I had heard about a new book coming out that would act as a prequal to the beloved Anne of Green Gables series from Anne Bogel's email newsletter. It seemed that everyone was buzzing about this fabulous new book. So of course, I did what any self-respecting book nerd who runs a blog would do: I contacted the publisher to see about getting my hands on an advanced copy. Needless to say, I was extremely grateful to receive an advanced copy of Sarah McCoy's Marilla of Green Gables from HarperCollins Publishers and have been madly in love with it ever since.
I've lived with this book for over a month now and I still can't seem to let it go, place it on my "favorites" shelf, and move on to the next. I want to relive it over and over again, much like L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, to which I go back to often. Let me assure all the die-hard Anne fans out there, Sarah McCoy's latest novel is 100% good enough to share a shelf with the Anne books. It is the perfect companion to the series.
McCoy weaves the tale of Marilla and Green Gables superbly. All the little burning questions that L.M. Montgomery left us about Marilla's past (particularly why she and John Blythe never married), and the backstory of Green Gables are answered within the pages of Marilla of Green Gables. The readers get a deeper look into not only Marilla's inner-workings, but also Matthew's, Rachel's, and the others. I found it so interesting to see a little bit of their adult personalities taking form throughout their youth, but also to see them more innocent, before the world had its way with them. You certainly gain a better understanding of why Marilla is the way she is in the Anne books.
This is clearly achieved through McCoy's superb writing abilities, extensive research, and her own admiration and love for the classic series. The reader can clearly tell that this novel was written with the greatest respect to the author who originally created the characters and the world they lived in. It reads as though McCoy worked alongside Montgomery, stepping into her world and her vision. It could easily be placed in the boxset with the original series, as though it was meant to be there all along.
Like the Anne books, you'll find yourself living beside these characters. You will laugh with them and cry with them, you will feel what they feel. I felt deeply for Marilla, especially towards the end (I'll give no spoilers). I felt for Matthew. Poor quiet, gentle Matthew. Though I was grateful to have him explained more thoroughly and to come out with a deeper understanding of the man. The reader can now see the depth of the similarities between Anne and Marilla, both in their personalities and their own histories, and how they intertwine.
Marilla of Green Gables serves to make the Anne books even sweeter, as it gives new meaning to Anne and Gilbert's relationship through that of Marilla and John's (Gil's father). History did not repeat itself, thankfully!
With beloved Aunts, tragedies and heartbreaks, fun and laughter, history unfolding with the coming of the US Civil War, Rebellion in Canada, the Underground Railroad, and more, this is a book you do not want to miss and won't want to put down. I highly recommend it. Guaranteed a place on 2018's Best Books list.
We've found another kindred spirit in Sarah McCoy and her Marilla.
I give it a 10/10.
Marilla of Green Gables releases Oct. 23rd. You can Pre-order the book on Amazon or anywhere else that books are sold.
Liz Austin. Bibliophile. Writer. Book hoarder. I would rather be reading....