CM Archive
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L.M. Montgomery. Illustrated by David Bathurst.
Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 1990.
342pp., cloth, $24.95.
ISBN 0-7710-6178-1. CIP.

Subject Heading:
Prince Edward Island-Fiction.

Grades 8-12 / Ages 13-17

Reviewed by Dorothy Dodge.

Volume 18 Number 5
1990 September

Originally published in 1920, Rilla of Ingleside is the final book in the beloved "Anne" series - told through the eyes of Rilla, Anne's youngest daughter.

The year is 1914. Jem has just completed his first year of medicine at Redmond College, having received his B.A. in 1913. Shirley is studying at Queen's Academy. Walter, Nan and Di have been teaching and plan on attending Redmond in the fall. Rilla has less ambition than her siblings, preferring to remain in Glen St. Mary with Anne, Gilbert, and Susan.

All too quickly life changes - the war is on. Jem and Walter enlist for service. The girls work with the Red Cross and Junior Reds and Rilla takes in a war baby, "Jims." As soon as Shirley is old enough he too enlists in the forces. After four years of war life the Blythe household will never be the same.

There are many books for boys about war. This book is primarily for girls (women?) and tells the other side of the story. The families who are left behind find that life does go on, but always there is the uneasiness behind the calm exteriors, and in many cases, the grief that must be dealt with. Montgomery, through the eyes of Rilla, shows us what suffering war can bring to those at home as well as to those at the front.

The first "Anne Shirley" novel took us into the quiet serenity of a small rural community, where life proceeded in an orderly fashion and all was well with the world. This last novel in the series gives us an entirely different look at the same community and its upheaval during the war years. Both these novels would be excellent background for any class studying W.W.I.

Montgomery's use of language is impressive. It is difficult these days to find an author who tells an excellent and well-researched story and doesn't feel the need to rely on foul language and violence to sell it. For this very reason, it may require a little work to sell Rilla of Ingleside to your students, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Highly recommended.

Dorothy Dodge, Lytton, BC.
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