In 1908 Lucy Maud Montgomery had her first book published, Anne of Green Gables, and 100 years later it is still a best seller! It was in this book that the world met a feisty, imaginative, red-headed orphan named Anne Shirley. Although by the time she passed away in 1942, Montgomery had written 20 books along with over 500 poems and short stories she is best known for her books about Anne.
I remember my mother reading me Anne of Green Gables as a child. I loved Anne's character from page one in all her humorous, imaginative, day dreaming glory. She was so passionate about everything, her imagination was wild and wonderful. I started pretending that I had imaginary friends in any glass surface in the house and started talking about kindred spirits and bosom friends. My speech was littered with descriptive words like exquisite and marvelous. When I was upset about something, I was not just upset but in the depths of despair.
For the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables the Montgomery Estate in conjunction with Penguin books decided to produce a prequel to Anne of Green Gables. When I heard this I was a little incensed. How could anyone think that they could write like Lucy Maud Montgomery? How could anyone do the character of Anne justice? Then I heard who would be writing the book, Budge Wilson. Being from Nova Scotia, I have had the enormous pleasure of meeting Ms. Wilson on several occasions and I have read several of her books. She has received numerous awards for her writing and in 2004 was made a Member of the Order of Canada. I decided I would give this prequel a try.
Although I still felt a great deal of trepidation as I began reading Before Green Gables I was quickly pulled into the story of how Anne came to be Anne. Wilson did not try to write like Montgomery but instead used her own unique writing voice to tell the story of Anne's journey from birth in Nova Scotia to that train platform in Prince Edward Island. The book was exquisitely beautiful, heart wrenchingly sad and absolutely perfect in every way. Ms. Wilson did a marvelous job and I believe this is a must read for any one who has enjoyed the Anne books.