Book Review: Maud

Published By: Penguin Teen, Razorbill Canada
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Page Count: 400
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Young Adult - Historical Fiction

Anne Shirley has long been a kindred spirit of mine. While I never had to experience life as an orphan, I felt a kinship to Anne when I was growing up. Anne spoke her mind, had a temper, and was fiercely loyal. I wanted to run through the fields of Prince Edward Island alongside her and Diana. I dreamed of finding my very own Gilbert one day. There was something magical about the Anne novels and I loved watching the movies over and over. L.M. Montgomery was one of my favorite writers as a result when I was young. To this day, the fondness for the characters and setting have never left me, so when I heard about this novel, I knew I needed to read it.

While I feel like Anne and I are old friends, I know very little about the woman who created such enduring characters and compelling stories. I was shocked to learn that L.M. Montgomery had a troubled and unhappy childhood. Her mother died when she was very young and she is sent to live with her maternal grandparents; she longs to be with her father, but will soon learn that living with him may not be the best course for her since her stepmother is awful. My heart broke for L.M. as she struggled to find her place in the world in a time when society forced women to seek husband's and forsake their dreams. 

It was abundantly clear that L.M. took events from her own experiences growing up and used them to craft Anne and the other characters in the novels. I've always heard that writers do their best work when they write what they know and for L.M. this turned out to be true.

I was exceptionally fond of the relationships between Maud and Mollie and Maud and Miss Gordon. Mollie is a true friend and it is easy to see how Diana may have been crafted based on this friendship. Miss Gordon is a teacher who takes an interest in Maud's writing and encourages her student to follow her dreams. I always love seeing positive relationships blossom that encourage lifelong learning.

This is a must read for any Anne of Green Gables fans. It is a fascinating look into the youth of the woman who created the dramatic and tenacious Anne Shirley. Maud is full of meticulous research and fascinating historical details that will have you longing to crack open your beloved copy of Anne of Green Gables once more. I have added several items to my bucket list after reading this one. I seriously need to get to Canada and see all of the places that inspired L.M. Montgomery.

One Last Gripe: The novel tends to meander and there are a lot of characters to keep track of as you progress through the novel.

Favorite Thing About This Book: Learning about a beloved author's life

First Sentence: She couldn't breathe.

Favorite Character: Maud

Least Favorite Character: Maud's Stepmother

For the first time ever, a young adult novel about the teen years of L.M. Montgomery, the author who brought us ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman's place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister's stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren't a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn't sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important.

But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother's plans for her, which threaten Maud's future — and her happiness forever.