Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Blue Castle

The Blue Castle

By L.M. Montgomery

Bantam, 1989. 218 pages. Fiction

At twenty-nine Valancy had never been in love,  and it seemed romance had passed her by. Living with  her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she  found her only consolations in the "forbidden"  books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue  Castle. Then a letter arrived from Dr. Trent --  and Valancy decided to throw caution to the winds.  For the first time in her life Valancy did and  said exactly what she wanted. Soon she discovered a  surprising new world, full of love and adventures  far beyond her most secret dreams.

This novel is fresh and funny and has delightful 1920s flapper vibes (unlike the cover!). I really resonated with Valancy, and her initial struggle to say and do what she really wants, especially around family. There's a lot to learn from Valancy: how she comes to speak her mind, as well as her acceptance of people that aren't seen as good or right in her uptight family and community.

If you like The Blue Castle, you might also like: 

The Enchanted April
By Elizabeth Von Arnim

New York Review Books, 2007. 247 pages. Fiction

The four women at the center of The Enchanted April are alike only in their dissatisfaction with their everyday lives. They find each other--and the castle of their dreams--through a classified ad in a London newspaper one rainy February afternoon. The ladies expect a pleasant holiday, but they don't anticipate that the month they spend in Portofino will reintroduce them to their true natures and reacquaint them with joy.

I Capture the Castle

By Dodie Smith 

St Martin's Griffin, 1998. 343 pages. Fiction

Through six turbulent months of 1934, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain keeps a journal, filling three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries about her home, a ruined Suffolk castle, and her eccentric and penniless family. By the time the last diary shuts, there have been great changes in the Mortmain household, not the least of which is that Cassandra is deeply, hopelessly, in love. 


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