All her life, Valancy Stirling lived on a quiet little street in an ugly little house and never dared to contradict her domineering mother and her unforgiving aunt. Then she gets a letter—and decides that very day things need to change. For the first time in her life, she does exactly what she wants to and says exactly what she feels.
At first her family thinks she’s gone around the bend. But soon Valancy discovers more surprises and adventure than she ever thought possible. She also finds her one true love and the real-life version of the Blue Castle that she was sure only existed in her dreams…
I’m going to admit to my deep shame that I can’t remember ever finishing a book by L.M. Montgomery. Yet, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the Anne of Green Gables television series. So, when The Blue Castle kept popping up as a personal favorite of various authors I read, I knew I had to read it. Still, it sat on my TBR list for longer than I care to admit.
Here’s a little tip, when everyone raves about how good a book is, believe them. The Blue Castle is an absolute delight of a story, full of sweetness, charm and depth. I absolutely fell in love with Valancy Stirling although it took her growing a backbone for that to happen. I have an aversion to boring, colorless people and Valancy begins this tale as a total pushover. It takes some bad news to wake her up to the fact that she is allowing life to pass her by. When she finally decides to start living, she becomes who she was always meant to be. I love that the larger part of this story is the development and growth of Valancy’s character. She goes from being a non-entity to a woman who knows and speaks her own mind and pursues the things which will fulfill her.
Only after she comes to know herself is the romantic angle introduced. Instead of detracting from Valancy as an individual, her new relationship enhances her life. I love a good romance. What I value even more is a story where the main character has a strong, inviolate sense of identity and is not looking for someone else to complete her. I also really appreciate Valancy’s sense of wonder and gratefulness for the small pleasures of life. These are described by the author in such a way as to leave me yearning for a day exploring the woods, or a simple conversation with a good friend.
Then of course, there is Valancy’s imaginary sanctuary of the Blue Castle. It is certainly reminiscent of Montgomery’s much beloved Anne and her vaunted imagination. Both characters use their imagination to escape unpleasant circumstances. However, instead of making them remote and disinterested in life, it gives them a deeper appreciation for it.
The Blue Castle was an absolute pleasure to read. I’m only sorry I waited so long to do so. I can pretty much guarantee that I will be adding L.M. Montgomery’s other book titles to my TBR pile.