Anne’s House of Dreams – by L M Montgomery

9 07 2018

This is now book five in the Anne of Green Gables series. **Spoiler Alert (for previous books)** Anne and Gilbert are finally together, and the book begins with their wedding, sends them off to their new home in Four Winds, and spends the first couple of years of married life with them.

As they’ve moved to a new area, most of the characters are new – but of course Marilla pops in from time to time. There’s a house up the road where another couple live, but circumstances are unusual, there’s Captain Jim who runs the lighthouse, and a few others to get to know and love (including Miss Cornelia who every other sentence seems to say “isn’t that just like a man?!”.

The book has its highs and lows, I got close to tears (but didn’t cry!) twice, but mixed with that is plenty of joy and humour. I wouldn’t recommend joining these books mid series, but if you’ve read the four preceding this, definitely carry on and pick this one up!

Again the book is chock full of quoteable bits – here are some of my favourites:

  • “‘Anne was always a romantic, you know,’, ‘Well, married life will most likely cure her of that,'”
  • “It’s rather hard to decided just when people are grown up,”
  • “I saved his life, and when you’ve saved a creature’s life you’re bound to love it. It’s next thing to giving life.”
  • “God sees no difference between the voice of a crow and the voice of a nightingale.”
  • “Job! It was such a rare thing to find a patient man that when one was really discovered they were determined he shouldn’t be forgotten.”
  • “I even enj’y the disagreeable things. It’s great fun thinking they can’t last.”
  • “A woman cannot ever be sure of not being married till she is buried.”
  • “But it ain’t our feelings we have to steer by through life – no, no, we’d make shipwreck might often if we did that. There’s only the one safe compass and we’ve got to set our course by that – what it’s right to do.”
  • “Hair is deceitful and noses and eyes change, and you cannot tell what is going to come of them, but ears is ears from start to finish, and you always know where you are with them.”
  • “Politics is for this world, but religion is for both.”

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Anne of Windy Willows – by L M Montgomery

28 10 2017

Book four chronologically in Anne’s life, though this one was actually written 20 years after most of the others. A newly engaged Anne moves to Summerside to become principal of a high school and lodges with two widows in a house called “Windy Willows”. A lot of the book is written as her letters to Gilbert, maybe a half and half split with that and general narrative. She spends three years there while Gilbert is at medical school, and doesn’t get off to the easiest start.

The majority of Summerside either seem to be the Pringle family or have some Pringle blood of them of some sort, and they seem to gang up against Anne initially. But Anne being Anne, she finds her way! From there we meet lots of different people over the three years, very few characters get featured the whole way through other than the little girl, little Elizabeth, who lives next door with her Grandmother and “the woman”, who feed and clothe her well enough, but don’t show anything by way of affection, so in time Anne befriends her and that relationship blossoms beautifully! Elizabeth goes by many different names, depending on how she is feeling: Betty, Beth, Elsie, Bess, Elisa and Lisbeth. “But not Lizzie; I can never feel like Lizzie.”

Anne seems to be not a matchmaker as such, but definitely gets involved in pushing a couple of couples forward in their relationship who have for various reasons not got engaged or married yet. Somehow it’s written so that you feel it’s entirely justified and gives each couple a happy ending!

My only real frustration with this book was a couple of times when we meet someone who is meant to be annoying and talking non stop without Anne or anyone getting a word in edge-ways. But the way it’s written you end up reading pages and pages of this irrelevant annoying waffle and actually don’t care! It makes the point well, but did make me want to skip pages at times.

This book was publish 3 years before World War 2, so it was sad to read the following: “It’s impossible to think of Canada ever being at war again. I am so thankful that phase of history is over.”

Of course, these books always provide some wonderful one liners, maybe not as many as in the other books, but still!

  • “I’ve always liked washing dishes. It’s fun to make dirty things clean and shining again.”
  • “[Babies] are what I heard somebody at Redmond call ‘terrific bundles of potentialities’. […] But I think I’m glad Judas’s mother didn’t know he was to be Judas, I hope she never did know.”
  • “If we were all beauties, who would do the work?”
  • “But there’s one consolation: you’ll be spared an awful lot of trouble if you die young.”





Anne of the Island – by L M Montgomery

13 04 2017

After a year’s break it was about time to read number three in this series. Anne is now 18 and heading off to Redmond University on the mainland. The book covers her four years there. She arrives with three from Avonlea – Gilbert, Charlie and Priscilla, and quickly makes friends with a girl called Phil – Stella from Queen’s (I think) also joins them from second year.

We still spend time in Green Gables in the holidays, and as far as the book goes, maybe half of the narrative! So there are still wonderful quotes from Davy, to keep the childish delights from Anne in the first book alive and well.

Through the book Anne gets a few marriage proposals, and one serious boyfriend – but no spoilers here! You’ll have to read it! Phil is a little boy crazy, and this is the first time the books really cover that side of things to this level, she’s quite a lot of fun! We also cover a death too soon in this book, which I guess you’d pick up from the quotes below… again, no spoilers.

Picking up the book after such a long gap was tricky in places because it doesn’t really recap, (I’m still not sure who Mr Harrison is who they keep referring to), it would have been nice to have a couple of reminders occasionally!

As before, here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

  • “We are all servants of some sort, and if the fact that we are faithful can be truthfully inscribed on our tombstones nothing more need be added.”
  • “Oh, I’m not afraid but that I’ll go to heaven, Anne. I’m a church member.”
  • “Heaven must be very beautiful, of course, the Bible says so – but, Anne, it won’t be what I’ve been used to.
  • “Do you think we’ll never laugh in heaven?” – Anne
    “Oh – I – I don’t know, it doesn’t seem just right, somehow. You know it’s rather dreadful to laugh in church.” – Diana
    “But heaven won’t be like church – all the time.” – Anne
    “I hope it ain’t, if it is I don’t want to go.” – Davy
  • “All life lessons are not learned at college.”
  • “I love her best when she is asleep and better still when she is awake.”
  • “I could be sorry for it afterwards, couldn’t I?”
  • “Can’t a man laugh and laugh and be a Christian still?”
    “Oh, men – yes. But I was speaking of Ministers, my dear.”
  • “When I was a girl it wasn’t considered ladylike to know anything about mathematics, but times have changed. I don’t know that it’s all for the better.”
  • “Oh, I dare say we all pray for some things that we really don’t want, if we were only honest enough to look into our hearts, I’ve a notion that such prayers don’t rise very far. I used to pray that I might be enabled to forgive a certain person, but I know now I really didn’t want to forgive her. When I finally got that I did want to I forgave her without having to pray about it.”
  • “I love [cats]. They are so nice and selfish. Dogs are too good and unselfish. They make me feel uncomfortable. But cats are gloriously human.”





Anne of Avonlea – by L M Montgomery

23 04 2016

Having read Anne of Green Gables for the first time ever recently, I appear to have embarked on a journey that may last through all the books, book three has now been ordered, but this review is for the second in the series. I finished it while on holiday last week, so it’s already a bit faint in memory, but that’s why I turn page corners down 🙂

This book starts with Anne age 16, and starting teaching in the school she’s only just attended, so she’s teaching her former classmates as all age groups learn together. Having lost a major character at the end of the previous volume, Marilla takes 6 year old twins Davy and Dora into her care. Dora is angelic to the point of dull, Davy is possibly more reckless than Anne was when we first met her!

Here are some of my favourite quotes.

  • “Have you ever noticed, that when people say it is their duty to tell you a certain thing you may prepare for something disagreeable? Why is it that they never seem to think it a duty to tell you the pleasant things they hear about you?”
  • “It does people good to have to do things they don’t like – in moderation.”
  • “You’re never safe from being surprised till you’re dead.”
  • “It’s really splendid to imagine you are a queen. You have all the fun of it without any of the inconveniences and you can stop being a queen whenever you want to.”
  • “Punishments are so horrid and I like to imagine only pleasant things. There are so many unpleasant things in the world already that there is no use of imagining any more.”
  • “Life is rich and full here – everywhere – if we can only learn how to open our whole hearts to its richness and fullness.”
  • “Don’t you know that it is only very foolish folk who talk sense all the time?”
  • “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures.”
  • “Of course, I knew there are no fairies; but that needn’t prevent my thinking there is.”
  • “It seems it’s dreadful to have your feelings hurt. It’s better to knock a boy down that hurt his feelings if you must do something.”
  • “That’s a lovely idea. Living so that you beautify your name, even if it wasn’t beautiful to begin with.”
  • “I think the little things in life often make more trouble than the big things.”
  • “I’m so glad you’re here. If you weren’t I should be blue – very blue – almost navy blue.”
  • “A broken heart in real life isn’t half as dreadful as it is in books. It’s a good deal like a bad tooth. […] It takes spells of aching and gives you a sleepless night now and then, but between times it lets you enjoy life and dreams and echoes and peanut candy as if there was nothing the matter with it.”
  • “That is one good thing about this world – there are always sure to be more springs.”
  • “It’s always seemed to me that the reason two women can’t get along in one house is that they try to share the same kitchen and get in each other’s way.”
  • “I’ll wash my face before I go courting. And I’ll wash behind my ears too, without being told.”
  • “I wish people could live on pudding. Why can’t they Marilla? I want to know. […] I’d like to try that for myself.”
  • “Oh sometimes I think it is of no use to make friends. They only go out of your life after a while and leave a hurt that is worse than the emptiness before they came.”
  • “I don’t like to be surprised. You lose all the fun of expecting things when you’re surprised.”
  • “When all’s said and done, Miss Shirley, ma’am, there’s many a worse thing than a husband.”
  • “A wedding ain’t much cheerfuller than a funeral aafter all, when it’s all over.”

anne of avonlea





Anne of Green Gables – by L M Montgomery

10 02 2016

If you haven’t read this book, read this book!

I had the pop up versions of this when I was little, and the VHS, because Anne of Green Gables is where my middle name came from, but I never read the actual book, or, as it turns out – books! The second book in the series is ordered and due to arrive tomorrow 🙂

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are an older brother and sister who decide to adopt a boy to help on the farm, when he arrives, it turns out it’s actually a girl, it’s Anne. Anne lives in a world of her own imagination, doesn’t stop talking, and is very keen you know that it’s Anne with an E.

Anne gets into all sorts of trouble, never intentionally, but living under strict Marilla’s eye, it takes a while to tame her. She also hates her red hair, and Gilbert Blythe.

I folded down a tonne of page corners in this book, some of my favourite lines are below, all bar one are from Anne herself:

  • “Am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn’t talk? If you say so I’ll stop. I can stop when I make up my mind to it, although it’s difficult.”
  • “Now you see why I can’t be perfectly happy. Nobody could who has red hair.”
  • “It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
  • “Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them”
  • “I know very well when we grow up that Diana will get married and go away and leave me. And oh, what shall I do? I hate her husband – I just hate him furiously.”
  • “It wouldn’t do, I suppose, for a minister to have a regally lovely wife, because it might set a bad example. Mrs Lynde says the minister’s wife over at Newbridge sets a very bad example because she dresses so fashionably.”
  • “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
  • “I really think I’d like to be a minister’s wife when I grow up, Marilla. A minister mightn’t mind my red hair because he wouldn’t be thinking of such worldly things. But then of course one would have to be naturally good, and Ill never be that, so I suppose there’s no use in thinking about it.”
  • “It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.”
  • “It’s always wrong to do anything you can’t tell the minister’s wife.”
  • “I don’t want to cheer up. It’s nicer to be miserable!”
  • And then just one from Mrs Lynde:

  • “It’s a great blessing not to be fat, Marilla. I hope you appreciate it.”

anne of green gables





30 before 30 – the results

8 06 2018

Just after my 29th birthday I wrote a list of 30 things to do before I’m 30. I’m pretty pleased with how I’ve done, I knew it’d never get all done, but it’s really pushed me to do some new things this year! You’ll notice the list below is changed a bit from the original list – I reviewed it a month or two ago to try and make some of them a little more achievable, but it hasn’t helped much.
And yes I’m counting a book I finished this morning because I’m not fully 30 until 4.45pm!

I think it might be interesting to see how many more I can complete before I finish being 30…
Anyway, results below!

  1. Buy my own home. COMPLETED 15th September 2016
  2. Climb a mountain. COMPLETED 26th May 2018
  3. Dye my hair.
  4. Fundraise £300 for a good cause.
  5. Get below 10 stone.
  6. Get my next photobook printed.
  7. Give Blood. COMPLETED 23rd October 2017
  8. Have a go on a cello.
  9. Have a meal at the Hand and Flowers. COMPLETED 21st October 2017
  10. Have a pedicure. COMPLETED 26th August 2017
  11. Learn all the countries of the world and complete the Sporcle quiz.
  12. Learn how to curl my hair.
  13. Re-learn how to do the rubiks cube. COMPLETED 16th July 2017
  14. Re-learn the sign language I learnt 4 years ago and have forgotten.
  15. Try coming off my anti-depressants. – DOSAGE REDUCED
  16. Visit NYC, Disneyland Paris or Iceland. – COMPLETED March 2018
  17. Watch a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre. – COMPLETED 8th May 2018
  18. Watch Friends all the way through.
  19. Learn 3 new pieces on the piano.
  20. Sew 3 items. – TWO DONE
  21. Read 30 books.
    1. Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley COMPLETED 28th June 2017
    2. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld COMPLETED 11th July 2017
    3. The Humans by Matt Haig COMPLETED 23rd July 2017
    4. Spectacles by Sue Perkins COMPLETED 31st July 2017
    5. The Know-It-All by A J Jacobs COMPLETED 28th July 2017
    6. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae COMPLETED 30th August 2017
    7. Salty Sam and the Windy Day by Christina Sinclair COMPLETED 30th August 2017
    8. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler COMPLETED 30th August 2017
    9. The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory COMPLETED 6th September 2017
    10. Remember, Remember (the fifth of November) by Judy Parkinson COMPLETED 11th September 2017
    11. The House of New Beginnings by Lucy Diamond COMPLETED 25th September 2017
    12. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis COMPLETED 5th October 2017
    13. Anne of Windy Willows by L M Montgomery COMPLETED 28th October 2017
    14. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig COMPLETED 2nd December 2017
    15. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens COMPLETED 31st December 2017
    16. Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher COMPLETED 6th January 2018
    17. The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year by Sue Townsend COMPLETED 21st January 2018
    18. Brain Freeze by Tom Fletcher COMPLETED 28th February 2018
    19. How Not To Be Wrong – The Hidden Maths Of Everyday Life by Jordan Ellenberg COMPLETED 30th March 2018
    20. Still Me by Jojo Moyes COMPLETED 5th April 2018
    21. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman COMPLETED 19th April 2018
    22. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett ABANDONED 6th May 2018
    23. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood COMPLETED 22nd May 2018
    24. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer COMPLETED 8th June 2018
    25. Something by Jane Austen
  22. Get meals I’m confident to cook up to 30. (not including things you just put in the oven or microwave….)
    1. Spaghetti Bolognaise
    2. Chilli Con Carne
    3. The Bacon Dinner
    4. Sausage Casserole
    5. Shepherds Pie
    6. Tuna/Vegetable Pasta Bake
    7. Fish Burger
    8. Peach and Chick Pea Curry
    9. Roast Chicken
    10. Toad in the Hole
    11. Lasagne
    12. Risotto
    13. Beef Stroganoff
    14. Chicken Curry
    15. Kedgeree
    16. Fish Pie
  23. Get things I’m confident to bake up to 10.
    1. Victoria Sponge
    2. Chocolate and Banana loaf cake
    3. Cheesecake
    4. Brownie
    5. Blondie
    6. Flapjack
  24. Learn 30 bible verses by heart. 0/30
  25. Write 3 handwritten letters to friends. 1/3
  26. Write 3 letters to MP or organisations about ethical issues. 0/3
  27. Write 3 prayers. 0/3
  28. Get the Eurostar somewhere COMPLETED 9th December 2017
  29. Learn pi to 30 decimal places. 27/30
  30. Go to a Ballet COMPLETED 30th December 2017




30 before 30 – First Draft

14 06 2017

Last week I turned 29. I have a year left of my twenties, and many people I know have put together “30 before 30” lists. I had a few ideas for mine, but one evening I googled and found a tonne of other lists to find other ideas of things to do. A lot of the people who do these lists did them before 29, so they had a few years to complete it.

I think my list is a bit too ambitious. I don’t expect to complete it all, but they’re good targets to work on! The first draft of my list has 26 items on it, but I’m putting it up here anyway because I’m a week into the year and haven’t done it yet, and this way I can add other things I think of as I go!

The first item I completed last year, but it was something that a couple of years ago I decided I wanted to aim to do before I was 30, and so in a way it was on my list before I had a list!

Some of the items have sub lists, and again I’ve put some initial bits in there, but they’re likely to fill up more once I actually tick them off.

So here we go, my 30 before 30 list:

  1. Buy my own home. COMPLETED 15th September 2016
  2. Climb a mountain.
  3. Dye my hair.
  4. Fundraise £300 for a good cause.
  5. Get back down to 9 stone and maintain it.
  6. Get my next photobook printed.
  7. Give Blood.
  8. Have a go on a cello.
  9. Have a meal at the Hand and Flowers.
  10. Have a pedicure.
  11. Learn all the countries of the world and complete the Sporcle quiz.
  12. Learn how to curl my hair.
  13. Re-learn how to do the rubiks cube.
  14. Re-learn the sign language I learnt 4 years ago and have forgotten.
  15. Try coming off my anti-depressants.
  16. Visit NYC, Disneyland Paris or Iceland.
  17. Watch a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre.
  18. Watch Friends all the way through.
  19. Learn 3 or more new pieces on the piano.
  20. Sew 3 items of clothing.
  21. Read 30 books.
    1. Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley – IN PROGRESS
    2. Anne of Windy Willows by L M Montgomery
    3. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  22. Try 30 new recipes with the aim of several being regulars.
    1. Ugandan Chickennat COMPLETED 14th June 2017
    2. Curry
    3. Roast Chicken
    4. Risotto
    5. Beef Stroganoff
    6. Kedgeree
    7. Brownie
  23. Learn 30 bible verses by heart.
  24. Write 30 handwritten letters to friends.
  25. Write 30 letters to MP or organisations about ethical issues.
  26. Write 30 prayers.