Jane of Lantern Hill by L M Montgomery
|Jane of Lantern Hill by L M Montgomery|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Gentle and funny, nostalgic and sweet, this is one of my favourite books, with one of my favourite heroines!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: June 2014|
Lucy Maud Montgomery, the Canadian author, is best known for her classic story, Anne of Green Gables, but in her lifetime she wrote a large number of books that are not so well known. This story is one of them, and is, in fact, one of my favourite stories. Jane Stuart is a wonderful heroine. She is straight-talking, down-to-earth, and funny too. This book follows her journey from a life of misery, closeted in a home lacking in love, through to a joyous happy ending.
The story begins with Jane living in Toronto with her mother at her grandmother's house. The grandmother is horrible to Jane. She dearly loves Jane's mother, but she disapproved of her marriage to Jane's father and delighted when they separated. She can't bear the idea that Jane's mother might love Jane more than her, and so she spends all her time belittling Jane and trying to keep her and her mother apart. It's a terribly sad beginning. Poor Jane believes her father to be dead, and she lives a miserable existence in Toronto, finding very little joy to keep her spirits up. But then, one day, a letter from her father arrives, asking for Jane to go and stay with him for the summer. Jane is horrified, doesn't want to go, but in the end it is decided that she must, for fear that her father will be angry if she doesn't and will cause trouble and try to take Jane away completely. Jane is afraid of meeting her father, thinking he must be a terrible person for having abandoned them.
You can probably guess what happens from here. Jane travels to Prince Edward Island, where her father lives, and discovers that he is a wonderful person and that they get along famously. Not only does she build a relationship with him over the summer, but she discovers her true self whilst she is there, helping to 'keep house' for her dad, making friends with everyone she meets, and truly discovering how smart and capable she is, and how wonderful it is to laugh out loud and have no one tell her off! There is, of course, a happy ending that keeps just about everyone happy, except perhaps the horrible grandmother!
Jane is a character that has stayed with me ever since I first read her story. I love how she grows through the story - in courage, in strength, in skills and in knowledge. At the start of the book she is completely cowed by her bitter grandmother, a mean and twisted old lady who can't stand the granddaughter who was born to her favourite daughter. Yet as she grows in strength and courage, she finds ways to stand up to her grandmother, still being respectful, but not allowing the old lady to damage her any further. I love that the story deals with a broken family, which was unusual for the time when the story was written, and how it shows the misunderstandings that have occurred between Jane's mother and father, and how very close they come to spending their whole lives miserably apart. Mostly, though, I just love Jane. I think I'd get on with her, and that we'd be friends, and that makes for a comfortable character to be reading about. She falls in love with Prince Edward Island over the summer, and I don't blame her - I've been there and it's a magical place. The island seems particularly wonderful in this story, and Jane's attachment to her house, and to the sea, make for lots of lovely descriptive passages.
Some people might not like that Jane's freedom comes in the form of domestic bliss. She finds her happiness in making a home for herself and her father. She teaches herself to cook, she grows vegetables and beautiful flowers, she delights in cleaning, she even learns how to shingle a roof! I like the form that her liberation takes, however. She takes honest pleasure in making things clean and nice, and she loves that the house belongs to her, to her and her father, and she finds such joy in taking care of it that rather than being stuck as an under-aged housewife she, instead, controls her own destiny and comes out seeming like a strong, capable young woman. I do get frustrated with Jane's mother at times, who is so swayed by her mother, so timid and unable to stand up to anyone or anything, even on behalf of her daughter. But that's the only thing that annoys me in this book, and it's crucial to the plot that this is her mother's character so I mustn't complain! Otherwise, this is a gentle, funny, dear little book that I have read over and over, made all the more beautiful with this gorgeous new cover design. I hope you enjoy it too!
You may also enjoy the Emily trilogy by LM Montgomery starting with this one Emily of New Moon or you might also enjoy The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall.
You can read more book reviews or buy Jane of Lantern Hill by L M Montgomery at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Jane of Lantern Hill by L M Montgomery at Amazon.com.
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