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L.M. Montgomery.
Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 1990.
310pp., cloth, $24.95.
ISBN 0-7710-6155-2. CIP.


Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson.

Volume 18 Number 5
1990 September

Readers' loyalty to favourite authors could misdirect middle school readers should they mistakenly believe this collection is meant for them. Despite a dust jacket statement claiming "For all ages," the subject matter and writing style of Among the Shadows disqualify it from being a candidate for the recreational reading collections of either school libraries or juvenile/young adult departments in public libraries. Nevertheless, the collection is a valuable contribution to Canada's literary history and should be purchased by academic libraries and adult departments of public libraries.

Scrapbooks discovered by editor Wilmshurst in the attic of L.M. Montgomery's birth place in Prince Edward Island provided a stockpile of stories not previously published in book form. Among the Shadows is the third of a four volume series. Originally published in newspapers and magazines between 1897 and 1935, the majority of the stories collected in Among the Shadows appeared before 1910. The books five illustrations are reproductions of those which originally accompanied the stories.

The subtitle reflects critics' belief that Montgomery had a "'darker side' to her life." Failed romances, theft, murder and ghosts are the substance of some of the "tales," but Wilmhurst perhaps pushes the "darker side" too far as an organizing theme when she includes stories such as 'The Deacon's Painkiller" and "A Redeeming Sacrifice." While the former includes drunkenness, the story is more humorous that dark; the latter story features a wastrel, but the nobility of his final actions illustrates the finer, not the baser, side of humanity.

An important book to Montgomery scholars, but not a title of appeal to a juvenile audience.

Dave Jenkinson, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.
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