The Anne of Green Gables series has been a favorite of mine since the first time I read them some twenty plus years ago. When I heard that someone wrote a book about Marilla's life before Anne, I knew I wanted to read it.
I put a request in at the library in hopes I can get it soon after it's released, and before long I was notified it was ready for me to pick up. I liked the cover, which made me feel hopeful that I will indeed, enjoy the book.
Settling in to read, it soon became apparent the author was no L. M. Montgomery. My first cringe happened at only page 16 where Marilla met her mother's twin sister for the first time. This was her reaction …
Marilla shrieked and jumped back, clutching her chest and accidently knocking over the box of yarn.
….. the sisters looked at each other, scowling the same scowl, which made Marilla want to cry for terror.
I tried to ignore the unrealistic reaction and continued reading and enjoying the book. I found it oddly weird though when Marilla fell in love with John Blythe. Not because there was anything wrong with the story or the way it was written, but in that I was unable to fully connect or allow myself to fall with her, because I already knew (thanks to the Anne books) that the relationship would not lead to Marilla's happily ever after.
There was a scene that happened between Marilla and John, that made me feel uncomfortable. I read it with one eye squeezed shut and only peeked out of my other one as I hurried over that part.
There was quite a bit of political chatter happening in the latter half of the book which I didn't care for.
On the plus side, we finally find out what the fight was that caused them to go their separate ways, and Marilla's reaction when John married someone else.
I wasn't sure how there could possibly be a good end to the book, but the author pulled it off, and I actually really liked the ending.
Overall it was a good book. I didn't love it, but I did like it. I don't think I'll be buying my own copy though.
On the other hand, Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson was an excellent addition to my Green Gables collection. I really enjoyed reading about Anne's life before she was adopted, and knowing that she will have a happily ever after when she was sent to the orphanage gave the book an entirely different feel than the Marilla book.