Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Review: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

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Title: The Blue Castle

Author: L.M. Montgomery

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult

**4 stars**

It was quite nice to be back into the lovely and whimsical storytelling of Lucy Maud Montgomery. After reading most of her Anne of Green Gables series and enjoying them, I was excited to read something new by her! *smiles*

The Blue Castle told the intriguing tale of a twenty-nine year old woman living with her strict, bleak, colorless mother and cousin. She has no marriage prospects. Her family disdains her. She’s dying. And yet she’s never even really lived. What will it take for Valancy to go from scared, timid, trapped girl to vivacious, free, joyful woman?

This novel was rather interesting. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it. It was beautiful all in all. And yes, though slower paced, there’s just something about L.M. Montgomery’s writing style that enchants me.

Valancy Stirling was an unusual but relatable character. I found that I could empathize with her over this and that. I loved her “blue castle” fantasies! *smiles* After a while, however, her pitifulness and feeling sorry for herself did start to rub me wrong. I understood. And yet I didn’t. There’s ways to rise above such drama. Go make a life for yourself, for one.

And that’s what Valancy did! It took a bit of time, but she eventually did. That first big step of hers was rather poignant. You know, like when we start helping others, we forget about all our woes? In any case, I ended up liking Valancy and adoring her story quite well.

The romance ... *sigh* It was different and intriguing and fae and utterly sweet. I liked a lot of things about this love story. So much fun. And so beautiful.
All clean. But I would still recommend older teens to adult. It just more written for that age I think. Our main character is almost thirty, after all.

Some things I didn’t like about The Blue Castle. One: a phrase here or there almost seemed mocking of Christianity or the idea of God. I wish L.M. Montgomery would have expounded more on her characters’ faith. Such an elusive element of faith leaves me feeling befuddled and rather concerned at points. I will say though, once Valancy is more settling down, it does mention that she found a nice, country church, and liked it.
Two: Valancy was rude and a bit arrogant at certain parts. It was a crucial part of her story, but her sassy, indifferent attitude didn’t impress me at all. Flinging her relatives’ not-so-perfect looks in their faces especially wasn’t a nice thing to do … since she didn’t like when they did that to her! But that actually worked out pretty nicely too. I think I was satisfied for the most part as the story progressed.
There was probably a few other things here and there that made me pause. Little comments or happenings that were a bit distasteful.

But all in all, I had to sigh at the end. It was such a lovely tale in conclusion. The “old” spinster. The nature books she loves. The heart problems. The fantastical blue castle. The mysterious man. The Blue Castle said “Wake up!” Live zealously! You only have one life. Make it count! To a certain extent, take control of your destiny. Don’t let other people’s expectations or society’s opinion of you dictate how you feel. LIVE! Love. Care. Smile. And who knows, romance and blue castles might be waiting around the bend … ^_^

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