Comfort Reads discussion

141 views
Classics > The Blue Castle

Comments (showing 1-50 of 60) (60 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery is my #1 comfort read. I used to read this book once or twice a year - I can read it in one sitting, if I'm left alone! It's a wonderful romantic story, one of her lesser-known but much loved standalone novels.

(I am putting this in the Classics folder because it's an old book now and it should be more greatly valued - especially by publishers! There is only one edition available and its a cheap and nasty one: mine fell apart and my mum stapled it back together, which makes it hard to read!)

Are there any other fans of this wonderful book out there? We should start a petition to get it re-published like her other works!


message 2: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Shannon, I've been looking forward to reading it for a long time. I think I have it ordered from the library so hopefully I will soon be as enthusiastic as you are!


Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) It's set in Muskoka, Lee - one of the great things about moving to Canada with a man whose parents have a cottage in Muskoka is being able to see the gorgeous landscape that is captured so well in the novel! My mum and sisters, who also love the book, are quite jealous ;)


message 4: by Lee, Mod Mama (last edited Jan 11, 2010 06:56AM) (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Shannon, I had no idea it was set in Muskoka! Have your mum and sisters been able to visit you in Canada yet?


message 5: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Shannon wrote: "The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery is my #1 comfort read. I used to read this book once or twice a year - I can read it in one sitting, if I'm left alone! It's a wonderful romantic sto..."

Another fan of TBC! I discovered this book about 10 years ago and have loved it ever since. Barney Snaith, regardless of his horrible name, is a swoon-worthy literary hero and Valancy is a great female heroine. Although written in the 1920's (I believe), it has a very modern feel to it.

Colleen McCullough did a very blatant rip off of TBC, "The Ladies of Missalonghi" which was so-so, but a very poor imitation IMO:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55...




message 6: by Lori (new)

Lori This group is dangerous! Like I need another book on my mountain of to-read?


message 7: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Yay! We're dangerous!


message 8: by Laura (new)

Laura | 294 comments Hannahr wrote: "Shannon wrote: "The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery is my #1 comfort read. I used to read this book once or twice a year - I can read it in one sitting, if I'm left alone! It's a wonder..."

lovely book!!!




Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) Hannahr wrote: "Another fan of TBC! I discovered this book about 10 years ago and have loved it ever since. Barney Snaith, regardless of his horrible name, is a swoon-worthy literary hero and Valancy is a great female heroine. Although written in the 1920's (I believe), it has a very modern feel to it.

Colleen McCullough did a very blatant rip off of TBC, "The Ladies of Missalonghi" which was so-so, but a very poor imitation..."


Yes his name is awful isn't it? And yet he completely gets away with it and it doesn't put you off at all!

I haven't heard of that McCullough book before - it does sound the same doesn't it! Wow. Yet I wouldn't mind reading it - I love reading books set in my own country, and the Blue Mountains are spectacular.


message 10: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Shannon wrote: "Yes his name is awful isn't it? And yet he completely gets away with it and it doesn't put you off at all!

I haven't heard of that McCullough book before - it does sound the same doesn't it! Wow. Yet I wouldn't mind reading it - I love reading books set in my own country, and the Blue Mountains are spectacular...."


Hi Shannon!
Yes, Barney (being Barney), gets away with his name in every respect.

I was like you about Ladies of Missalonghi: I wanted to read something that had been compared to TBC. LoM wasn't horrible, but as Abigail said in her post above, it really is an inferior rip-off. But I'm glad I read it, if only to satisfy myself that TBC was superior - lol~




Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) Aw shame :( I loved The Thornbirds and The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet so I thought the writing at least would be good! Very disappointing to hear. At least we still have TBC!! (I really need a new copy though - I mentioned mine's falling apart?)



message 12: by Gabriele (last edited Jan 20, 2010 08:15AM) (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments Another The Blue Castle fan here. I read and liked most of L.M. Montgomery's books, but this one stood out as an enjoyable adult read.

And as I know and love Muskoka, this made the story even more special.


message 13: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn | 375 comments Add me to the list of devoted fans of TBC (and Mr. Snaith!) ;-)


message 14: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Kathryn wrote: "Add me to the list of devoted fans of TBC (and Mr. Snaith!) ;-)"

The Barney Brigade marches on....
:P





message 15: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Shannon wrote: "(I really need a new copy though - I mentioned mine's falling apart?)..."

I really wish they would come out with a new cover for the Mass Market Paperback version available in the US. It's so cheesy IMO.




message 16: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Gabriele wrote: "And as I know and love Muskoka, th..."

Montgomery writes such beautiful descriptions of her beloved Canada that I'm sure her writings are directly responsible for a percentage of the tourism it receives yearly. IN fact, my daughter's school friend and her family visited PEI this past summer directly because of reading and loving AoGG.




message 17: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Abigail wrote: "Better yet, they should release a really nice h..."

YES! So would I :)




message 18: by Gabriele (last edited Jan 21, 2010 01:11PM) (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments Hannahr wrote: "Montgomery writes such beautiful descriptions of her beloved Canada that I'm sure her writings are directly responsible for a percentage o..."

We've been to PEI a few times, and yes to visit Cavendish, which is where Green Gables is, but also beautiful beaches. Once, we stayed at a farmhouse B & B near GG, and the owner was a cousin of L.M. Montgomery's! It's quite amazing how many Japanese tourists flock to PEI because they love Anne so much.




message 19: by Hannah (last edited Jan 21, 2010 01:17PM) (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Gabriele wrote: "Once, we stayed at a farmhouse B & B near GG, and the owner was a cousin of L.M. Montgomery's! It's quite amazing how many Japanese tourists flock to PEI because they love Anne so much...."

How wonderful Gabriele! That must have been a fun trip.

I've heard of the Japanese love of LMM before. I guess regardless of your cultural background, it's hard not to love her writing, although I've found it best to take LMM in small doses for maximum enjoyment!




message 20: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn | 375 comments I, too, traveled to PEI due to my love of LMM's beautiful descriptions of the island and I must say that it did not disappoint. A truly magical place!


message 21: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments There seems to be a different pace of life in PEI, and the people are so friendly and laid-back (which is the case with the other Maritime provinces as well). Each of our three trips there has been wonderful.

I can understand how LMM kept writing about it, especially once she left there, because I also know where she lived for many years in Ontario- not far from my hometown - a rather bleak and soulless place. I'm not surprised that she liked Muskoka! I've read some of her journals, where she writes quite frankly about the people in her husband's two parishes, and she doesn't pull punches! Every time we drive through there, we feel sorry indeed for her, knowing what she left behind in PEI.

Her papers are at our local university, where scholars have been working on them, so it's great for me to have access to these. Very interesting reading. Rilla Of Ingleside came right out of her journals.

The latest info about her is that she committed suicide. She had a very tragic life, actually, with a husband who had severe depression, and a son with problems as well.


message 22: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Gabriele wrote: "The latest info about her is that she committed suicide. She had a very tragic life, actually, with a husband who had severe depression, and a son with problems as well...."

That's so sad, and tragic. A woman who brought so much joy, laughter and happiness to so many couldn't find the same for herself.




message 23: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments I know, Hannahr. It's heartbreaking. But I do think part of the creative process stems from adversity. Writing is a kind of catharsis or escapism. Can't you see LMM longing for PEI and writing about it with intense pleasure while stuck in a dreary manse in a place she disliked? Perhaps that's what makes the books so magical.


message 24: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Gabriele wrote: "I know, Hannahr. It's heartbreaking. But I do think part of the creative process stems from adversity. Writing is a kind of catharsis or escapism. Can't you see LMM longing for PEI and writing abou..."

I'm know you have a point there. Daphne DuMaurier immediately springs to mind as another "tortured" but brilliant writer. From a purely selfish POV, I guess I'm glad they had their dragons to slay since I adore those books. But damn. Just damn on how/why it was accomplished.



message 25: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments Abigail wrote: "If any of you have a great interest in LMM - and it sounds like you do - please consider joining the Kindred Spirits group I moderate, which is devoted to her work. We've discussed The Blue Castle,..."

Thank you, Abigail. I have always loved LMM, ever since I was introduced to her books in elementary school.


message 26: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
So, in the middle of moving madness, I got my library copy of The Blue Castle and during a break today I started it and read 200 pages pretty much non-stop. This is the perfect comfort read. I didn't want to stop reading and I was in the middle of chaos but just decided to escape for a couple of hours amidst a pile of boxes. This is a wonderful old-fashioned story and reading about Valency's blossoming is so satisfying!


message 27: by Gabriele (last edited Jan 24, 2010 05:17AM) (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments Good for you, Lee! Makes moving less onerous. I wonder, will you always recall the book in association with this move? : )


message 28: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I'm sure I will always associate the book with the move and it's going to be a great all around.

I just wish L.M.M. could have come up with a slighly more romantic name. Geez!


message 29: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments Yeah, doesn't the name sound like something Dickens would have given to a villain? Or an unctuous, snivelling Uriah Heap type.


message 30: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Lee wrote: "I'm sure I will always associate the book with the move and it's going to be a great all around.

I just wish L.M.M. could have come up with a slighly more romantic name. Geez! "


I'm so glad you're enjoying TBC Lee! It's my favorite LMM book. And yes, Barney Snaith is probably one of the worst romantic hero names of all time!




message 31: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I agree, I read it in two sittings and while it has classic elements of a romance, the characters are so wonderful that it doesn't feel cheesy in any way. I love how Valancy socks it to her family and comes out of her shell. I think this is a book that most comfort readers would really enjoy.


message 32: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks I've got to finally read this. It's one of the only L.M. Montgomery novels I've never got around to reading, mostly because, every time I go to the bookshelf to get the book, I end up either rereading the Anne of Green Gables or the Emily of New Moon series.


message 33: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Oh Gundula, you simply must!


message 34: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks I know. I'm actually thinking of hiding my other (already read) L.M. Montgomery books, so I won't get tempted again until I've finished The Blue Castle (talk about pathetic).


message 35: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I'm also looking forward to reading A Tangled Web. Have you read that one?


message 36: by Manybooks (last edited Jan 26, 2010 06:25PM) (new)

Manybooks Another one I have not gotten around to reading. But, I think I've read most of the other ones, including most of the short story collections.


message 37: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments I thought you might find this interesting - an article about LMM's inspiration for The Blue Castle - http://lmmontgomeryliterarysociety.we...


message 38: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine (SaanichLori) I also love this book - I have the paperback with the silly cover picture, and also have Ladies of Missalonghi. My favourite line from the book is when Valency realizes she's spent her entire day in her bathing suit - what a great summer she had! Also loved the dinner where she decided to say what she really thought to her family - I read this at the doctor's office and had to stifle my laughter!


message 39: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I agree Lorraine, the dinner party was one of the most satisfying moments in the book! She finally just let go and let it rip. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that one just to see the expressions on her relatives faces.


message 40: by Jenny (new)

Jenny Schwartz (jenny_schwartz) I love this book.


message 41: by Katri (new)

Katri (Valancy) | 68 comments The Blue Castle is one of my favourite books, too. I only read it first a few years ago, so it's not the same as Montgomery's Emily and Anne books which I pretty much grew up with ever since I first read them at the age of 10-11 years. But I happened to read it at a very significant time in my life - when I felt I was Valancy and when her journey and discovery of her strength helped me to discover mine. I was a few years younger at the time and my situation wasn't as hopeless as hers, but I still felt that I was wasting my life away listening to opinions of other people instead of finding what I really wanted in life and living it for myself and for things and people I cared about. So I related intensely to Valancy's situation and I loved that her journey of self-discovery and freedom was written in such a sweet, optimistic, fairy-tale-like fashion - yet honestly, so that she really had great difficulties overcoming her habits of deferring to her relatives and of not believing her own worth - that it was easy to think of her as a paragon and a companion in my own journey. Plus, I loved it that she loved nature so intensely and that books were her way of escaping the dreariness of everyday life.

So while I haven't yet reread it as many times as my favourite comfort books, it definitely has been a great source of comfort and happiness for me. I so far have only read it in Finnish translation, which is a bit old-fashioned and has some errors, so I'd like to read it in English some time. On the other hand, I love the cover of the Finnish book I have. If I can photograph or scan it I'll show it to you, I think you'll love it as well.


message 42: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Katri wrote: "The Blue Castle is one of my favourite books, too. I only read it first a few years ago, so it's not the same as Montgomery's Emily and Anne books which I pretty much grew up with ever since I firs..."

Oh Katri, what a great story. Thank you for sharing how The Blue Castle helped you during a transition period of your life. I know we'd all like to see the Finnish cover if you can post it :)


message 43: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Katri, how wonderful that reading this book gave you inspiration to change in your own life!


message 44: by Katri (new)

Katri (Valancy) | 68 comments Let's add a minor correction - I was keenly conscious of the need to change and also knew to some extent how I wanted to change things. But The Blue Castle helped me feel supported in it and gave lots of emotional comfort in that situation.

I'll definitely try to get the cover scanned or something! I think it's quite nice.


message 45: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments I'm not in a Montgomery group, so I'll post this info here for anyone in Southern Ontario who might be interested. The University of Guelph just announced this:

"The University of Guelph's Archives is also proud to unveil what may become the most-discussed page in Canadian literature: Lucy Maud Montgomery's "suicide note", which is one of the Libraries newest acquisitions. You will even have the opportunity to discuss this artifact with its donor, Dr. Mary Rubio, a distinguished Montgomery scholar."

The date is June 19th, from 2:30 - 5:30 at the U of G Library. I will try to get there!


message 46: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Wow, that sounds like it will be an interesting discussion. Thanks for posting Gabriele!


message 47: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments I'll let you know about it if I can manage to get there. I'm really intrigued to read this note!


message 48: by Barb (new)

Barb !
I had no idea she committed suicide.


message 49: by Gabriele (last edited Apr 27, 2010 05:36PM) (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments That was just revealed during the past year or so. From what I've read about her - and I did read some of her journals - she had a very hard life. Her husband was mentally ill. One of her sons had problems as well, although I can't recall the specifics now. I know where she lived for many years in Ontario, and can tell you that I would also have felt melancholic there! No wonder that her mind wandered back to PEI, and that she was able to create such classic stories from her longing and imagination. I believe she spent only a few weeks in Muskoka on holiday, but from that, she created this wonderful novel, the Blue Castle.

Great art and literature often comes from great personal strife and grief.


message 50: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments Last weekend I went to the university event to see LMM's suicide note. It was incredibly sad. She said that she had been having too many bad spells and that "it had to end". Also that she had tried hard to do the right things in her life - I'm paraphrasing since my memory isn't what it used to be! : ) I should have written this as soon as I got home!

Dr. Mary Rubio, who is an LMM scholar, told me that it appears that LMM and her husband were addicted to the barbiturates prescribed for them for sleep and bouts of depression. We know now how these drugs can affect people - something not well known then. If LMM had tried to stop taking them, she would have had severe withdrawal, and become more depressed. So she may well have been a victim of the medical ignorance of the day.


« previous 1
back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

The Blue Castle (other topics)
Rilla of Ingleside (other topics)
A Tangled Web (other topics)
More...

Authors mentioned in this topic

L.M. Montgomery (other topics)