Lucy Maud Montgomery is my Austen. And by that I mean that for some people Jane Austen is their Austen – the author they admire the most, who possibly shaped their own writing, and to whom they inevitably escape when real life is far too lacking in fancy balls, Mr. Darcy, and sentences with felicitous words and lots and lots of commas. For me, this inspiration is Montgomery, as evidenced by “Anne books” being one of my fairly frequented tags. If you’ve been reading the blog long enough, you may also know about a little dream I have to one day write the screenplay for the eighth book in the series, Rilla of Ingleside.
I also have a little idea for a novel budding in my head that explores my intense love for the Canadian author and her books. I won’t talk about it, because I live in panic lest someone write it before I can. The movie – you can write before me if you like. I mostly just WANT TO SEE IT.
Still, every so often, I google Rilla to make sure it’s not yet in production – and when I do, I always stumble upon this whole community loving the books and the people in them every bit as much as I do. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone, though sometimes a little unsettling to realize how very not alone you are. Well, this time I googled the author herself. I’ll need to do some research if I’m going to write a decent book one day, and that’s when I stumbled upon sheer gold for Montgomery fans: A NEW BOOK* by her.
Okay, it’s not precisely new. It’s the last one she wrote and has already been published in an abridged version under a different name. But in the fall of this year, it will be re-released by Penguin under its original name and unabridged. Are you dying to know the title? THE BLYTHES ARE QUOTED. I’m not even kidding, People. It is technically the ninth book in the Anne series, and I’m so giddy with excitement it almost outweighs my own writing dreams, which frankly have been threatening to drive me insane.
Now lest you think we’re going to get to find out how many children Rilla and Kenneth have and how breathtakingly beautiful they are and whether or not any of them are named Leslie (after Kenneth’s mother and one of the most haunting characters in the series), you may be disappointed in that sense. It is actually a collection of short stories from before and after WWI that have the Blythes in them. There are also apparently going to be poems by Montgomery but attributed to Anne and to her son Walter, which Gilbert and Anne will discuss. POETRY BY WALTER. This is a crucial part of the movie, you know, and I am dying to know if there’s a poem inside called The Piper, which features prominently in Rilla of Ingleside but is never actually quoted. I think I had figured out that the movie could get by with just lines from the poem, so that no one had to claim the genius of Walter himself and actually write the whole thing. But if Montgomery wrote one herself, then that is definitely the way to go. (I’ve actually heard The Piper was based on an actual poem at the time written by a Canadian soldier, but that wouldn’t work nearly as well).
Have I bored you yet? If so, I’ll just assume that you quit reading like a good little keeper of your time. (Seriously, who has time to read a blog post they’re not into? I barely have time to read the blogs I love). Anyway. Breathe. That’s what I’m telling myself. Everything in its time. Finish the current novel I’m writing. BUY THE MONTGOMERY BOOK in October (I think it’s October) and then finish writing the novel that will hopefully sort through my Anne obsession as thoroughly as the memoir sorted through the dramatic Year Of Cancer. That’s the best thing about writing, after all. It sorts it out.
[Update: I finally read this book in 2018 and was quite disappointed. I don’t believe it ever should have been published. See my Goodreads review here.]