Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Along The Shore

Along The Shore: Tales Of The Sea
L.M. Montgomery, edited by Rhea Wilmshurst
1989, Bantam

... something broke loose in her soul and overwhelmed her, like a wave of the sea. She must go at once - at once - at once. Not a moment could she wait.

Rhea Wilmshurst, a professional editor and Anne fan discovered that Montgomery had produced a very large volume of short stories that had been uncollected. She pulled the best and grouped them by theme. In this collection, all the stories are linked by the ocean, a central Montgomery locale providing romance and drama.

There are sixteen stories in this collection, so I will comment only on a few.

In The Magical Bond Of The Sea, a fisherman's teenaged daughter, restless and longing to see the world, is tempted away from her home village by a wealthy couple who want to adopt her. Typical Mongtomery themes - a poor child of unusual spirit rouses a wealthy person's familial interest; a sensual young woman misunderstood as proud is as elemental as the natural world around her, and can only marry a man of similar background; wealth and culture pall as nature and simplicity do not.

A young minister falls deeply in love with a mysterious young woman who lives in isolated, churchless freedom with her old heathen of a father in Four Winds. A mystery, romance and classic moralistic ending, it's by far the most Montgomery story in the collection, and very enjoyable.

In A Sandshore Wooing, a flibbertygibbit becomes entangled in high romance when an ardent suitor and a grimly determined aunt collide. Montgomery's capable of light humor, but this is an unusual heroine for her, and it's a nice change of pace.

In A Strayed Allegiance, a beautiful, dignified woman faces the agony of having her lover fall instantly out of love with her and madly in love with another of Montgomery's untamed beauties, all while maintaining her civilized manners and nobility. A rare portrait of a woman too decent to fight back, and too hurt to recognize that the cause of the pain isn't worth debasing herself.

In The Waking Of Helen, a thoughtless young artist arouses the passions of a neglected young woman, then panics and 'drops' that he's got a fiance.

And one comment on A House Divided Against Itself, the final story in the book. In it, two ornery brothers share a house until one brings home a statuette he's won at a raffle. A statuette of a naked woman. The story is quaintly amusing, but the final declarationhas one brother furious that the other one has painted the statuette bronze. It was bad enough to have a nude female figure in their house, it went against decency, but...

"Think I'm going to have an unclothed nigger sitting up there?"

Okay, the story was published in 1930. In Canada. And the characters were cranky old white men living in an isolated rural area. And hugely sexist, weird old white man, to boot. But, still...

The Magical Bond Of The Sea
The Life-Book Of Uncle Jesse
Mackering Out In The Gulf
Fair Exchange And No Robbery
Natty Of Blue Point
The Light On The Big Dipper
An Adventure On Island Rock
How Don Was Saved
A Soul That Was Not At Home
Four Winds
A Sandshore Wooing
The Unhappiness Of Miss Farquhar
A Strayed Allegiance
The Waking Of Helen
Young Si
A House Divided Against Itself

About the Author

About the Editor
As a professional editor myself,I appreciate the comment about her editorial skills at this memorial from her alma mater, the University of Toronto

Books by L.M. Montgomery
Anne Of Green Gables (1908)
Anne Of Avonlea (1909)
Anne Of The Island (1915)
Anne Of Windy Poplars
Anne's House Of Dreams (1917)
Anne Of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley (1919)
Rilla Of Ingleside (1921)
Chronicles Of Avonlea (1912)
Further Chronicles Of Avonlea (1920)
Emily Of New Moon (1923)
Emily Climbs (1925)
Emily's Quest (1927)
The Story Girl (1911)
The Golden Road (1913)
Pat Of Silver Bush (1932)
Mistress Pat (1935)
Kilmeny Of The Orchard (1910)
The Blue Castle (1926)
Magic For Marigold (1929)
A Tangled Web (1931)
Jane Of Lantern Hill (1937)
The Road To Yesterday (1974)
The Doctor's Sweetheart (1979)

Short Story collections edited by Rhea Wilmshurst
Akin To Anne: Tales Of Other Orphans (1988)
Among The Shadows: Tales From The Darker Side (1990)
After Many Days: Tales Of Time Passed (1991)
Against The Odds: Tales Of Achievement (1993)
At The Altar: Matrimonial Tales (1994)
Across The Miles: Tales Of Correspondence (1995)
Christmas With Anne, And Other Holiday Stories (1995)

Anne of Green Gables websites

There are many websites and forums devoted to Anne and her creator. One clearinghouse of them is Tickled Orange

Montgomery's books star Prince Edward Island, which has responded gratefully to the tourism results.

Prince Edward Island tourism site

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