When readers meet Marilla Cuthbert in the initial chapters of Anne of Green Gables, she is middle-aged, stubborn and unyielding.
Sarah McCoy’s new book, Marilla of Green Gables: A Novel, takes the reader back in time. Decades earlier, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen. Her life changes forever when her mother passes away. Now she must take her mother’s place as a farm wife.
The only way out of farm life is her aunt. Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson never married and earns a living as a seamstress in St. Catharines. Izzy encourages her niece to expands her world. This expansion includes joining the local Ladies sewing circle and helping to raise money for an orphanage that is part of the Underground Railroad. Along the way, Marilla falls in love with John Blythe, the son of a neighboring family.
It seems that her future is set. But politics, history, and personal choices have a hand in changing that future.
I loved this book. I am also a huge Anne of Green Gables fan, which was the main reason I picked up this book in the first place. In telling the story of Marilla’s early days, Ms. McCoy is able to draw a complete picture of Anne Shirley‘s adopted mother.
Though this book is not strictly for the hardcore Anne of Green Gables fans, I would recommend that the reader goes into the book with at least some knowledge of the world that Lucy Maud Montgomery created.
My only criticism is that the beginning of the book is a little slow. But when it takes off, it really takes off.
Do I recommend it? Yes.