Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy
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Book review: Marilla of Green Gables

Book review of Marilla of Green Gables

This is my book review of Marilla of Green Gables. I bought the book when I was acquiring the books in the Little House: The Rose Years series, and thought I’d throw that one in there as well. I saved some money on shipping buying more at once, and I had seen the book around. Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy is set to be a prequel to the well-known and well-loved story of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

I read the Anne of Green Gables books growing up and I loved them. So naturally, I wanted more and thought I should give Marilla of Green Gables a try too. Even though it’s not by the same author.

Find it right here on Book Depository or Amazon [affiliate links]

Marilla of Green Gables – The unofficial prequel to Anne

“Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife. Cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines.

[…] She [Marilla] soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.”

The above text is borrowed from the authors website.

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy

Going (back) to Green Gables

Having first read the Anne of Green Gables books, this review of Marilla of Green Gables, is obviously going to be influenced by that. So here goes; I liked going back to this familiar setting, even in a different author’s words. I enjoyed reading more about how some of the characters and places might have come to be. Granted, Sarah McCoy has taken a lot of artistic liberty with this book. As you kind of should, when making it your own. Whether or not we fans of Anne of Green Gables agree with how ‘canon’ this book is, is a different matter.

The general vibe of the book has the same feel as stories about young girls of those times. Except, it is less poetic and more suited to McCoys Marilla. This in itself makes for a bit of a strain between how Montgomery wrote the Anne books and how the point of view in this book, shapes the story. Anne was just always more poetically inclined than Marilla, which is also one of the great charms of our orphan redhead.

Which Marilla are you?

So, the book in itself is a good little cosy read. There is farm family life, landscape descriptions, a bit of love and romance and then some politics of the time. McCoy even have some real danger included.

But the further into the book I got, the less it felt like the Marilla I knew. No spoilers here, as everyone familiar with Anne of Green Gables, know where Marilla ends up. I never actually pictured her as someone who dreamt above all else, to have a family. I couldn’t really match the girl I was reading about, to the one who would end up taking in an orphan Anne so many years later.

There were a lot of inconsistencies for me, character wise, for it to feel like a proper prequel. Some of it I guess, were for romantic or slightly sentimental reasons. Maybe it works for you, it just didn’t connect for me. I still really liked the book though, but as a reimagination of another version of Marilla.

So, if you want to read it but you are hesitant, see it as a nice, coherent and well thought out work of fanfiction. An addition to this world with Octobers, that we all adore so much.

Have you read Marilla of Green Gables or are you just an Anne of Green Gables fan? Let me know in the comments below, if you are a kindred spirit!

If you’re curious, feel free to have a look at my collection of book reviews right here>>

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