Author: Melanie J. Fishbane
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Teen
I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Maud is a fictional recounting of the life of L.M. Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. I love the Anne movies, and was really excited upon discovering this book, hoping to see the possible parallels between Montgomery’s life and Anne’s. And there are certain similarities that shine through: a sense of spirit, academic pursuits, the dream of being a writer, the friendships. But I think the writing made everything fall a bit flat for me.
Maud is very young throughout the course of the novel—she’s maybe fourteen when the story picks up. And already there is talk of marriage, pretty common though for this time—let’s not forget we are in the 1800s. I was fine with that. It was the tone of the writing. It was written a little over simplistic and explaining, I just felt like it was a little immature and more like diary style writing. I know with the character age this is probably middle-grade, but it felt like it was supposed to be young adult and just fell flat in the middle.
But like I said, Maud and Anne have a lot of similarities. So naturally, I loved Maud. She is a bit of a spit fire and has trouble following the rules. She is a romantic through and through, loves reading poetry, and is constantly “scribbling” in her journal. I wished she stuck up for herself a bit more, but in the time she was in she did the best she could.
I also loved the relationships she had. Her female friendships were so important and meaningful, again something that seems reflected in the Anne books. That and she has several heartwarming male friend-to-more courtships.
Canada was a pretty new setting for me, which seems silly but is still true. The descriptions of Prince Edward Island and other locales were just beautiful. I could see it all.
I will admit the pacing felt a little off though. This spans years. So much happens to Maud, and she goes back and forth between so many different locations. It’s a lot to kind of remember where you are and what age you are at.
All it all, if you love Anne, I think you’ll enjoy reading a researched fictional account of the woman behind her. It might feel a little juvenile and drawn out, but our protagonist has that same wistful romantic spirit that left me yearning to pop in my Anne of Green Gables VHS.