Anne is growing up further; this novel finds her attending Redmond College to get her BA after her short early teaching career. She has dreamed of getting her BA since Anne of Green Gables and so her education is top priority. While there, however, she experiences her first love affairs, including proposals from several men and an embarrassing first proposal, and meets new friends as well as retaining old ones like Gilbert Blythe. Though Anne retains her dreamy nature, it’s clear that she is grown and ready to face the real world after her education.
I first read these books as a young girl and I found my enjoyment of them diminishing as they went on. I enjoyed this one more than I remembered, but at the same time I could see why I started to lose interest in the series as a kid. They turn more to romance than adventurous escapades, and while Anne is just as endearing as ever, her refusal to admit her love for Gilbert among other things obviously frustrated me when I was younger.
Saying that, though, I felt Anne really matured in this book and started to set aside her youthful foibles to become a proper young lady, somehow without losing the spirit at the core of her. I loved the addition of Phil, a completely lively new friend of Anne’s, and it was a delight to remember just who she falls in love with for all of her beauty and vivacity. Similarly, reading about all of the Avonlea folk getting settled and moving along in life is simply a delight for someone like me who would quite happily live in this world for a long, long time. Billy Andrews’ proposal to Anne through his sister was hilarious, as was Anne’s mortification over her story’s publication.
Reading Anne of the Island was a lovely trip through familiar and new experiences alike in Anne’s world. As always I was eager to read the next once I’d finished and I’m enjoying my reread very much!
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