I have. And not just once–probably a dozen times through, starting at approximately age 9, and continuing to this very moment. At this exact minute, I have the last book (“Emily’s Quest”) on my desk, bookmarked with a receipt from Starbucks, with only about 100 pages left before I sadly have to close the doors on this magical world. Authored by L.M. Montgomery (most beloved for “Anne of Green Gables”), this trilogy is one of my lifelong companions. Know what I mean? Some books just walk through life with you.
Yes, they are a little sentimental. Maybe a lot. If you didn’t grow up with this writing, you might find it a little too saccarine. Even I wondered if I had grown out of them for the first dozen pages . . . and then quickly adapted again to the style. But its faults aside, if you have that girlishly romantic streak in you, you might just love them as much as I do, and be swept up in the torrent of the story. However much the plot may end up in satisfying places, there is also real heartbreak strewn throughout the story. Twists that make my heart clench even now, especially as I know the moments in question are approaching.
Emily, a native of Canada born some time in the early 20th century (or late 19th?), is orphaned at age 11, and taken to live with her relatives the Murrays, a clan of people known for their pride, traditions, and general hoity-toitiness. Tradition has it that in the days of Noah, there was a special ark just for the Murrays.
Emily moves to a a farm called New Moon to live with her two spinster aunts and “simple” cousin Jimmy. New Moon is a place of tradition and beauty, a place where only candles are burned–gas lamps being too modern–, where the parlor is meant for company, and where Emily must wear buttoned boots instead of running barefoot. Emily, with (of course) pale skin, thick black hair and violet-grey eyes, is a dreamy and imaginative girl who is always caught up in one flight of fancy or another. She’s an aspiring poetess, a loyal friend, and, having one foot in fairyland, not always as well-mannered and proper as her stiff-spined family might desire. The trilogy begins when she’s 11 and ends when she’s 24, covering all those important years of growth, maturity, awakening, and the beginnings of romantic love. Through narration (with just enough omnipresence of the author) and Emily’s journal entries, we watch Emily evolve and grow from a girl to a woman, pursuing her unconventional dream of making a living for herself through her pen, gaining her independence, and (of couse) finding love.
While L.M. Montgomery’s trademarks are all over the books (an orphan, a stiff and proper older woman whose love this orphan earns over time, a woman who aspires to support herself and be independent, etc.), Emily is a very different character than Anne of Green Gables, and most definitely has her own voice. In another life, she and I are fast friends, and never doubt it.
Your library is bound to have these books, so look them up and check them out! And then you will sink into this lovely world where the sea is moaning, the fires are rustling, the cats are prowling, and the wind is moving in the evergreens.