This second volume of the Anne of Green Gables series will always be one of my favorites. Anne is growing up and coming into her own. At the end of Anne of Green Gables (spoiler alert, for those who haven’t read it!) Anne has decided to forego the prestigious scholarship she won to Redmond College and, instead, to stay home and help the aging Marilla run Green Gables. Anne originally planned to teach at a neighboring village’s school, but her old foe Gilbert Blythe – who’d won the Avonlea school – gallantly agreed to give it up for her. This meant several things: (1) Anne could remain with Marilla full-time; (2) Gilbert would need to live away from home and pay rent, making it harder for him to eventually put himself through college; and (3) Anne finally has the opportunity to bury the hatchet and accept GIlbert’s renewed offer of friendship.
Yay for the long-awaited Anne-Gilbert friendship! As the two smartest kids in Avonlea, they’re made to be friends, and it was only Anne’s stubborn refusal to forgive Gilbert for calling her “Carrots” that stood in their way. Anne glories in her new friendship, finding Gilbert an invaluable ally in their newly-founded Avonlea Village Improvement Society and a good sounding board on teaching strategies.
Of course, this being Anne, things don’t go entirely smoothly for her. The A.V.I.S. runs into trouble when, despite its good intentions, the Avonlea Village Hall is painted a hideous shade of blue instead of the green they’d planned. Anne struggles with one of her pupils, Anthony Pye, who is determined to dislike her because she’s a “girl teacher” and therefore can’t be any good. (Anne, for her part, is determined to make Anthony love her. The rest of Avonlea begs her not to waste her time – Anthony is a Pye, after all – but Anne can’t be persuaded to give up on Anthony. In the end she wins his respect, if not his love, but not in the way she’d hoped or expected to.) And Anne’s hands are full at home, too, because she and Marilla have done the unthinkable and adopted a pair of twins. Davy and Dora Keith are sweet and adorable, and Davy adds plenty of spice and mischief to life at Green Gables. No, Anne can’t escape twins, but Davy and Dora are responsible for most of the funny moments in Anne of Avonlea.
Still, although Anne is busy and sometimes frustrated, her life is sweet. She can always count on Marilla for love, Mrs. Rachel Lynde for a spicy (but honest) remark, Diana for friendship and moonlit strolls, and Gilbert for good comradeship (although by the end of the book, Gilbert is starting to want something more). And there are new friendships to savor: Miss Lavender Lewis and her little housemaid Charlotta the Fourth, and Anne’s sweet student Paul Irving, who has the soul of a poet. It’s a good life in Avonlea.
I love Anne of Avonlea. It’s up in the top three of my favorite Anne books – check back to see which others I especially love. There’s humor, sweetness, and the very beginnings of romance. What’s not to like?
Anne of Avonlea, by Lucy Maud Montgomery: buy it here (not an affiliate link) or support your local indie bookstore!