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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2000
I couldn't believe the review one person wrote about "Kilmeny" entitled ho hum! This is no action adventure book, but it is not intended to be. Read Indiana Jones or Left Behind if you want action. This is one of Lucy's best novels. With a male main character, is is unique among her other full length works. This story tells a beautiful tale of true love. Eric truly loves this girl for her character, not for superficial reasons. He delights in her beauty because there is character behind it. Kilmeny is the one who truly displays sacrificial love. As Lucy Maud so eloquently puts it, her love was so strong that it would not allow her to do him (Eric) what she believed to be a wrong. That is a pure love which is too scarce in our world today. But I guess if you don't want to read about a beautiful love story, deep emotion, moving triumphs, and men treating the women they love as they deserve, with tenderness and respect, then this book really is ho-hum. ;)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 1999
This is one of the best romances I've ever read. It is about a mute girl, Kilmeny, who is very beautiful. Eric, the substituting schoolmaster, falls in love with her, but she won't marry him because she can't speak. Will Kilmeny's love for Eric overcome her muteness? You'll have to read the book to find out.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2000
_Kilmeny of the Orchard_ is a very short novel, not one of L. M. Montgomery's better known (and better!) _Anne of Green Gables_ books. This story concerns a young man, Eric Marshall, heir to a well-off shopkeeper, who decides to spend a year after college in a remote Prince Edward Island town. While there, he meets a beautiful young woman, who cannot speak. In all ways she appears perfectly healthy, she can hear just fine, plays an excellent violin, but can't speak. The story is quite melodramatic, as first we are told the story of her mother, who got married to a man who turned out, through no fault of his own, to already be married. Then the young woman, Kilmeny, and Eric fall in love, but Kilmeny feels herself unworthy of marriage, because of her "defect". The resolution involves Kilmeny's step-brother, an Italian orphan, who had also been in love with Kilmeny. This feature reveals one of the more distasteful features of Montgomery's books: her racism (and classism). In the Anne books the racist bits are very minor, involving occasional remarks about the "French". Apparently the French community of New Brunswick (the original Acadians many of whom moved to Louisiana and became the Cajuns (Acadian => 'cadian => Cajun)) were not highly regarded by the Scots and English inhabitants of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. They seem to have been mostly employed as farmhands. In _Kilmeny of the Orchard_ it is made clear from the beginning that Neil, of Southern European birth, somewhat dark-skinned, and an orphan, is a lesser being, prone to emotional outbursts despite having been brought up from birth by Kilmeny's dour Scots Aunt and Uncle.
Anyway, though Kilmeny of the Orchard has significant flaws, it is still an involving and enjoyable read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2001
Everyone is familiar with Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, yet not many realize she has many other books about other equally enchanting characters. Kilmeny of the Orchard is one example of that. Kilmeny is a sweet, mute girl who is the object of the wealthy Eric's desire. Raised in the lap of luxury, Eric has to figure out how to earn what he wants, her love. A lovely, old fashioned story.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2006
I described this book as shallow in my review title because of the undue importance placed on physical appearance. Kilmeny is presented as literally the most beautiful woman that the worldy-wise Eric has ever seen. When Eric's father questions his decision to marry a mute girl of lowly birth, all Eric says is, "Wait until you see Kilmeny." Maybe he meant that her sweetness and purity of heart are so strong as to be easily discernable on first glance, but that sentiment makes it seem to me like he values her first and foremost for the way that she looks. It is established that Eric has never before met a woman who "made his heart skip a beat," and that he knows pretty early on that Kilmeny is the only girl for him. Why, though, does it have to be because she is the most beautiful woman ever? Why can't there just be something indefinable about her that attracts him? The way the story is set up, it makes it seem like Eric never fell in love before because he never met a woman quite beautiful enough, and that Kilmeny's humble (even scandalous) birth and her disability are forgiven because she is just so very pretty. Yes, he also admires her musical ability and the liveliness of her mind, but her appearance is what he dwells on most. I actually think that the book would have been more palatable if she had been somewhat plain. The handsome, rich, sophisticated newcomer in a small town falls in love with a mute and homely recluse because of her childlike innocence, wit, intelligence, and talent? Sounds better to me than "man with untouchable heart finally meets a woman lovely enough to catch his eye."

I like L.M. Montgomery. I own the entire Anne series (my favorites are Anne of Green Gables and Rilla of Ingleside), the Emily series, and The Blue Castle (so, so good). This book, though, always seemed to keep the reader at a distance. Neither the hero nor the heroine (Eric and Kilmeny) are fully-realized characters. They are more archetypes of the valiant lover and the pure maiden, with nary a flaw between them. Even qualities that many people might consider flaws such as foolishness, obstinacy, and histrionics are stamped as selflessness, gallantry, and benevolence by the author. After the first couple of chapters, I found myself more skimming the book than actually reading it because I was not able to connect with the characters.

For a much better book about a man intrigued by a sweet-natured disabled girl with a tragic home life, try A Patch of Blue by Elizabeth Kata (originally published as Be Ready with Bells And Drums).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2000
I liked the book Kilmeny of the Orchard because, well, I have a uneque reason that I do not exactly know how to describe. Kilmey Gorden is an eighteen-year-old beauty that belevies herself to be ugly. Her mother, Margaret, told her so. Kilmeny, the eighteen-year-old that she is, has never looked into a mirrior in her life. Eric Marshall, the schoolmaster for the town of Lindsay, meets Kilmeny one day in an old orchard. To find the heart of this book, read it. It is a wonderful book.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2002
KILMENY OF THE ORCHARD is one of Lucy Maud Montgomery's lesser known works.
This novel is about a rich man (Eric), just graduated from college, who goes to Lindsay, PEI, to be a substitute teacher for a good friend who has become ill. While there, he falls in love with a violinist who is deaf (Kilmeny) and furthermore stained at birth.
I will leave the plot at that. Other reviewers have given more detailed versions which are helpful, but if you are going to read the book, I don't want to tell you too much of the plot because I am afraid I will spoil it for you if I tell you anymore of it.
The reason why I gave the book only 2 1/2 stars isn't so much because of the plot itself (although a much used plotline by many writers, Montgomery does manage to make it feel like new) but because of the characters themselves. Eric is described as perfect, perfect, perfect. Kilmeny, despite or even because of her deafness and stained birth, is perfect, perfect, perfect. Everyone in town who sees Eric approves of him because OF HIS LOOKS ALONE. When Eric falls in love with Kilmeny, his main reason--and the only reason mentioned of his wanting to make her his wife--is BECAUSE OF HER LOOKS. There is even a line in the novel where it goes something like "Eric lied on ther ground so that he could he hear her play...
And to also be able to look at her." (That is almost exactly the sentence.)
Now, I know we as a society do base many of our views of people somewhat on their looks, but it does get carried away in this novel, and I am NOT trying to take away from Montgomery's talent as a writer by saying that.
But I can't finish this review leaving anyone with a bad impression of the novel, and it is not for nothing that Lucy Maud Montgomery is considered one of the all-time classic writers.
The language in this novel is exquisite! It is amazing to read her descriptions of fields and orchards and characters and their personalities. I have read many of Montgomery's novels and so am familiar with her use of descriptive language, and never have I seen it better than in this novel. Even though I don't considered this the best of her novels, I do consider it the best in terms of how she uses language. You will feel as though you have lived in Lindsay, and have known its citizens, by the time you finish this.
In short, don't avoid this novel. The beautiful language as well as the fact that Lucy Maud Montgomery is the author of this novel makes it well worth the read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2000
The scenes in which Eric and Kilmeny spend stolen moments among the lilacs in the twilight are almost hallucinatory. Kilmeny is a beautiful (if not very deep) character who truly is the perfect image to use in front of Montgomery's beautiful descriptions of the atmospheres and scenes of Prince Edward Island. My only problem with this book is that it is simply too short.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2000
This was a beautiful love story. Even thoug it was short, it was a wonderful. L.M. Montgomery never ceases to amaze me.The book gave me a happy feeling when I had finished it. I would recommend this book to any L.M. Montgomery fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2001
Montgomery's wonderful skill in writing really shows in Kilmeny of the Orchard. She truley captures the innocence of a young woman untouched by the dangers and fears of the world. Eric Marshall, a young man born to wealth who has just graduated from college, arrives in out-of-the-way Lindsay, a town on P.E.I. He is substituting as a teacher for his friend who has taken ill. Along the way he meets beautiful Kilmeny, a young woman who cannot speak. Eric falls in love with Kilmeny, but will Kilmeny return his love? Kilmeny of the Orchard is a touching story that one will treasure in his or her heart. In rating it I give it a 5/5.
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