** spoiler alert **
Being a part of the "Anne" series, I like this as a step in the overall story. Which, by the way, how many times do we get to see a character over a span of many years? A fully developed, "real" maturing character full of flaws and passions with varying relationships--some who endure throughout the series and others appearing relatively briefly. It's really amazing and it's hard to not appreciate all of it even more.
Captain Jim is amazing. I figured it may be too good to be true or turn to cliche. And yet, just when there was the hint of him becoming mundane, another aspect of his character was revealed. Delightful character!
Leslie's character was so deep and her relationship with Anne was indeed complex. I think it's interesting in the line where Anne remarks how unique and special Leslie's friendship was. At first, I was overly sentimental and sad for Diana--her first bosom friend. But Anne's statement is correct. Sure there is some criticism in that Anne tends to fix everything wherever she goes. Maybe she does. Maybe that's just her unique personality? She dives in passionately to just about everything she does--and no less does that apply to a hurting friend.
Anne & Gilbert's relationship as a couple is lovely to see after such a build-up in the books prior and it feels like we get more first-person view from Gilbert this time around. (Seriously, who couldn't be in LOVE with him?) Beautiful wedding and family moments--not as lengthy as I would have liked to wander through, of course. Getting to see Avonlea characters through the Green Gables connection so many laters was fun.
So I think I'm talking myself into liking this more than I initially did. Of course, I read it faster than all of the others--a day--so it was hardly painful to read. The flashbacks could get redundant, but then again, it was fun reliving the scene in the past through dialogue between characters who we hadn't really heard "discussing" it at the time (like most of Anne & Gilbert's flashbacks and memories). I missed hearing more about Avonlea and Anne's Redmond friends and found myself excited to hear about various characters making treks to Kingsport and other places from past books.
Overall a good book and I can't rate it lower than a 4. Nervous to go forward, though... Is it terrible that I want to read more about Anne & Gilbert--and not necessarily their children? ;-)