bookshelf. 

The Golden Road
was first published in Boston by L.C. Page & Co in 1913. The Page Company was once located at 53 Beacon Street, just across the Boston Commons from the Brattle Book Shop. It's a short, less than 10-minute walk, between the publisher's office and the book shop. I imagine that first editions of L.M. Montgomery's novels were once sold in the Brattle Book Shop. I looked for an old copy of one of Montgomery's novels there, but had no luck finding one. Maybe next time.

Image credit:
Photograph by World of Anne Shirley.

Created May 23, 2024.

May 22, 2024

Anne of Green Gables Crochet Doll

Last summer, I purchased an Anne of Green Gables crochet doll on Etsy from Zeylum's store. I thought the doll would a cute companion for my Anne of Green Gables books. It turned out that the Anne Shirley doll I was sent was different from the product photos.

Here's the product photo from Etsy:

My doll has much shorter braids, no bangs, and less hair. It has a higher forehead and less rosy cheeks. Its hat has also a different shape and has differently colored flowers. I much prefer the wide brimmed hat with the yellow, pink, and blue colored flowers in the product photo.

It's a bit disappointing. If you're thinking of purchasing one of these Anne Shirley dolls, then you might want to keep in mind that your doll may look different from the pictures online.

Image credits:
Photograph by World of Anne Shirley and product photo from Etsy.

Created May 22, 2024. Last updated June 4, 2024.