Monday, October 29, 2018

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy

Hi, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Sarah McCoy's Marilla of Green Gables, a prequel to the L.M. Montgomery classic!

Here's a bit about the book from the publisher:

A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness.

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.

The Marilla we meet in Anne of Green Gables is tough and seemingly hard hearted. She doesn't want Anne, they need help and she's set on a boy. But as that story moves forward, we come to know and love Marilla, seeing that it's not meanness but practicality and toughness. And yet, we don't really know anything about her childhood or exactly how she came to be a spinster living with her brother caring for him and the family farm. McCoy's book aims to address that!

We meet her here at 13. Her mother is very pregnant and Izzy, the aunt Marilla has never met, is arriving to help with the birth. And what a shock that is - Izzy is Marilla's mother's twin and no one ever told her! What's more, Izzy lives on her own in the city - no kids and no husband - running her own business. Marilla is in awe but is also wary of the new woman in her life. 

And then tragedy strikes and young Marilla's mother dies in childbirth. And everything in Marilla's life changes. 

I love that the idea for this novel came from the line in Anne's story where Marilla, in passing, mentions that John Blythe was once her beau. It's a line that's always stuck out to me as well and made me wonder exactly what twists and turns Marilla's life took along the way. As such, I quite enjoyed McCoy's version of her past. I will admit, though, that considering the fact that I'm nearing the end of my own pregnancy, this one a bit tough to read at the start. 

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here

For more on Sarah McCoy and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


1 comment:

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I've always wondered about Marilla's story!
Thanks for being on the tour!