Illustration of white girl with red hair in a bun, standing in a field of yellow flowers with a barn in the background, holding yellow flowers in her hands

About the Book

Title: Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables #2)
Published: 1909
Series: Anne of Green Gables
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Cover Story: Classic
BFF Charm: Totes
Talky Talk: It’s Not For nothin’ That I Call My Dog ‘Lucy Maud’
Bonus Factors: Growing Up, Community, Marilla Cuthbert – Mother @#$%*@#!
Relationship Status: I’ll Always Keep a Corner For This Book. Maybe Not the Spare Room…

Cover Story: Classic

With this cover, there’s no doubt everyone will know EXACTLY what you’re reading, but THAT’S OKAY.

The Deal:

Anne Shirley is growing up. She’s got a position teaching the Avonlea School, she’s helping Marilla run Green Gables, and she’s started the Avonlea Village Improvement Society (A.V.I.S.) with her old school chums. She’s not the reckless young orphan she once was –but she still has a knack for getting herself into ridiculous situations.

BFF Charm: Totes

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

As Anne has matured, some of her whimsy has mellowed out a bit, but she’s still the starry-eyed imaginative girl I would be proud to call my bosom friend. Anne’s 16-18 in this second installment, and we get to see her making adult decisions –both wise and completely wrong.

I would also like to give my charm to little Paul Irving and Miss Lavendar, for being true kindred spirits. Like Paul, I think we’re lucky to have all found each other.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

There’s really hardly ANY of the romance between Anne and Gilbert here. This book is the perfect segue of their relationship from mortal enemies (on her part) to husband and wife. Their friendship develops gently, even though Gilbert is emphatically in love with her. As we see Anne being resistant to acknowledge her growing feelings for him, I can’t help but wish there was MORE of him in this book, but I appreciated the story for what it was –Anne, developing as a woman, without the press of ‘finding a man’ upon her.

Talky Talk: It’s Not For Nothin’ That I Call My dog ‘Lucy Maud’

This second installment lacks some of the first’s fervor, but instead of being boring or trite, this books wraps you up like an old quilt while you’re sitting out in a rocker on a breezy early Autumn evening; and as the sun sets and the air cools, it gives you a cup of tea with toast and gently brushes your hair.

Bonus Factor: Growing Up

Various stages of a seedling growing in dirt

Despite the era in which these books were written, Montgomery allows Anne to grow up without the pressure to marry or ‘know her place’ as a woman. As Marilla suggests, Anne is allowed to dust off her ambitions and use her mind and find her own way. Essentially, Anne is just allowed to BE. In my opinion, that is feminism at its finest.

Bonus Factor: Community

The gazebo and town sign, decorated for a fall festival, in Stars Hollow

The Avonlea community expands through Anne’s eyes in this one, and it is an interesting and funny and sometimes sweet –and sometimes not– group of characters. Some of my favorite bits took place at the stone cottage, but I also loved learning about Mr. J.A. Harrison and his dratted parrot. I loved the triumphs and tragedies surrounding the work of the A.V.I.S., and even the Pyes made me smile… on occasion.

Bonus Factor: Marilla Cuthbert – Mother @#$%^@#!

Close up of Marilla Cuthbert from the 1980s' Anne of Green Gables movie.

I think we should start giving out Marilla Cuthbert Awards for women/mothers/aunts/what-have-you who are just the most awesome of awesomeness ever to be writ. As Anne matures, so does Marilla. She accepts the sacrifice of Anne staying back from college with thankfulness, and allows her little girl to be her own woman. And when she sees an opportunity to set Anne on her own path, she does it –not by making decisions FOR Anne, but by coming up with a solution, and letting Anne decide for herself. Plus, she’s just KICK. ASS. I L U Marilla!

Relationship Status: I’ll Always Keep a Corner For This Book. Maybe Not the Spare Room…

…Because this book wouldn’t want anything so fancy. The second chapter in Anne’s life is thrilling and fun and sweet, but above anything else, it is COZY. I always enjoyed it as a young, but reading it again now has given me a much deeper appreciation for it. Avonlea has aged well, and I have a feeling it will only continue to get better with time.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Anne of Avonlea is available now.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.