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

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Valancy Sterling, a spinster who’s been quietly oppressed by her large family her entire life gets a second chance at life when she’s diagnosed with a terminal heart condition. With no more fears about her future or worries about responsibility Valancy rebels, and for the first time, says and does exactly what she wants. A simple, relatively straightforward romance, The Blue Castle would be a good choice both for those who have never read L.M Montgomery and those who enjoyed her famous Anne of Green Gables series.

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This is not the kind of book that you read for the stunning plot twists, but the characters and story were charming enough for me to overlook. It took me around halfway through the book to realize that this is actually a Cinderella story in the form of a bucket list story. We have a spinster instead of a young maiden, an idyllic cabin in the wilds of Muskoka Woods instead of a castle, and a romantic hero with possibly the least romantic name ever (compare names like Darcy or Gilbert Blythe with Barney Snaith), but the bones of the story are the same.

One word that describes this book is wholesome. I’ve heard this book being likened to a Korean drama with its modesty and convenient plot developments, and the basic premise is similar to that of the k-drama Scent of a Woman. Given the premise, Valancy’s rebellion is a lot less extreme than it could have been. I admit to having a small chuckle when her relatives are absolutely scandalized that she’s seen driving with a man, and the “wild party” that Valancy goes to would be positively mild by today’s standards. Most of this is definitely due to the time period, but I also wonder if Montgomery simply didn’t want to explore the darker depths which were hinted at with Cecily’s story. I can’t blame Montgomery for going with a straightforward, heartwarming romance. And as a simple, straightforward romance The Blue Castle is great, but I can’t help wishing for a bit more.

Rating

How much I enjoyed it: 7 out of 10

How good I thought it was: 7 out of 10

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