Rilla of Ingleside

Our rating: ****

Rilla Blythe is Anne’s youngest child and practically fifteen. Her very first party is ruined by the news of World War I. One by one, her older brothers and friends leave to fight, leaving her at home to wait and watch through the war. Of course, Rilla being Anne’s daughter means that she must have her share of mishaps, including bringing home a war baby in a soup tureen.

The Anne of Green Gables series takes a plunge into historical fiction for its final book and does remarkably well. I felt that some of the previous books in the series were missing out on a through line, so Rilla was a welcome surprise. It possibly has the biggest story arc in all eight books. I remember disliking it when I was younger, but this time around, I think it may be one of my favorites in the series.

Anne’s House of Dreams

Our rating: ***½

Anne and Gilbert finally get married and move into their house of dreams. What follows is the account of their life there and their interactions with their new neighbors. There’s Miss Cornelia, who has some fun quirks; Captain Jim, a retired sailor; and then there’s Leslie, whose tragic life makes Anne reach out to her.

And really, there’s not much of a throughline here. Most of this fifth Anne book involves small, one or two chapter stories. We get plenty of L. M. Montgomery’s signature Anne humor and heartwarming here, though, and it only gets better with the second read. I do prefer some of the other books in the series better, but I did find this one quite enjoyable.

Anne of the Island

Our rating: ****

Anne is off to college! There she meets many new friends and stays in touch with just as many old ones. In between exams, finding the perfect house to rent, various escapades, and college social life, Anne must accept that she has grown up. Which means entertaining a few suitors…

Anne of the Island follows a somewhat more condensed style as four years of college are condensed into a single book. This feels rather rushed to me, especially with the suitors bit of my synopsis going on. It’s no secret that Anne discovers somebody she loves by the end of the book, but with the time so squished together, I never felt like I got to know some of her options. That’s really my biggest complaint, though, and it’s certainly no reason to pass up this delightful third Anne book.

Anne of Ingleside

Our rating: ***½

Anne is now a mother of five, soon to be six. This book chronicles a few years of the Blythe family’s life, from Aunt Mary Maria’s visit that goes on, and on, and on, through the many escapades of the usually well-meaning children.

This book doesn’t really have a definite on-going plot. Each of the children have their own little “adventures” of various sorts, and Anne herself is not very predominant until the very end, which does happen rather abruptly. I didn’t find it to be a highlight in the series, but it is worth reading if you have enjoyed the other Anne books.

Rainbow Valley

Our rating: ****½

The Meredith family has come to live at St. Glen’s Point, but as Mrs. Meredith died long ago, and Mr. Meredith is busy with his duty as the new minister, the Meredith children, Jerry, Una, Faith, and Carl have to look after themselves. As a result, they’re almost always getting into trouble, although half the time it’s more of an accident than anything else. They do their best to raise themselves (even forming a Good Conduct club), but most people think things would be better for everyone if Mr. Meredith were to marry again…

The seventh in the Anne of Green Gables series, Rainbow Valley focuses more on the Merediths, than the Ingleside children. The many escapades of the Meredith children can be quite funny, along with the part where a young couple comes to the manse to be married, and Mr. Meredith, who can be rather absent-minded at times, begins the ceremony and gets to “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust,” before he vaguely realizes that he’s performing a funeral, not a wedding.