The Blue Castle

I feel like I’ve been talking a lot about comfort food these days. I mean, after wading through sidewalks full of slush, bundling up and bundling down as we go through our daily routines, and never quite feeling warm enough, a good pot of soup or stew and a piping cup of mulled wine is really what can make your heart go from a feeble skip and hop to a full-out sprint towards that contented state of being we all crave.

So now, I’m going to talk about a comfort book–‘The Blue Castle.’ This little gem of a novel was written by the beloved L.M. Montgomery, famous for authoring the Anne of Green Gables series. She’s Canadian, sentimental, and a romantic. A winning combination!

My Canadian blogosphere friend Circe also loves L.M. Montgomery, and has written a short biography over on her blog this morning so that you all can learn about Lucy a little more. So hop over and check it out!

‘The Blue Castle’ is definitely a book for girls. I just can’t imagine a boy getting that into it . . . but who knows. Maybe that’s just because I have a husband who reads nonfiction like it’s his job.

Oh wait, he’s a history PhD student. I guess it is his job. And strangely enough, he seems to . . . enjoy it. *scratching head* Oh well. Some things I just can’t hope to understand.

Anyway. This book is the story of a 29-year-old ‘spinster’ named Valancy finding true love. She starts off a pathetic and fearful person who can’t summon the guts stand up to her manipulative mother, and is even afraid to redecorate her own bedroom. However, a turn of events whisks her into the turbulence of destiny, and she casts away her old self in favor of a new, back-boney, much more likeable self. And then stuff happens. There’s a rugged ruffian of a hero. There’s an escape from home. Danger on a train track. A backwoods country dance from which our heroine needs rescuing. There are rambles through the woods with pages and pages about the beauties of nature. There are juicy family characters like Uncle Wallace or Aunt Mildred, shocked at this ‘new’ Valancy who speaks exactly what’s on her mind.

In fact, let’s just go ahead and set the scene:

“If it had not rained on a certain May morning Valancy Stirling’s whole life would have been entirely different. She would have gone, with the rest of her clan, to Aunt Wellington’s engagment picnic and Dr. Trent would have gone to Montreal. But it did rain and you shall hear what happened to her because of it.

Valancy wakened early, in the lifeless, hopeless hours just preceding dawn. She had not slept very well. One does not sleep well, sometimes, when one is twenty-nine on the morrow, and unmarried, in a community and connection where the unmarried are simply those who have failed to get a man. Deerwood and the Stirlings had long since relegated Valancy to hopeless old maidenhood. But Valancy herself had never quite relinquished a certain pitiful, shamed, little hope that Romance would come her way yet . . .”

If you like Anne of Green Gables, chances are you will love this little book. I admit that it’s overly verbose (especially in the descriptions of nature), and quite sappy at times–but it’s also hopeful and whimsical, and I love it to my very core.

I’ve probably read it a dozen times in the past 18 years of my life. You can tell because the pages are starting to detach themselves from the spine.

Let me describe to you the perfect evening:

Me + The Blue Castle + a hot beverage + couch =

Heaven.

The End.

19 thoughts on “The Blue Castle

  1. Pingback: Living with and Reading Lucy Maude Montgomery « The Next Odyssey

  2. Circe

    I know I’m partial, but this is such a nice book, and such a nice synopsis Jenna. BTW is the second picture the cover of your copy? it’s very pretty.

    Reply
    1. Jenna

      No, my cover looks like the first picture. I saw that second cover for the first time when I did an image search for the book. I think I like it better than the one I have, which looks so hopelessly like a bad romance! =)

      Reply
      1. orange

        that’s exactly what I was thinking! the first cover put me off, and despite everything you wrote, I remained off-put, right until I saw the second cover and suddenly understood the book’s potential!

  3. bonnie

    Jenna: Thanks so much for your visit to my blog! L. M. Montgomery is a favorite of my dear daughter-in-law’s. I have not read any of her books but they are on my list. We stocked up on food as well from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods yesterday after having brunch at one of our favorite restaurants in the Soffitel. At least we can eat–very important!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

    Reply
  4. Veronica

    How oh how has this gem escaped my radar until now?! I love Anne of Green Gables series so I’m sure I’d adore this too! Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Joanne

    You know what would be awesome? Reading this with a bowl of stew in front of me. While getting a foot massage. Comfort on comfort on comfort action.

    Reply
  6. Sydney

    Have you read the Emily books? Those were also very good when I was younger. Haven’t read this one yet, though. Also, I just found out that they made a TV show from the Emily books – “Emily of New Moon.” We don’t watch TV at all so that could be old news, but I thought I’d share it anyway. :)

    Reply
    1. Jenna

      Yes! I love the Emily books! I think I read them even before The Blue Castle–they’re old time favorites of mine. So heartbreaking when she has to turn down Dean though! That always gets me. And I had no idea they turned it into a show–I’ll have to check it out.

      Reply
  7. Gemma

    I can see already that this is also going to be a comfort book for me for the rest of my life! I only read it over the past weekend, and came across your blog post today while googling for more info. True, it could be seen as sappy, but LMM just has a way of making even the most wildly romantic tale seem plausible and there’s always plenty humour within. I really liked Barney, and Valancy proved to be quite the rebel. The Emily series had always been my number one, but The Blue Castle is a good contender now. As for your idea of heaven, maybe that’s why Valancy speaks to you (and me)-her idea of heaven definitely involved a few good books, cats and being curled up by the fire :)

    Reply

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