By Logan Steiner
I am grateful to Goodreads for the chance to read this uncorrected proof of this novel. I looked forward to reading it and prepared myself by reading Anne of Green Gables first.
The novel is well written and it felt like an extension of Lucy M Montgomery’s own work but it wasn’t. The author’s voice seemed similar to her subject’s.
The story starts before Lucy has published her famous Anne of Green Gables. It shows how difficult it was for her to pursue a writing career at that time. Everyone acted as if it was just a hobby and once she was married, she wouldn’t have the need to pursue a career any longer.
It made me feel for Lucy because everyone seemed to be working against her. She does finish the novel and actually put off marrying while she completed her work because she suspected that if she waited, it might not happen. The book highlighted how women of the time were meant to take care of the home and family but not seek doing anything else they might find fulfilling.
The story was told in different time lines and I felt it was easy to get confused as to what year it was, even though each chapter had the dates. I found myself flipping back and forth to make sure I was following the story correctly. The author jumped from the past, when Lucy celebrated a couple of her birthdays with her cousin Frede and the time after when she was married.
Lucy’s journals indicated that Anne of Green Gables was roughly based on Frede, her wild spirit cousin.
While a small child, her mother died and her father abandoned her to be raised by her grandmother. When the story starts, she is an adult who has come back home after college. Her grandmother handles the mail for the area and people come to her home to retrieve it.
The handsome, young minister appears to be the most eligible bachelor in the community and several of the single women are vying for his attention. Even though he obviously is interested in Lucy, she doesn’t appear to have noticed him.
Her grandmother waits until Ewan Macdonald, the minister shows up to get his mail and suddenly has something else to do, leaving Lucy to hand it over to him.
When others tell Lucy that the man is interested in her, she finally takes notice. She decides he is worth pursuing.
Ewan is so shy that it is Lucy who attempts to kiss him first. It still takes them a long time to get serious.
He eventually proposes but Lucy puts him off because she knows if she marries, she will probably not be able to finish her novel.
Their home life seems ideal until Lucy becomes famous and Ewan starts struggling because he is unable to provide for their family as well as his wife.
We eventually learn that Ewan can’t handle that he thinks Lucy cares more about her writing than him.
Ewan suffers serious depression and her publisher pushes her to keep writing more of the series than she had ever planned to right. Lucy struggles. She wants to write about other stuff but because Ewan’s illness is affecting his career, she is pushed even harder to continue the successful series to be able to provide for them financially.
There was also a storyline about another man that Lucy was attracted to while Ewan’s condition continued to get worse. Edwin, the other man, encouraged her with her writing and seemed to be giving signals that he had feelings for Lucy. But when she acknowledged her feelings for him, Edwin exited her life and returned to his own unhappy marriage.
The story follows Lucy until she is an old woman. It shows highlights of the happy and sad moments of her life. We see her two boys grow and have families of their own and we follow her journey to the end of her life.
I think I might have enjoyed this more if I had thought it was non-fiction. The author says she used Lucy’s journals and filled in the gaps. Because it is called a novel, I am not sure what is true and what isn’t.
I do believe it was well written. The author is a skilled writer. It was interesting to find out more about Lucy Montgomery.
I guess I was a little disappointed with where the story went. The author tells you about the end, in the very beginning of the book and it was a shock for me. I would have liked to have read the story in a more linear style and found out at the end what happened to Lucy. I think because of her hardships, I could understand why it happened but I think knowing from the beginning ruined it for me.
I do like this author’s writing style and may look for future books from her, depending on the subject matter. I think she probably did do a great deal of research but I wish she could have written this more as a biography than a novel. Because of that, I gave it 3 stars.
Published: May 30, 2023
Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: Goodreads rating is 4 stars
Setting: Prince Edward Island
About the Author:
Logan Steiner is an Assistant United States Attorney in Denver. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Pomona College and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. She says that balancing lawyering, writing, and mothering is not easy but she finds that they complement more than compete. Being a lawyer makes her a clearer writer, being a writer makes her a happier lawyer, and being a mother makes her a more grounded one of each.
I hope you found this review helpful.
Are you a fan of Anne of Green Gables? I tried not to leave spoilers in this review. I hope you do read this book. If you do, come back here and let me know your thoughts.
Have you read something recently you think I might enjoy? Leave a comment to let me know.
May you find yourself lost in a book soon,
One thought on “After Anne”
This does sound interesting, Virginia, and a different perspective for viewing the novel. A bit of a story-behind-a-story…