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SHAME THAT ANNE SHIRLEY'S SWANSONG IS SOMETHING OF A CURATE'S EGG
on 24 February 2016
There are two excellent extended short stories in this volume, "The Cheated Child" and "An Unremarkable Woman" - sorry,I may not have the titles exactly right there!
The rest of them are better and more varied than the ones in, say "Chronicles of Avonlea" or "Akin to Anne", but as is often the case with Maud Montgomery, they are clearly pot-boilers written commercially for popular magazines, and lack the depth and detail of her better novels. (To be fair, her ruthless publisher was responsible for compiling "Chronicles" & "Further Chronicles" without her consent, using drafts, sketches and abandoned tales that repeated the same old ideas relentlessly, but "The Blythes Are Quoted" was apparently compiled by Maud herself.)
Interspersed with these short stories are poems supposedly written by Anne Shirley or her son Walter, as well as snippets of conversation between Anne and members of her family, commenting on the poems.
To be honest, I found the poems rather uninteresting, and the dialogues slight to the point of being trite. Furthermore the division of the stories into pre-WW1 and post-WW1 makes little difference to them, and is inaccurate in at least one instance, where characters in a so-called pre-War tale mention Edith Cavell!
If Maude Montgomery is your cup of tea, this collection (her last ever work) is worth acquiring, but I have to say that I don't think this difficult-to-find edition is worth the search nor the expense. (The copy I bought was an ex-library book from Canada, otherwise the prices on Amazon and elsewhere are prohibitive.) The stories alone (without the poems or dialogues) were originally published by Bantam under the title "The Road to Yesterday", which is easily obtained in paperback and would be more than acceptable to all but the most completest of Montgomerians.