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A Tangled Web
 
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L.M. Montgomery
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A Tangled Web

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  2,937 ratings  ·  163 reviews
No amount of drama between the Dark and Penhallow families can prepare them for what follows when Aunt Becky bequeaths her prized heirloom jug - the owner to be revealed in one year's time. The intermarriages, and resulting fighting and feuding, that have occurred over the years grow more intense as Gay Penhallow's fiancé leaves her for the devious Nan Penhallow; Peter Pen ...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published 1938 by Angus & Robertson Limited (first published 1931)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melki
"I am ready to die. I've felt almost everything in life there is to feel - ay, I've drained my cup. But I mean to die decently and in order. I'm going to have one last grand rally. The date will be announced in the paper. But if you want anything to eat you'll have to bring it with you. I'm not going to bother with that sort of thing on my death-bed."

Not much can stir up old squabbles, grudges and festering resentments like the reading of a will, and I'm pretty sure Aunt Becky has that in mind w
...more
Elinor  Loredan
Superb. Absolutely superb. The characters live and step right off the page, leaving me thinking about them after I've closed the book. I like Gay (though she's a weensy bit pathetic and one-track minded) and Roger and Margaret-and even Drowned John, though I wouldn't want to meet him in reality.

All the 'damning' does get a little old-it's almost like LMM was trying to show that she could write something 'realistic' and 'grown-up'- but it doesn't interfere with my delight in the story, nor does t
...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
It all begins with garrulous Aunt Becky and the infamous Dark jug. She may be dying but the old matriarch of the large Dark and Penhallow clan is determined to throw one last "levee" - and stir up her extended family with her plan for bequeathing the heirloom. Dating back to when the first Darks came to Prince Edward Island in the early 19th century, the Dark jug has been in the family ever since, and with it comes a certain prestige for the owner. Over the generations, the Darks and Penhallows ...more
Carol
When I was rereading and reviewing The Blue Castle I came across mentions of L.M. Montgomery's other novel targeted toward adults - A Tangled Web. I knew I had read it because if it was by L.M. Montgomery and the Robinson Public Library owned it I read it. I really couldn't remember much. This definitely lacked much of the charm of The Blue Castle and as it focused on so many characters it was hard to get attached to any. It is also hard to review a book that ends with such controversy. No spoil ...more
Vatsala
Could this quaint book of family feuds and reconciliations been given any other name? I guess not. A better title than 'a tangled web' cannot given for such a narrative of intricate, invisible and strange ties that binds and breaks families (read clan).

Like many others, it was the magic of the Blue Castle which brought me into this Tangled web, to say that it was nothing like the beloved Blue Castle was a little disappointing in the beginning but the beauty of the PE Island and the sweetness in
...more
Mari Anne
This is the L.M. Montgomery book for adults I was hoping to read. Keep in mind it was first published in 1931... but it is daring and witty, sarcastic and sentimental. This clever story of the Dark and Penhallow clans, whose family trees are more like shrubs, is a fun romp with the skeletons in their closets. It's a behind the scenes look at the best and worst of human nature among the clan and it's entertaining from start (or almost) to the end (not quite). The first section of the first chapte ...more
Tracey
L.M. Montgomery was very very good at several things, and one of those was keeping a secret from her readers, building suspense until she finally decides to reveal all – which is always done in a satisfying manner. And she never does it better than in A Tangled Web – through the petty jealousies and deep passions and squabbles and allegiances of the tale of the Darks and the Penhallows runs one of the best tantalizers I've ever seen: why did Joscelyn leave Hugh the night of their wedding and ref ...more
Caroline
L.M. Montgomery usual milieu was the young-girl-grows-up-story, but she occasionally crafted a story aimed toward the more adult end of the spectrum. The Blue Castle, for one, which is a wonderful story.

A Tangled Web is another. First published in 1931, it follows a large cast of characters, all belonging the extended Dark and Penhallow clans as they speculate on who will inherit the "old Dark jug" from dying Aunt Emily.

We particularly pursue half dozen or so of the family members, all of whom
...more
Jellybelly
Loses a couple of stars for a ridiculously racist joke at the ending which I did not see coming. Otherwise, this book was a great read if you are looking for a quiet, atmospheric yarn that is very easy.
Penniphurr
A strange little book. Enjoyable in that it was a rather nice piece of gossip. Very Montgomery with the ideal of the "Clan" family. United against anyone from the "outside" yet snapping and biting each other all the time in private. A book set in its time, place & people. A polite wasp story. Ending is typical for its time but still unnecessarily offensive. I'm not sure what Montgomery was trying to achieve, except she was trying to demonstrate how uncouth the Sams were or she was showing of ...more
Amberle
This is the first L.M. Montgomery book I have read that was less then wonderful. The beginning of the book seemed to take forever. There were so many characters strung together that it became a chore to sort them out. There was only a hint of the charm I usually find in her books and that was probably the biggest disappointment. However, this book highlighted more than usual Montgomery's knack for social commentary. I loved the bridging in generations of this book and the different perspectives ...more
Elizabeth S
If you've ever read any of Montgomery's short stories, it'll help you to understand what I mean when I say this book is like a bunch of them interwoven together, and hence is better than if they were all separate. The book follows a large family clan through about a year with engagements, weddings, falling in love at first sight, *thinking* you fell in love at first sight, etc. Although it was hard for me to keep so many people straight, I really loved it. Montgomery did a clever job making the ...more
Tweety
Mar 06, 2014 Tweety marked it as lost-interest  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: L.M.M fans
I'm sorry L.M. Montgomery fans, I just can't read this book right now. I am finding it painful to continue, I only like three people out of the dozens of Penhollows and Darks. In the summer, when I have more patience I may try again. Maybe then I will be able to stomach A Tangled Web.

Right now, I just can't be bothered. Why everyone wants an ugly old vase that has no sentimental value I don't know. They're all ready to bite each others heads off for the stupid thing! And that infuriating Nan! Ug
...more
Jenn Estepp
It's pretty easy to see why this is not one of L.M. Montgomery's most famous and well-loved - although the plethora of gushy four and five star reviews here are evidence enough that it is still very beloved. If I'd read it when I was younger, I might be among them but today - not so much. It's incredibly slow and hard to get into. I think I actually started it at least three time before finally feeling it and that's mostly due to the fact that it's pretty confusing for the first third of the boo ...more
Shelley
I remember seeing this in the YA department of my public library in middle school, surprised to find an LMM I didn't know. I tried to read it, and couldn't get into it. So I tried again when I saw we had it in our classics collection. It's a dark, witty, sarcastic, passionate melodrama in the year of a clan who have had all their lives tossed about by a dead aged relative who is making them wait to see who earned an old family jug. One little event had dozens of repercussions.

I found it hard to
...more
Rikke
Lately I have been rediscovering my love for L. M. Montgomery. Her books are witty and charming, sentimental and ironic, filled with atmospheric places and nuanced characters. "A Tangled Web" is so brilliant because Montgomery introduces a broad variety of characters; old lovers, confirmed bachelors, young girls and forgotten spinsters.

"A Tangled Web" begins when Great Aunt Becky dies. She leaves a family heirloom behind, a dark jug which has been in the family for generations. The two branches
...more
Tammy Lee
"Well, a nice lot of family skeletons have had a good airing." This book starts with a family gathering, Aunt Becky's last levee, where the family gathers to hear what she has to say to them all, and find out how her possessions and family heirlooms are to be given, and to whom. But it is only the beginning of a remarkable family story.

I came across an old hardcover 1931 edition of this book at a thrift store, and bought it to add to my old book collection, not sure if I actually intended to eve
...more
Lauren
Ships were built and broken in record time. Then they were all somewhat patched up and relaunched stronger than ever.
Accordingly, I loved this book, then hated it, then loved it again. I like how it is a story of a family ("clan") but really it is a combination of a lot of different mini plots that combine to make the book. There were distinct plots, but they never felt disconnected from each other. Montgomery is a whiz at making interesting characters recognizable next time you meet them by in
...more
Imsathya
"A Tangled Web" is one of the very very few "adult" novels penned by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The Canadian author is primarily renowned for her creation of Anne shirley. perhaps the most beautiful creation of a child in all fiction. She also created many other works of children fiction - Emily of Silver Moon, Pat of Silver Busy, Jane of Lantern Hill and more. She achieved immense success as a writer of fiction based on children. But her adult books did not receive as much success. "Blue Castle" was ...more
Emily Barton
This book was the unfortunate beginning to my eventual disenchantment with L.M. Montgomery. As someone who has read, and loved the Anne books, Story Girl, and Emily of New Moon, I was honestly surprised by the degree to which I detest this pathetic novel, and how the book led me to like all of her books less. For starters, there is nothing new in this story. I felt like I'd met all the characters before, and had heard all the subplots. It's rather a compilation of all of Montgomery's sappy and p ...more
Rachel Duncan
I'm generally a huge fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery and especially of Anne, so I've read almost all of her books that I had any sort of access to, including every collection of her short stories that are free on Kindle. I've enjoyed all of her story collections a great deal but this one is BY FAR my favorite. The characters are enchanting and it is one of those rare books which contains a lot of characters and each one is well developed to the point that you have no problem keeping track of any of ...more
Jessica
Fun book to read with a wise ending. I will admit I was looking forward to seeing who got the jug so that was disappointing.
Naomi Kelsey
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I have read and re-read this sweet romance/family drama so many times I know parts by heart.

Although dated (skip the entire section on the feud between two long time best friend sailors over a "native" statue--it's got some iffy, rather racist language that can only be excused by the date of the book, which was written in the 1920's), it has the wildflower warmth and elegant light touch of all of Montgomery's best work.

Two rival clans, the Penhallow
...more
Jenny
I have a hard time saying I don't like an L.M. Montgomery book, but this was probably my least favorite of her books. I enjoyed it, but I wasn't sad when it ended it. The premise--that so many lives were affected by the unknown fate of a family heirloom--was clever, but the amount of characters and story lines meant that each felt a little lacking. While Montgomery's talent for capturing human nature in such a good-natured way was still present, I didn't fall in love with any of the characters. ...more
Katie
Synopsis:
A Tangled Web was written by L.M. Montgomery and published in 1931. The novel follows the Dark family and the Penhallow family who at the beginning of the novel, are all gathered at Aunt Becky’s ( who is the matriarch of this clan) to find out who will receive an heirloom jug when she dies. In the year that follows this gathering everything is turned topsy turvy as members of the two families fall in love, become broken hearted, follow their dreams and realize what is truly important in
...more
Katharine
Since we just moved, I opened up several boxes of books that have been packed up for years. Seeing my old favorites always makes me want to reread them, and A Tangled Web was the first to catch my eye.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a die-hard LM Montgomery fan, but I admit some of her work is better than others. This is not her best, but it still has enough of her particular charm to be enjoyable reading.

Unlike LMM's better-known novels, A Tangled Web has an ensemble cast rather than one cent
...more
Carrieuoregon
I was always an L.M. Montgomery fan. (who wasn't?) But I hadn't heard about this adult literature book until a few weeks ago. I read The Blue Castle during Wesley's wrist surgery and fell in love. I so rarely find a book that I can give heartfelt devotion to at this age. I naturally resolved to read the other book Lucy Maud wrote for adults. I definitely enjoyed my reading, but it didn't quite grab me the way the Castle did. It concerns the fates of a large cast of characters in one stunningly i ...more
Mandolin
An old jug left in secret legacy by a mischievous and temperamental old aunt: who knew that the inheritance of such a trivial (and undeniably ugly) object could lead to such drastic repercussions! Shattered friendships, broken hearts, rekindled romance...the Dark and Penhallow families experience them all and more when the clan matriarch, Aunt Becky, dies after her final "levee" during which she blistered each and every one of them with her tongue and started the kettle of emotions boiling with ...more
Paige
I've probably read this book more times than any other. I'm talking 12 or 15 times between the ages of 13 and 15. It's the story of a "clan" in Canada (of course), made up of the Darks and the Penhallows. It used to be that the Darks and Pehnhallows would only marry each other, but now it's a little more like no one else will marry a Dark but a Penhallow and vice versa. The story centers around a hallowed family heirloom, a cracked and ugly ceramic jug, and the decision of the clan matriarch of ...more
Sakura Yue Michaelis
I hate rating a book from L.M. just 2 stars, because I love her and I think she had a wonderful imagination, telling so many stories from so many people in just one book. A Tangled Web is not different. There are so many characters, and all of them are Dark or Penhallows. But I couldn't love the book, although it definetely has L.M. Montgomery's touch.

First of all, that racist remark everybody talks about... It is unpleasant, and the same with Margaret wanting a "rosy, blond-with-blue-eyes baby"
...more
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Lucy Maud Montgomery was a Canadian author, best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908.

The author of the famous Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery, was born at Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Nov. 30, 1874. She came to live at Leaskdale, north of Uxbridge Ontario, in 1911 after her wedding with Rev. Ewen Macdonald on July 11, 1911
...more
More about L.M. Montgomery...
Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1) The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, #1-8) Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables, #3) Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2) Anne's House of Dreams (Anne of Green Gables, #5)

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“It must be admitted frankly that Aunt Becky was not particularly beloved by her clan. She was too fond of telling them what she called the plain truth. And, as Uncle Pippin said, while the truth was all right, in its place, there was no sense in pouring out great gobs of it around where it wasn't wanted. To Aunt Becky, however, tact and diplomacy and discretion, never to mention any consideration for any one's feelings, were things unknown.” 4 likes
“Really, Nan could be very odious when she liked. Yet somehow she [Gay] didn't hate her as before. She felt very indifferent to her. She found herself looking at her with cool, appraising eyes, seeing her as she had never seen her before. An empty, selfish little creature, who had always to be amused like a child. ...A girl who posed as a sophisticate before her country cousins but who was really more provincial than they were, knowing nothing of real life or real love or real emotion of any kind. Gay wondered, as she looked, how she could ever have hated this girl—ever been jealous of her. She was not worth hating. Gay spoke at last. She stood up and looked levelly at Nan. There was contempt in her quiet voice.

"I suppose you came here to hurt me, Nan. You haven't—you can never hurt me again. You've lost the power. I think I even feel a little sorry for you. You've always been a taker, Nan. All through your life you've taken whatever you wanted. But you've never been a giver—you couldn't be because you've nothing to give. Neither love nor truth nor understanding nor kindness nor loyalty. Just taking all the time and giving nothing—oh, it has made you very poor. So poor that nobody need envy you.”
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