Reading, Resolutions and Castles in the Air

by Victoria Madden

With New Year’s Eve being a going out sort of time, I’d intended to follow up my piece on women’s clothing in the inter-war years with some thoughts on men’s evening wear during the same period. I’d got as far as drafting it out when a reply to a comment I’d left some months ago at Book Snob’s review of The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery (author of the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series) reminded me that I hadn’t read any of her books in years. So I spent all day yesterday re-reading The Blue Castle instead of finishing my post.

It really is a charming book with a very positive message and I thoroughly recommend it to you, whatever time of the year, or mood, you happen to be in. I found a transcription over at the Australian branch of Project Gutenberg, if you can’t get hold of a copy – though, be warned, the tiny font had me almost cross-eyed by the end of it.

My New Year’s Resolution, then, as far as the blogosphere is concerned anyway, is to write book reviews. I made a first attempt over the summer and several months later, having wrestled it down to nine pages, I eventually put it to one side until I had either learned sense or the necessary skills for such a deceptively simple format (Tom at novelreading and Sindhuja at The Random Book Review seem to have this pegged if you want to fill in time while I’m getting to grips with this new writing form).

So, with book reviews in mind and in gratitude for the kindly prompt, I have once more turned to the Girl’s Own Annual, this time from 1915/16, to bring you the following:

Transcribed by myself; copyright The Lutterworth Press.


A new ‘Anne book’

Members of the Reading Club who read Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea will be glad to hear of another “Anne” book, Anne of the Island, and any who do not already know Anne will find it worth their while to make her acquaintance in this book. Here we find her – no less interesting a personality than in her younger days – at college, and the story of her college life will appeal to all girls. Not the least interesting part of the tale, however, is the vacation time, and the reader will enjoy going home for the holidays almost as much as Anne does herself. Indeed one can almost feel the rest of beautiful Avonlea. The heroine is a bright, lovable character, and her influence over the mischievous Davy – the life and torment of Green Gables is very sweet. Davy’s difficulties over his prayers, his discovery that to be naughty is far easier than to be good, his perpetual “I want to know,” are settled by Anne in a delightful way.

Don’t you know, too, the type of lady whose conversation consists of statements, and who completes every few sentences with the emphatic words, “That’s what!”? There you have Mrs Lynde, another inhabitant of Green Gables, and Davy’s special trial. She is quite a character, but a dear thing.

An interesting feature of the book is the amount of Anne’s proposals. She has four – one by proxy. Whether she accepts any of them, and whether her decision is a right and wise one, you will want to discover for yourself.

There are heaps of other interesting folk in the story – Aunt Jamesina, with her cat family ; Phil, whose one trial was that she never knew her own mind – oh, yes, she did once ; Marilla, the stern silent woman with a heart of gold ; to say nothing of Anne’s numerous men acquaintances.

You must really get this book, and, when you have read it, I think you will be wanting to get copies for your friends’ birthdays. It is published by Sir Issac Pitman and Sons, 1, Amen Corner, London, E.C., price 6s.


The Girl’s Own Annual January 1916