This is one of those books that you just want to cuddle up with on a rainy day... or at least that's how I feel. The up's and down's in this book are probably the least out of the whole series, and yet you see it through the eyes of children who... *ahem* tend to exaggerate.
To start things off on the right foot, here we have the synopsis...
Anne of Ingleside
By L.M. Montgomery
Now a busy mother of five young children, with one on the way, Anne feels as though her life is full to bursting. And to top it all off, Gilbert's Aunt Mary Maria is visiting... and overstaying her welcome.
Still, in Anne's happy home, there is rarely a sour note. Having inherited their mother's gift of an imagination in full, the young Blythes soon fill the house with many tales and adventures, involving a faithful robin, a haunted manor (which turned out to be the home of an old widow named Thomasine), and the completely humiliating task of carrying a cake in public that is bestowed on a six-year-old, who feels as though her parents have no care for the embarrassing results of such a task. This book is a delightful tale of Anne and Gilbert's life as parents to six very adventurous and eager children.
I love this book. I really, really love it. You can completely see Anne's personality come through as a mother. I love the quote where Di (Anne's daughter) says "[about Delilah Green] Why Mother, she doesn't get enough to eat, truly she doesn't. She never knows what it is not to be hungry. Mother, they send her to bed without any supper lots of times and she cries herself to sleep. Did you ever cry because you were hungry, Mother?" To which Anne promptly replies, "Often." Of course, Di was not expecting to receive such a reply, and the wind is taken out of her sails for a minute. :)
Another thing I love about this book? Susan. She is such a dear. Always calling Anne "Mrs. Dr. dear," always "getting the poor doctor a bite to eat," being such a wonderful caretaker of the Ingleside children, the list goes on and on. It just warms my heart to read about her, because, what with Anne's sad childhood and her rather strict upbringing by Marilla, you like to read about children being well-loved. Of course, they are not spoiled--just well-loved.
Among other points of interest in this fantastic read would be the Lady of the Mysterious Eyes, the few chapters in which Nan discovers that she is not a Blythe and has another family altogether, and, of course, Rilla's episode with The Cake. Rilla is an interesting character, indeed. I loved getting to know her better in Rilla of Ingleside... but more about that later, when I review that book.
(side note: I briefly considered using "Rilla Blythe" as my pen name for my books that I plan on writing, but, upon hearing about this choice of mine, my father promptly said, "It's too hard to say. What does "Rilla" stand for, anyway?" I replied, "It's a nickname for Marilla." And then he said, "How about Marilla Blythe as your pen name? That seems to flow much better." After that discussion, I never considered that name as a pen name again--not for all the money in the world would I be known as "Marilla." :)
I love the family feel to this book--that's why I said it was a good curl up on the couch on a rainy day kind of book. Never is there a fight, nor a cruel word said in this book from one family member to another that was not promptly scolded and never heard again. The family feeling is something I love, due to it's absence in so many books that you see on the shelves in Barnes & Noble nowadays. No lies, no cheating, no stealing--it just wasn't done. Maybe it was done in the outside world, but such behavior was not allowed at Ingleside--and that's good family values for you.
Aunt Mary Maria is a hoot. She, who is violently proclaiming throughout her whole visit the hazards of fires, actually sets the curtains on fire herself, by walking around in the dark in the middle of the night, carrying a candle. That's irony for you. :)
There is one thing to look out for: this book does tend to ramble on and on a bit, filled with little vignettes of the children's adventures. I loved that, but some might not. It didn't have as much of a "plot" as the other books in the series did. Just something to remember while reading.
One last thing before I close up this review...
A BIT O' READING FOR THE DAY
"There's something wrong with anyone who likes living alone, Anne," said Aunt Mary Maria. ~ Anne of Ingleside
And one more quote (there are so many good ones--it's so hard to choose!)
"Susan, I've got to find that toad," said Walter desperately. "Susan, just think how you would feel without your husband, if you had one." ~ Anne of Ingleside