- Series: Emily
- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Laurel Leaf (May 1, 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 055323370X
- ISBN-13: 978-0553233704
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Emily of New Moon (The Emily Books, Book 1)
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This adaptation of L.M. Montgomery's classic story will now enchant a younger generation of readers:
There are over 75 million copies of L.M. Montgomery titles in print!
--From the Hardcover edition.
From the Publisher
Emily Starr never knew what it was to be lonely -- until her beloved father died. Now Emily's an orphan, and her mother's snobbish relatives are taking her to live with them at New Moon Farm. She's sure she won't be happy Emily deals with stiff, stern Aunt Elizabeth and her malicious classmates by holding her head high and using her quick wit. Things begin to change when she makes friends: with Teddy, who does marvelous drawings; with Perry, who's sailed all over the world with his father yet has never been to school; and above all, with Ilse, a tomboy with a blazing temper. Amazingly, Emily finds New Moon beautiful and fascinating. With new friends and adventures, Emily might someday think of herself as Emily of New Moon.
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Top Customer Reviews
When the sequels to "Anne of Green Gables" were written (after the popularity of the first book made publishers urge Montgomery to write sequels) they were done without any `master-plan' in place to chronicle Anne's life experiences. As such, they read more as an ongoing serial in which the role of Anne gradually peters out as her she is replaced by her daughter Rilla as the protagonist of the series. Although the books are beautifully written, there is a sense that (with a few obvious exceptions, such as Anne's romance and subsequent marriage to Gilbert Blythe) Montgomery simply made them up as she went along.
That is clearly not the case with the "New Moon" trilogy, in which each book is built on the previous installment, and several plot points such as Emily's familial ties, romances, friendships, education, physic gifts, and - most importantly - her ambitions as a writer are developed throughout the three books into a coherent whole. Anne's story trails along, Emily's has a structured arc.
This leads to the next big difference between the two heroines: like Emily, Anne had the desire and skills to follow a literary career, one she eventually gives up in order to become a wife and mother. There is none of this for Emily Starr - she was born to be a writer, and every other subplot of the book (even her romantic entanglements) are secondary in the story to her desire to become an author. Anne's goodness and cheerfulness make her a great role model, but Emily's ambitions in what was still predominantly a man's world are truly inspirational.
Emily lives an idyllic existence with her beloved father in the country, when she is cruelly told by the family housekeeper that her father has only a few more weeks to live. By chapter three she is an orphan, and to be adopted out to her mother's people, the stern and powerful Murray clan. After an awkward family reunion, Emily is taken in by her Aunt Elizabeth, a strict and somewhat unkind woman who has no idea how to deal with the young girl now in her care. The two quickly form a distrust and dislike of each other, despite Emily's repore with Aunt Laura and Cousin Jimmy who also live with Elizabeth at New Moon. At her new home there is plenty to keep her occupied: new friends to make, new countryside to explore and thousands of stories to hear and tell. Emily soon realises that her calling in life is to be a writer, and here we see her take the first steps (and missteps) toward her lofty goal.
Furthermore, she soon makes three dear friends: the quiet and artistic Teddy, the mischievous Perry and the tomboy Ilse. These three friends are Emily's companions throughout the three books, though even here there is trouble brewing; romantic entanglements will inevitably arise in later books. Emily is also accorded unique physic abilities that manifest themselves once in every book; and I won't say anymore about that considering discovery the secret to the terrible mystery at the heart of Ilse's story is one of the best parts of the book. There is a spirituality and mysticism present in the "Emily" books that is somewhat missing from the domesticity of the Anne books: discussions on the nature of God, the legitimacy of other belief structures, and a palpable sense of the other-world. And - as is Montgomery's way - the story is littered with family anecdotes and letters/diary entries by Emily herself.
Even those who do consider the Emily books Montgomery's greater achievement (including myself) will often still look upon the Anne books as more *enjoyable*. Compared to Anne, Emily's ongoing story is darker, grimmer, and at times even downright creepy. Unlike Anne who is orphaned as a baby, Emily must bear the full brunt of the grief that comes from a beloved parent dying and the abandonment issues that follow. Furthermore, Emily is surrounded by cast of characters who are considerably darker than Anne's extended family and friends. The stern but loving Marilla is replaced by the severe and strict Elizabeth and Emily has a much more difficult time at school, what with a sadistic schoolteacher and a betrayal from a false friend. Other associates also have darker sides to them; the otherworldly Cousin Jimmy who is hinted as having a mental disorder (due to the fact Elizabeth accidentally pushed him down the well in a fit of temper - yikes!), the intelligent but secretive Dean Priest whose hold over Emily will become more pronounced as the series continues, and Emily's proud and autocratic Murray family. There is only one truly "safe" character, and that is Aunt Laura. But despite her kindness and gentleness, she and Emily are not kindred spirits, for as Emily herself says at one point: "You can love someone without understanding them." (And toward the end of the book there is a lovely moment in which Elizabeth comes through for Emily in a way that Laura does not).
You can never get quite comfortable in the Emily books, especially not in the way you do with Anne. The Anne stories are too rich to be passed off as escapist flights of fancy - but when compared to Emily, they come rather close. Anne had a temper, but was otherwise the picture of perfection: generous, warm, golden-hearted. Emily on the other hand is a much more rounded character, with plenty of flaws to balance out her virtues. She is much more standoffish than Anne, and makes friends less easily (though once made she is the most devoted companion one could wish for). Where Anne was hot-tempered, Emily is haughty, where Anne was talkative, Emily is thoughtful, where Anne was easy-going, Emily is somewhat prideful. Some have complained it is easier to like Anne than it is to like Emily. To them I say: "Duh!" Montgomery is not looking to create another Anne, but a character that is completely different from her most famous orphan.
I come to the end of this review and find that it is simply a comparison between "New Moon" and "Green Gables". I didn't set out to do that, but I think that in doing so one might be better prepared to approach Emily and her story. Anne Shirley came from L. M. Montgomery's heart, Emily Byrd Starr came from her soul.
After her father dies of consumption, Emily's mother's siblings gather to decide who she will live with. When her sour Aunt Elizabeth wins responsibility, Emily is taken to the family farm, New Moon, where tradition and pride are the hallmarks (or hindrances). Aunt Elizabeth's sternness is tempered by Aunt Laura's kindness; Cousin Jimmy, the lone male on the place, provides a sympathetic ear to Emily's spirit, much like Matthew did in the Anne books. When Emily starts school, she makes friends with Teddy, Ilse, and Perry, three neighborhood children. As a group, they negotiate the next two years with most of the action centering around Emily getting into trouble; not only does she have to be rescued when she falls over a cliff, she cuts a bang after being forbidden to do that, and then cuts off the rest of her hair to try to hide what she had done. Emily charms most of the people she meets and wins their heart, but can she win over the heart of Aunt Elizabeth?
This was an OK book, but it wasn't as good as I remember. Aunt Elizabeth is far too un-relenting; we only get momentary glimpses of her real concern for her niece til the end, when she gets mad at Emily for writing the truth about her. What does the woman expect after how she has treated her and they spend the whole book arguing? I found Emily's psychic episode a little unbelievable, coming out of the blue; their explanation is a little too pat, that the great-granmdother had the second sight. And, it may just be my adult nature, but what human being gets into this many "scrapes"? I was klutzy, but the child falls over a cliff picking flowers!
And that brings me to a slightly troubling topic. It's fairly obvious Dean Priest is romantically interested in Emily. This would be fine, except he's old enough to be her father, he knew her father in college, and she's 12! He tells her he will be the one to teach her the romantic talk, he visits her when she is sick there are several other things he does that set off my creepy meter. I couldn't understand how her family didn't question his intentions. Even setting aside the fact that young girls married older men in those days and it was more acceptable, there is a 20-something year age difference that is unappealing.
I am going to read the other two books in the series, but I'm not sure if I want to share these books with my child. Til I decide, I'll stick with Anne of Green Gables.