The Success Of An Unhappily Married Woman
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The Success Of An Unhappily Married Woman

I enjoy browsing through opportunity shops as we call them here in Melbourne. I think they are called charity or thrift shops in other places.

I have over twenty shops on my regular visiting list. I have picked up some fantastic books people have donated for sale. Titles that were once current best sellers and classic books that captured the imagination of generations of children are my treasured thrift shop finds.

One of the titles I regularly see in the children’s section of most stores is Anne of Green Gables.

One of my prized finds is a VCR of the 1985 ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Canadian television drama starring Megan Follows. Later I was able to find other VCR’s on Anne’s continuing story. There have been a number of actresses playing Anne, but I see Megan Follows as the definitive Anne.

As enjoyable as the films are, every girl would benefit by reading the Anne books. She is a girl with character, a dreamer, impulsive with a redheaded temper and faces life courageously.

The author Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on November 30th, 1874 and died on April 24th, 1942.

Her family lived on Prince Edward Island in Clifton (renamed New London). Her mother died of tuberculosis when Montgomery was 21 months old. Her shattered father gave her mother’s parents’ custody of her. The child was sent to live with them in the nearby town of Cavendish.

Her grandparents were strict and judgmental in the fostering of their granddaughter and the girl was very lonely despite having nearby relatives.

There was a plus side to her childhood. It was the reason she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with the one she lived in.

Her father had remarried and was living on Prince Albert Island. Anne lived with him and his new wife for a year but she was happy to return to her beloved Prince Edward Island in 1891. Her first published work occurred during this year.

Lucy Maud Montgomery attended the Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown and obtained her teaching certificate in 1895.

In 1896, she attended Dalhouse University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and studied literature. She began a teaching career.

Montgomery wrote her first books during the time spent on Prince Edward Island.

Anne reflects Lucy Maud Montgomery. The Anne series reflect Montgomery’s life in numerous ways.

The novel, Anne of Green Gables, was published in 1908 and was an instant success. A series of novels resulted tracing Anne growing up.

Her grandmother died in March 1911 and until then Montgomery had cared for her. This coincided with receiving considerable income from her publications. Although she enjoyed this income, she was aware that “marriage was a necessary choice for women in Canada.”

Montgomery was influenced by the outlook of the time. She believed that she should be married.

She had a few proposals of marriage from men she considered to be unsuitable although she was looking for love and acceptance and protection. She gave up on romantic love and married Ewin Macdonald in 1911 and went to live in Leaksdale, Ontario.

This turned out to be an unfortunate decision.

Macdonald was a Presbyterian minister. Their life wasn't easy. She had three sons one of whom was stillborn. Another died as a soldier in World War One.

The volume of her writing increased at Leakesdale as she battled with depression struggling with church life and motherhood.

Writing was the way she expressed herself.

Unfortunately, she had a number of lawsuits involving a publisher which she eventually won in 1929.

When her husband retired in 1935, they went to live in Swansea, Ontario a suburb of Toronto. She called her home ‘Journey’s End.’

Lucy Maud Montgomery was a prolific writer. She continued to write until her death in 1942.

She published:

  • 20 novels
  • Over 500 short stories
  • Her autobiography
  • A book of poetry

She was famous and aware of it.

The major collections of her work are archived at the University of Guelph. There is a L.M.Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward island.

A lot of research is undertaken around her work.

It seems writers are often unhappy with the work they write. L.M.Montgomery, an author of 20 novels, never felt she achieved her one great book.

Judging by the number of people who regard her books as great fiction many disagree with her.

Mark Twain said Anne was, “the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice.”

Her country also disagreed with her.

She was the first Canadian female to be named a fellow of The Royal Society of the Arts in England. She was also invested in the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

Lucy Maud Montgomery has a worldwide audience.

Thousands of tourists from many countries visit the green gabled Victorian farmhouse in Cavendish Prince Edward Island to honour her work.

Her home, Leakesdale Manse in Ontario, the area surrounding Green Gables and her Cavendish home have all been designated National Historic Sites of Canada.

Montgomery was named as a Person of National Historic Significance by the Canadian government in 1943.

Her work lives on in print, film, television and cartoons. She has fans who have never read any of her work!

Some people are born to write and Lucy Maud Montgomery was one of them. Her contribution to world literature is outstanding and will never be forgotten.

Street Talk

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