Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rainbow Valley

I liked Rainbow Valley a lot better than I thought I would. At first, I objected to it because there was too much of the Meredith family and the Blythe children (except Shirley...why is he always so markedly absent?) and not enough Anne. She seems to be slowly fading from the series. Her children are cute, but they're no Anne.

I got caught up in the Meredith storyline, however, and their efforts to "raise themselves". The Huck Finn-ish Mary Vance was an amusing new character. I was happy that she didn't get sent back to the orphanage, but was sad that she was relegated to the background when Miss Cornelia took over her upbringing. The signs of the times in which this book were written (1919) are obvious. The Blythe and Meredith children quail and lecture over every little "darn" and mild profanity that Mary utters, but no one turns a hair when she drops the n-bomb. I thought they might at least reprove her for being "common", as Atticus does Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird.

Things usually turn out well in Anne-land, and Rainbow Valley was no exception, with little Una Meredith "proposing" to Rosemary West, Nan and Di's lovely piano teacher. Happily, Rosemary was just the woman that Rev. Meredith would agree to marry him. The novel ends with everyone pleased about the wedding and the children are having one of their out-of-the-mouths-of-babes conversations, when L.M. Montgomery suddenly does a "flash-forward" indicating that World War I is on its way and will cast its shadow over everyone and everything. Although Montgomery leaves her readers stranded on a gloomy note, it's a good set up for the beginning of Rilla of Ingleside, which I'm reading now.

My library has lots and lots of Anne, but it's all in Korean.


jenclair said...

I need to return to my Ann books!

Bybee said...

I wish I'd gotten acquainted with her earlier in life.

raidergirl3 said...

I read Rainbow Valley over and over as a child. Loved all of Anne's kids and those poor Meredith children.

Part of my affection for Rainbow Valley might be due to the amusement park we had here on PEI for many, many years:

Susan said...

You liked it! I do too, though I have to admit to the same reservations you had - Anne is fading from the books, and the kids are taking over. Adult Anne seems too remote from the sunny spunky Anne we had in the earlier books. Yet, I always end up enjoying Rainbow Valley and the two families adventures. Nice review, Bybee!