This post does NOT contain spoilers.
5/5 on Rachel’s Rating Scale
As a kid, I adored LM Montgomery’s most famous novels chronicling the adventures of Anne Shirley. I even went so far as to read all eight books in the Anne of Green Gables series, following Anne as she grew from the feisty, stubborn orphan to a grown woman with children of her own. I delighted in the world of mesmerizing characters Montgomery had created, never wanting to leave their world. When I was done with the books, I set them aside and never realized Montgomery had written anything else.
I don’t know exactly why I grabbed this book off my library shelf, but I read it before I realized who the author was, and Valancy’s Blue Castle has forever enchanted me. While not dabbling in fantasy as most of my favorite books do, The Blue Castle takes on a magic of its own in Valancy’s moments of triumph and the enduring sweetness of her new-found relationships. It is a book full of wit, hilarity, and will leave the reader cheering as Valancy finally stands up for herself.
Valancy Stirling is 29-years-old in the early 20th century, unmarried, and living under the suffocating thumb of her family. In those days, Valancy is considered an old maid, unlikely to ever marry and leave the confines of her mother’s house. When Valancy finds out she has only a year left to live, she keeps the secret from her family and for the first time in her life, decides to take her own destiny into her hands. Shocking her family and the entire town, Valancy takes up with the most disreputable folks in the area, Roaring Abel Gay and his daughter Sissy, as well as the mysterious loner, Barney Snaith. With nothing left to lose, Valancy stands up for her right to live a full life, and, against all odds, finds love and acceptance in the most unexpected places.
I was afraid, at first, that this book was going to be dull, but it was anything but. The stuffy hypocrisy of Valancy’s family will make the reader cringe, but it is done in a way that is so delightfully humorous. You will laugh and cry with Valancy as she experiences the world in a way she never knew could exist. And, of course, the romance is also a delight, subtle, and equal parts frustrating and sweet. Plus, the book is full of twists and turns that the reader may or may not expect.
So, yes, DEFINITELY read this one. I’ve read it a bajillion times, particularly when I need a tale of triumph. And I would not limit this book to just young adult audiences. The Blue Castle holds something for all ages.