The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

I am doing something completely unplanned. Whenever I do, however, my reviews do sound a little more profound. It remains to be seen if this will hold true.

I went to a second-hand bookstore and spent a couple of hours digging through the lot and buying a bunch of things. Then on the way out of the city, I found another and popped in there as well! I normally do not post purchases/acquisitions, but in this case, I have not felt this buoyant for quite a bit!

Although I have a tremendously long list of books, both virtual and from the library, to read and many pending reviews to write of things I have already read, I have to talk about this book. I have literally just placed the book aside after turning the last page.

I am extremely thankful to the blogging community because it was through other people’s posts that I heard of this standalone romantic story, and when I saw it on the shelf, I plucked it out almost reflexively. I start with this spiel mostly to indicate that I went in with supremely high expectations, but it somehow managed to surpass even that high bar!

When I first read the first Anne, I realised that there is such a thing as an author who speaks to you. I do not know how it is that the author seems to voice emotions I have felt but never actually put into words, fearing their insignificance. The book was released in 1926 and still has the power to hold me in thrall all day today. There is so much positivity that brims from every page! It is slow and not for people who will not appreciate the page, but there are so many hidden nuggets of humour and beauty that I chuckled and cried in equal measure.

To rein myself in, I will try to describe the plot. We have Valancy Stirling, an unwed twenty-nine-year-old who is part of a powerful family that reigns unopposed in the local community. She has been toeing the line in mute despair all her life. The book begins on the day her life is set to change. As she muses about her life thus far, you get a wide picture of the people who surround her and her struggles. Psychologically speaking, it is not presented darkly and depressingly like in thrillers but is not any less harsh. The day we meet her, it takes one piece of news to decide to change her life. It begins with little steps but where it takes her is a beauty to watch. She has always lived in her Blue Castle, her castle in the clouds, that she has decorated and built and even met her future in. It is on the fateful day that she decides to find a way to do something towards finding her way to it in reality.

The thing about books like this is not the plot itself but the route that it takes to reach the end. It is the style that first got me away from murder mysteries, and realising I can ‘feel’ with books as well. Valancy is such an identifiable character. She is nice and polite but brimming with anxiety. Her growth arc was more than a pleasure to watch. I expected only one half of the ending and was pleasantly surprised by what actually transpired.

I did not know of the existence of this book and therefore lost a lot of time getting to it! This is a book for a slightly older audience than Green Gables. This is not because of the age of the protagonist, because Anne ages as well, but more so on the focus of the narrative. Family pride and the will that Valancy displays will ring better to those who have either experienced it or are doing so.

I know the language, and some things may seem antiquated to younger audiences. I think people should look past it, and more people should pick this up. It has a neat little bow tied up at the very end, but the entire thing was pure satisfaction!

As if I haven’t repeated myself often enough in this entire review, I want to quote a few lines that spoke to me to indicate why I feel like I did. I hope this would make sense without the larger context.

No.It’s too inelegant. I would have to carry it with me everywhere I went. On my back like a snail. It would own me – posess me body and soul. I like a house I can love and cuddle and boss. Just like ours here. I don’t envy…it is magnificent but it isn’t my Blue Castle

When Valancy was asked if she would like a larger house to live in and she said this while pitying inhabitants of palaces.

There is no such thing as freedom on earth. Only different kind of bondages. And comparative bondages. You think you are free now because you have escaped from a peculiarly unbearable kind of bondage. But are you? you love me – that’s a bondage

I may have been a little incoherent in my ravings, and I do not think I can do much to rectify that today. I will cross my fingers and hope that, in its own fashion, it counts as a review.

6 thoughts on “The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery”

  1. Glad you enjoyed this so much Anjana. This is among my favourites of LM Montgomery despite the fact that I felt things were a bit overdone at the end. I love it when she starts to tell her family exactly what she feels about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yours was one of those blogs that I saw this in..thank you! I am a sucker for such an ending so I liked it 😆just like in Anne of the island when Anne realises her own feelings! Have you read that one?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I liked the end but the fact that the person turns out to be not only er one thing but also another (am trying not be spoilerish) felt a bit over the top. Really glad you liked it though. I loved it as well. 🙂 yes I’ve read most of the Anne books. Another recommendation for LMM if you haven’t read it yet is Jane of Lantern Hill.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Will keep my eyes peeled! I did not enjoy Emily unfortunately.. The love triangle felt creepy.. There’s a point where the older one meets her as a kid and says hey you look like your mother, will wait for you to grow up ( shudder) 😂


      3. That does have a paedophile sort of feel to it. But Jane is great fun, something like Blue Castle but with a child–in the sense of nature helping to bring her out of her shell. Also the Story Girl books are lovely. highly recommended

        Liked by 1 person

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