I’m planning to reread L.M. Montgomery’s 1926 novel The Blue Castle this fall. Would anyone like to join me? When my friend Naomi (Consumed By Ink) and I reached the end of Montgomery’s “Emily” series last month, we started talking about what to read next, and we’ve decided on this novel, partly because Montgomery started writing it just after she finished Emily Climbs and before she began to work on Emily’s Quest. We also decided to announce it now, instead of waiting until fall, so anyone who’s interested will have plenty of time to get a copy of the book and start reading.
I’m intrigued by Mary Henley Rubio’s suggestion that “Tucking The Blue Castle in before the third Emily book, Montgomery blows off the steam that had been gathering as she faced the unhappy prospect of marrying off Emily. The Blue Castle becomes part of the Emily series…” (“Subverting the Trite: L.M. Montgomery’s ‘Room of Her Own,’” in The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume Two, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre).
Naomi and I are planning to write blog posts about The Blue Castle sometime in November. Please join us by commenting, talking about the novel on Twitter—hashtag #ReadingValancy (inspired by #ReadingEmily, which Naomi chose for the Emily Readalong)—and/or by writing a blog post of your own. If you write a blog post, we hope you’ll share the link in the comments on Naomi’s blog or mine, or both, so we can keep track.
I suggested November because of this passage from The Blue Castle:
November—with uncanny witchery in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes—days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees. What cared they? Old Tom had built his roof well, and his chimney drew.
“Warm fire—books—comfort—safety from storm—our cats on the rug. Moonlight,” said Barney, “would you be any happier now if you had a million dollars?”
It isn’t likely that I’ll have photos of the Muskoka landscape in the fall to include in my blog post on The Blue Castle, as I don’t have plans in the coming months to visit Bala, Ontario (the town that inspired the fictional “Deerwood” in the novel). I don’t have cats, either, so there will be no cat photos for this readalong, at least on my blog. However, today I can share with you some photos of PEI in the spring, because I spent some time on the Island last weekend. And, like many Montgomery fans, I have a couple of small china dogs, Gog and Magog, so a photo of them on the mantel is the best I can offer as a substitute for cat photos. When I was in Charlottetown, I bought a copy of L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys, a collection of essays on Montgomery and Ontario, which I’ve been meaning to read ever since it came out two years ago. I’m especially interested in the essays on The Blue Castle, by Laura M. Robinson, E. Holly Pike, and Linda Rodenburg.
If you’d like to read The Blue Castle with Naomi and me, please let us know by commenting on this blog post.
If you’re interested in Montgomery’s life, particularly her ambitions as a very young writer, you might like to read what Naomi wrote earlier this week about Melanie J. Fishbane’s new novel, Maud.
Here are the three posts I wrote for the Emily Readalong earlier this year, in case you missed them:
My other posts on L.M. Montgomery are included here: “L.M. Montgomery in Nova Scotia.”
And, finally, here are the photos I took in PEI on the Victoria Day weekend.
Confederation Trail, St. Peter’s:
Prince Edward Island National Park, Greenwich:
(I’m always drawn to the simplicity of bridge, sea, and sky, and I’ve taken several versions of this photo over the years. There’s one in last year’s blog post “Spring in Rainbow Valley” and another in 2015’s “Birthday ‘Coincidences’ in Emma and Anne of Green Gables.’”)