Monday, November 29, 2021

Review: Marilla Before Anne

Everyone knows and loves the story of Anne, the plucky orphan who won the hearts of the people of Avonlea and her adoptive parents Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. But who was Marilla before the events of Anne of Green Gables? When we first encountered Marilla in that book, she was a dour woman determined to shut everyone out. Louise Michalos imagines Marilla as a teenager and young woman, as she falls in love and suffers great tragedy.

I am a huge fan of L.M. Montgomery's characters and stories. I love the books and am reading the first to my daughter. I've enjoyed both the movies from the 1980s and the recent Netflix miniseries. I know that people who love Anne and Green Gables feel very strongly about changes, and your appreciation of this story will depend on how you feel about a revelation that will change everything  you knew about Marilla. 

In Marilla Before Anne, Louise Michalos does a lot of things well. It's lovely to get some back story on the characters you know and love, especially the relationships between Marilla and Matthew and Marilla and Rachel. But the major change Louise Michalos has made to Marilla's story means that the story of the Cuthberts is forever changed. If you are willing to have the story changed so drastically, Marilla Before Anne is a wonderful way to spend some more time with the characters you already love. But if you hold very tightly to the tale that you've always known, this probably isn't the book for you.

Marilla Before Anne
By Louise Michalos
Nimbus Publishing May 2021
256 pages
Read via Netgalley 


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