MY DEAR MR. M: LETTERS TO G.B. MACMILLAN FROM L.M. MONTGOMERY
Edited by Francis W.P. Bolger and Elizabeth
Reviewed by Val K. Lem
Reviewed by Val K. Lem
Volume 20 Number 4
First published in 1980, this collection of letters to a Scottish journalist is being reissued on the fiftieth anniversary of Montgomery's death. Spanning thirty-nine years, they document a remarkable friendship and reveal a great deal about the author's life. Notes are kept to a minimum; an introduction outlines the origin of the correspondence.
Maud, as she was known to friends, addresses topics ranging from publishing to love and marriage in her early letters. Her success as a writer is duly noted. Following her marriage to the Reverend Ewen Macdonald and relocation first to Leaskdale and then Norval, Ontario, Montgomery emerges as a dutiful wife and mother. Many pages describe refreshing holidays, which contrast sharply with troubled reflections on the horror of war and her husband's frequent illnesses. She also comments frankly on her numerous books. The history of Further Chronicles of Avonlea (Boston, Page, 1920; Seal Books, 19871 and the lawsuits it spawned are particularly noteworthy.
The last letters from "Journey's End" in Toronto, where the Macdonalds retired, reveal a dispirited soul. Saddened by the deaths of her beloved cats, despairing at the outbreak of another war, and exhausted by ongoing family problems, Montgomery finally collapsed.
An index facilitates scholarly pursuits but this volume's greatest appeal will be to Montgomery fans seeking biographical information. It is much more readable (though less detailed) than and not as profusely illustrated as The Selected journals of L.M. Montgomery, volume I (Oxford University Press, 1985) and volume II.
Val K. Lem is a library consultant with the Board of Education for the City of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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