Saturday, January 12, 2019

Book Review: "Marilla of Green Gables," by Sarah McCoy

About the book:
Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down, leaving her to bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew, and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea, life holds few options for farm girls. Marilla's one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth "Izzy" Johnson, her mother's sister, who fled Avonlea for the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy is a talented seamstress, which has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables. With her friend Rachel, she joins the local Ladies' Aid Society in helping an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia -- a home for abandoned children that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness -- but Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. Instead, she is caught up in the dangerous work of politics and abolition -- jeopardizing all she cherishes. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.

My thoughts:
Marilla of Green Gables is a must-read for fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. Like me, you probably wondered by Marilla and Matthew never married or had families of their own. This book answers that question, plus gives us a deeper glimpse into Marilla's personality. It also provides a fascinating look at Canada's role in taking in runaway slaves during the time of the U.S. Civil War. Despite this dark subject, the book retains the lightness and spirit of the original series.

About the author:
Sarah McCoy is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the novels The Mapmaker's Children; The Baker's Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award nominee; and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico. She has taught English and writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She lives with her husband, an orthopedic sports surgeon, and their dog, Gilbert, in North Carolina. Visit her at

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

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