Emily Climbs: A Virago Modern Classic (Emily Trilogy) by L M Montgomery

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Emily Climbs: A Virago Modern Classic (Emily Trilogy) by L M Montgomery

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Emily truly begins to discover who she is in this second book in the Emily trilogy. Fiercely proud, and developing her sense of humour, I like Emily much better in this story.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Virago
ISBN: 978-1844089895

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I had been a little unsettled during my re-reading of Emily of New Moon since I found as I read that I didn't particularly like Emily. Was I too grown up now to love Emily as I had when I was younger? But coming back to Emily Climbs was like sitting down with an old, favourite friend and having a lovely catch-up. I much prefer Emily in this book. She starts to grow up a little, developing her sense of humour, learning more about herself and her writing. Emily is sent away to high school in the local large town of Shrewsbury. Unfortunately, whilst she is there, she must board with her Aunt Ruth who (much to my dismay since we share a first name) is a dreadful person to live with! She is also cornered into promising that whilst she's away at school she will write no more stories. Her Aunt Elizabeth has never been happy about her story writing, fearing it is dangerously close to writing novels - a terrible thing, in her eyes! Emily has no choice but to make the promise, but she finds it very difficult. Still, she is allowed to continue writing her diaries, and she can write as much poetry as she likes.

We get to read a lot of Emily's diary entries through this book, and I think that that not only grows and develops her character but it makes the reader feel very close to her, privy to her private thoughts and feelings. I know that when I read and re-read this book as a teenager it certainly spurred on my own diary writing. I also had a folder full of badly written poetry at the time too, greatly inspired by Emily's writing! As we read, Emily certainly manages to get into a number of scrapes through the story, ranging from going to class with a mustache drawn on her face, sleeping on a haystack, and helping to discover a little boy who is lost and feared to be dead. Her writing career begins to flourish as she has her first words published in magazines and newspapers, and as she begins to get paid for her writing her family begin to see that perhaps her scribbles aren't just silliness but a legitimate way for her to pay her own way in life.

We continue to see Emily and Ilse's friendship grow and develop through the book although they do also have a huge disagreement in this story that appears to leave their friendship in jeopardy. Ilse, Perry and Teddy are all studying in Shrewsbury too. Perry is still pursuing Emily, and even proposes to her at one point (and that isn't the only proposal she gets in this story!) Teddy remains mainly on the sidelines, though Emily still runs whenever he whistles for her. Dean, however, is mostly absent (no bad thing in my point of view). He remains Emily's friend from afar in this book, writing letters to Emily whilst she is away studying. Mostly the story is about Emily's writing, and her struggles in living peaceably with Aunt Ruth.

I like the little episodes throughout the whole of this book. I think LM Montgomery put some of her best stories into it, and each part of the story works well, furthering Emily's development as a character, making her readers laugh and cry. Although Emily is still writing poetry we aren't subjected to reading so much of it, and instead we mostly hear her voice through her journals which are funny and biting, similar in fact to LM Montgomery's own journals that she kept writing throughout almost her whole life. The idea that Emily's character is similar to Montgomery herself crept back into my head as I read. There is a story towards the end of the book when Emily has the amazing opportunity of speaking to a successful female writer who is working in New York. It's one of the funniest parts of the book and is wonderfully written. Will Emily herself be given the opportunity to follow in this writer's footsteps, and does that mean she will leave New Moon, and Prince Edward Island, for a life elsewhere?

Virago have given the book another beautiful cover. In it we see Emily walking through the snow with her lantern. I love the swirling drifts of snow and the rather spooky looking trees. Emily does look a little too old for my liking, but it's such a pretty cover I don't mind too much! You really need to read Emily of New Moon first, to fully appreciate this story. It's a lovely second book, better than the first I feel, and it has me eager to return to the third and final part so that I can rediscover what happens to Emily in the end.

Start reading this trilogy with Emily of New Moon first. You might also enjoy The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

Buy Emily Climbs: A Virago Modern Classic (Emily Trilogy) by L M Montgomery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Emily Climbs: A Virago Modern Classic (Emily Trilogy) by L M Montgomery at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Emily Climbs: A Virago Modern Classic (Emily Trilogy) by L M Montgomery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Emily Climbs: A Virago Modern Classic (Emily Trilogy) by L M Montgomery at Amazon.com.


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