- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow (October 23, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062697714
- ISBN-13: 978-0062697714
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Marilla of Green Gables: A Novel Hardcover – October 23, 2018
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―Lindsay Crist Lawson, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, OH
"Great for lovers of Anne who need more Avonlea in their lives. This book was very well done in the style of L.M. Montgomery that I had to remind myself that it wasn't actually written by her..."
―Alison Frenzel, Fabled Bookshop and Café, TX
"Fans of the original series and those entering this landscape for the first time will be captivated..."
―Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, NC
"L.M. Montgomery's Marilla Cuthbert flares to life in Sarah McCoy's enchanting novel of Avonlea. But this Marilla feels very much earned by McCoy, and her story, one of wrenching family sacrifice and the enduring pleasures of home, as much a love letter to the world of Green Gables as it is a breath of fresh air. Hats off to McCoy for enlivening this classic with such heart and grace."
―Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin
"Fans of the Anne of Green Gables series will rejoice at this warm and heartfelt addition to their world. McCoy's love for the characters is palpable, and with an insightful eye she illuminates the original Avonlea, while also offering glimpses into the turbulent history of the time."
―Madeline Miller, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Circe
"Sarah McCoy has given readers a precious gift: the opportunity to step back into the world of Avonlea, and the chance to get to know Marilla Cuthbert as a leading lady in her own right. In McCoy's skillful and sensitive hands, Marilla emerges as a heroine of depth, complexity, and heart. I savored my time with this cast of old friends, enjoying the dilemma of whether to speed through these compelling pages or to pause and relish everything about the lovely world imagined within them."
―Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of Beauty in the Broken Places and Sisi
About the Author
SARAH McCOY is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of Marilla of Green Gables (10/23/18); The Mapmaker's Children; The Baker's Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; the novella "The Branch of Hazel," featured in the anthology Grand Central; and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico.
The daughter of an Army officer, her family was stationed in Germany during her childhood. She now lives with her husband, an orthopedic sports surgeon, and their dog, Gilbert, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
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There are places where the characterization and plot feel forced, but I think this is partly due to the constraints placed on the author by the prequel format. We already know how Marilla's life turns out, and we know she has regrets about lost opportunities. This guarantees a certain unavoidable sadness to the story, but the author balanced that with warm and heartfelt depictions of the Cuthbert family, Avonlea, and the beauty of Prince Edward Island.
Many people know the story of Anne of Green Gables, from the book series by Lucy Maude Montgomery, the movies and now the Netflix series "Anne with an e."
Montgomery never gave much of a backstory about siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, who took in orphaned Anne Shirley at their Prince Edward Island farm. This is a version of their story.
It is 1837 in the small town of Avonlea. Marilla is 13 when her aunt comes to help her mother, who is pregnant. Her mother and the baby die and Marilla promises to take care of her father and brother.
Marilla meets Rachel White, who becomes her best friend, and her suitor, John Blythe. In this version, Marilla and John break up over a political argument. Marilla becomes involved with the Underground Railroad.
While it is nice to imagine more of the characters of the beloved story, and it was great to be back at Green Gables, the actions of the characters are out of line with the original and the escaped slave story isn't needed. The book ends rather abruptly.
In accordance with FTC guidelines, the Advanced Readers Copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Taking on Marilla is no mean feat and overall, I enjoyed this prequel. But I can't help but wonder, if I didn't have the personalities of older Marilla and Matthew in the back of my mind, would this book have been as engaging? I don't think so. I found Marilla and Matthew's early history too slow for me. There was an emotional loss and we see Marilla's stubborn streak appear which inevitably shapes her future, but the book focuses on these two siblings who rarely express themselves to the outside world making it a struggle to become invested in their stories when we don't get a lot of emotional output from them.
McCoy also infuses smaller, subplots about the Underground Railroad, Canadian history and how the American Civil War impacted some aspects of Canadian life. These subplots helped situate Marilla's story within the political and social turmoil of the time, but I preferred getting back to small-town life in Avonlea. Readers will enjoy the story's small town, country feel as it meanders through McCoy's imaginings of Marilla's early life on PEI - her friendships, family life, loves and losses which shaped the woman we remember from the original series.
I give Sarah McCoy top marks for diving into a highly beloved, well-known series and giving a voice and a past to a curious and possibly misunderstood character. And while I wasn't quite as enamoured as I had hoped (big shoes to fill and all), this is a charming story that gives readers one possibility of how Marilla Cuthbert became the stoic, strong and stubborn woman we know and love from the beloved Anne of Green Gables series.
Mathew and Marilla are quite characters. That’s established canon. They feel deeply, but express little. And essentially that’s where this fell down for me. This book follows 40 or so years of Marilla’s life and we finish the book not really knowing anything more about her than when we started. She’s emotionally stunted and unwilling to go after what she wants. Does she do something heroic once in her life? Sure, but mostly that’s just arranging for someone else to do all the work. I suppose I had hoped for a bit more than 300 pages of Marilla’s stoic navel gazing.
I rated it highly though, because disappointed in it or not, it’s beautifully written.
Note: I won a copy through Goodreads, but I chose to read and review it.