Title: Rilla of Ingleside
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Genre: YA historical fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: It was a warm, golden-cloudy, lovable afternoon.
Goodreads blurb: Anne’s children were almost grown up, except for pretty, high-spirited Rilla. No one could resist her bright hazel eyes and dazzling smile. Rilla, almost fifteen, can’t think any further ahead than going to her very first dance at the Four Winds lighthouse and getting her first kiss from handsome Kenneth Ford. But undreamed-of challenges await the irrepressible Rilla when the world of Ingleside becomes endangered by a far-off war. Her brothers go off to fight, and Rilla brings home an orphaned newborn in a soup tureen. She is swept into a drama that tests her courage and leaves her changed forever.
I will always remember 2012 as the year I reread my beloved Anne of Green Gables series. It was a difficult year, and I needed to read something that felt like family. That’s exactly how I feel about this series. Some of the later books aren’t quite as good as the first few, but this final official book wraps things up perfectly. (There is a recently discovered, newly published book that follows it – The Blythes Are Quoted – which I will be reading soon.)
Anne is older, and is no longer the central figure in the book. This was also true of Rainbow Valley, but while that book suffers from lack of a strong central figure, this one has Rilla. Rilla is Anne and Gilbert’s youngest, and she is as easy to love as her mother was at her age.
The other thing that makes this final book such a beautiful read is that it propels the Blythe family and their friends through World War I. It is also what makes it such an emotional read, because Anne, Gilbert, Jem, Walter, and Rilla felt as close as family while I read. There is a certain scene – those of you who have read it will know exactly what I’m speaking of – that had me sobbing in bed, late at night, long past when I should have been asleep. In fact, just thinking about it now has me wiping tears away. In making me feel that way about fictional characters, Lucy Maud Montgomery has performed a literary feat that is rare and miraculous. I am almost afraid to read the newly discovered final book, in case it bursts that bubble.