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A Book of Revelation as Love Takes Up the Glass of Time
on 30 June 2004
"Anne of the Island" is the third of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables novels, and completes what we can see as being a trilogy simply becomes Anne finally realizes what everybody has known from early in the first book, which is that Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe are made for each other. Having spent time as the teacher at the Avonlea Schools in "Anne of Avonlea," the Anne girl leaves Prince Edward Island for four years of college. The theme of this story is Anne dealing with "How horrible it is that people have to grow up," as she confronts how her whole world is changing.
Ironically, what makes "Anne of the Island" so romantic is the way it challenges romanticism. Even as a young woman Anne creates a romantic fantasy around the world in which she lives, just like she did at Green Gables where there was the old Snow Queen at the window, the Dryad's Bubble, the Haunted Wood, Lover's Lane and all those "dear spots where memories of the old years bided." Now Anne and Priscilla, her school chum from Redmond, are renting rooms in Patty's Place, and making the home of Miss Patty and Miss Maria into their own. Meanwhile, after a thousand romantic drams and enduring both Diana Barry's wedding and the rejection of Gilbert Blythe's proposal (her second actually), Anne finally meets her Prince Charming, Royal Gardner.
He is handsome and rich, in short, everything that Anne ever dreamed that she wanted in a husband. Then comes the fateful moment when Roy proposes and Anne opens her lips to say her faithful yes. But this is but a false dawn in Anne's life and there is a fateful Book of Revelation that Anne has to endure before love takes up the glass of time. There is romanticism and then there is that which is romantic and Montgomery shows the difference. There is a reason that this character and these books are enduring classics of (supposedly) juvenille literature.
As usual this book is also filled with interesting and colorful characters, such as young Paul and the Rock People, John Douglas who finally speaks at last, and Anne's friend Phillippa Gordon, who also has her eyes opened to the what true love really means. For those who are familiar with the delightful Kevin Sullivan "Anne of Avonlea" sequel there is also the whole episode of "Averil's Atonement" as well as the entire end game with Gilbert. That is the most important part because at long last the final line of Montgomery's original "Anne of Green Gables" novel rings true for our Anne girl.