I’ve been wanting to read The Blue Castle for quite a while now, and my mom gave it to me for Valentine’s day. I went into it fully expecting to adore it.
I wasn’t disappointed! (Yay!)
It’s the best book I have read in a long time, and definitely a new favorite. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. I might even like it more than Anne of Green Gables. *gasp*
It’s an adult novel, technically, but I think a lot of young adults would enjoy it. Although I probably wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers simply because I wouldn’t have understood it when I was, say, seven or eight.
Immediately after finishing it, I wanted to reread it armed with a highlighter and my journal to copy my favorite quotes into. That is a BIG deal, as I usually don’t highlight passages in books and I can’t remember wanting to reread something the second I finished it (at least not in a long time). Now I’m rereading it although I have no time to reread books right now*?? (What’s wrong with me??)
*I actually just finished and got a thrill of happiness when I read the final words <3
So of course I had to tell you about this book and what made me fall head over heels in love with it.
*WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead. I’ll try to hide the major ones.*
THE BOOK + SYNOPSIS
Valancy lives a drab life with her overbearing mother and prying aunt. Then a shocking diagnosis from Dr. Trent prompts her to make a fresh start. For the first time, she does and says exactly what she feels. As she expands her limited horizons, Valancy undergoes a transformation, discovering a new world of love and happiness. One of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s only novels intended for an adult audience, The Blue Castle is filled with humour and romance.
(Note: that cover does not do it justice. That is not Barney and that is certainly not Valancy.)
So Valancy is basically tired of her life. She is twenty-nine years old and is treated like a child by ALL of her family, both immediate and extended. They call her Doss and make the same jokes every time they see her and don’t let her be alone in her room and refuse to let her read novels*.
*WHAT IS THIS????
Here’s a quote so you may see what Valancy has to go through:
“What do you want to go uptown for?” demanded her mother.
“I want to get a book from the library.”
“You got a book from the library only last week.”
“No, it was four weeks.”
“Four weeks. Nonsense!”
“Really it was, Mother.”
“You are mistaken. It cannot possibly have been more than two weeks. I dislike contradiction. And I do not see what you want to get a book for, anyhow. You waste too much time reading.”
“Of what value is my time?” asked Valancy bitterly.
She’s afraid of everything. She’s afraid of changing her room because her mother wouldn’t like it, and she’s afraid to do anything new with her hair because Aunt Wellington said that she should never change it. Not to mention she’s having pains around her heart and is afraid to go see a doctor because her clan wouldn’t approve.
I really shouldn’t say anything else because I’ll spoil everything. MAJOR SPOILERS below + also my emotions so highlight if you want to read it:
I REALLY LOVE BARNEY OKAY, AND I TOTALLY SAW THAT HE WAS JOHN FOSTER BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE I LOVED THAT PART SO MUCH. And his book is what gives her courage to go see the doctor!! And the way he mocks John Foster whenever Valancy tries to quote him is basically the most adorable thing ever. I JUST LOVE IT OKAY. Also, how angry he gets at the end when he thinks Valancy doesn’t love him and the conversation they have and when he tells her how much he really loves her – EEEEEEK. I LOVE IT.
THINGS I LOVED
- Valancy. I felt like she was a fantastic character, and her change arc through the book was just so!! amazing!!! I LOVED IT. I also related to her a lot, for whatever reason.
- There were a lot of parallels that I just adored (because I love those kinds of things), like the dust pile.
- BARNEY. Obviously. I mean, he’s so – so – BARNEY-like! He’s the most darling character and their first kiss was one of the sweetest things. He’s such a layered, secretive character and I want to meet him.
- All the sharply contrasting elements between Valancy’s old life and her new life.
- ROARING ABEL. Ahahahaha! This guy may not be nice but he certainly is hilarious. Such a fun character.
- Valancy and Barney together. BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE TWO ADORABLE CHARACTERS THEY MUST GO TOGETHER. The way Barney treats Valancy is just really cute, okay??
- Their Blue Castle. It’s the most beautiful place and I almost feel as if I’ve lived there because it was so vividly described.
- The story. It’s great. Go read it, why are you still here??
“She could hardly say what it was – some tantalising lure of a mystery never revealed – some hint of a great secret just a little further on – some faint, elusive echo of lovely, forgotten things – John Foster’s magic was indefinable.”
“Valancy wondered pitifully what it would be like to be wanted by some one – needed by some one. No one in the whole world needed her, or would miss anything from life if she dropped suddenly out of it. She was a disappointment to her mother. No one loved her. She had never so much as had a girl friend.”
“She had made a discovery that surprised her; she, who had been afraid of almost everything in life, was not afraid of death.”
“She had always been told, ever since she could remember, that she must hide her feelings. ‘It is not ladylike to have feelings,’ Cousin Stickles had once told her disapprovingly. Well, she would hide them with a vengeance.”
“‘The greatest happiness,’ said Valancy suddenly and distinctly, ‘is to sneeze when you want to.'”
“If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends. If you cannot, friends you’ll never be and you need not waste time in trying.”
“Isn’t it better to have your heart broken than to have it wither up? Before it could be broken it must have felt something splendid. That would be worth the pain.”
“Love you! Girl, you’re in the very core of my heart. I hold you there like a jewel. Didn’t I promise you I’d never tell you a lie? Love you! I love you with all there is of me to love. Heart, soul, brain. Every fibre of body and spirit thrilling to the sweetness of you. There’s nobody in the world for me but you, Valancy.”
“Just to love! She did not ask to be loved. It was rapture enough just to sit there beside him in silence, alone in the summer night in the white splendor of moonshine, with the wind blowing down on them out of the pine woods.”
“We don’t know where we’re going, but isn’t is fun to go?”
“Rebellion flamed up in her soul as the dark hours passed by – not because she had no future but because she had no past.”
“That’s all the freedom we can hope for – the freedom to choose our prison.”
So, what are you waiting for?? GO READ THIS AMAZING BOOK. Go on. Shoo.
Have you read The Blue Castle? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? GO READ THIS AMAZING BOOK. Go on. Shoo.
P.S. I’m sorry for my absence last week. Life has been crazy. Love you guys.
I NEED TO READ THIS!! WOW!!
YES, IT’S AMAZING!! I hope you love it!!
I LIKE HAVE TO READ THIS!!! CAN I BORROW IT?! 😀
Tbh, I kinda skipped the last half of your post with the spoilers… I used to like spoilers but now… I prefer to find out myself!
Awesome review! I may come borrow this one off your shelf soon!
OF COURSE YOU CAN BORROW IT 😀
What is this????? Emma didn’t read the spoilers???????? *shock* I put this down to my good influence… 😉
I’ve read a few non-Anne books by Montgomery, but I haven’t read this one – a state of affairs that I must remedy, and as soon as possible. It sounds so good!!
YES YOU MUST. It’s absolutely fantastic! Definitely my favorite of the non-Anne books, and comes pretty close to being better than the Anne ones. Which is PRETTY AMAZING. 😉