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The Blue Castle by Montgomery, L.M. (1989) Mass Market

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  • Bantam Books (1707)
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Review Text

  • By Linda Jean on November 14, 2014

    A wonderful timeless tale that combines elements of `The Ugly Duckling' and `Cinderalla' to make a truly lovely romance. I simply loved this book. It reminded me very much of another book I read years ago, `The Ladies of Missalonghi.' I do highly recommend this gentle, old-fashioned and highly satisfying love story.Valency is born into an unfortunate family and her charms have gone unnoticed. She has been browbeaten and made to feel inferior in every possible way. We are introduced to her when she has just turned 29 and is being made to feel every inch the plain, scrawny, frail spinster that she is. Far from being supported, she is belittled, ignored and generally forced into a life of quiet desperation. Even her nickname, `Doss' is ugly, and she hates it. Her life is grim and there seems to be no sign of improvement. The constant comparisons between Valency and her rich, younger and beautiful cousin Olive make everything worse.Compounding everything, Valency doesn't feel well. She has terrible chest pains that are incapacitating. Rather than bear with the pain and suffer in silence, she secretly sees a physician, who advises her she has only one year to live. Her life is basically over and yet she has not ever really lived. Her death sentence liberates her, in so many ways - and she determines to live life to the fullest for the time remaining her.And, so the story unfolds. Valency now sees the world through different eyes. She starts speaking up. She enrages her family, but the reader is so encouraged, cheering her on. The story unfolds with subtle wit and nuanced humor - making it simply a joy to read. Watching the transformation of Valency is a rare treat.As Valency begins to forget her past and ignore her future, she learns to live just for the present - and, like Valency, I found myself `surrendered utterly to the charm of it.' The drab poverty of her first 29 years soon pales in comparison to the richness of Valency changed into being `gloriously happy - entirely so.' No one ever so deserved a happy ever after!And, getting to that final reveal, as the story twists and turns, is sheer, unadulterated pleasure. A simply classic romance!

  • By My Favorite Pastime on May 2, 2016

    About the Book:Valancy is turning 29. All of her life Valancy has been sort of an afterthought to her family. Nobody pays her any attention. Her features are unremarkable. Her personality stifled. Valancy is an old maid and her family lets her know it every chance they get.When Valancy receives some upsetting news she decides that she is tired of living in fear. This is when Valancy really comes to life! Valancy's family does not know what to make of her when Valancy starts speaking her mind, doing things she never would have done before, and no longer being the wallflower her family expects her to be.Valancy further scandalizes her family by becoming involved with the local bad boy Barney Snaith. Valancy has never believed the rumors that fly about Barney so has no problem being seen around town with him.Having made up in dreams all of her life her Blue Castle, Valancy is finally living a life of freedom and building her own Blue Castle that is made of more than just dreams.My Thoughts:I thought The Blue Castle was a beautiful story! I loved reading about Valancy shedding her fears, rebelling against family prejudices and finally becoming the person she truly was meant to be. I am ashamed to say that this is the first L.M. Montgomery book that I have read other than the Anne of Green Gables series. I should have known that the author that could write the Anne books could also write other stories that were just as meaningful and enjoyable to read. If you haven't ventured beyond Anne, then I suggest starting with The Blue Castle. A sweet story that is sure to cause the reader to want to shed a few fears of their own!

  • By Nenia Campbell on December 11, 2017

    Oh man, this was just the palate cleanser I needed after all those crazy bodice ripper romances. L.M. Montgomery, author of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES fame, brings to the table something wickedly funny and wholesomely real with THE BLUE CASTLE: a story of a bitterly unhappy girl who learns to discover her true self in the face of a terrible tragedy.The plot actually reminded me of the 2006 film, Last Holiday, starring Queen Latifah, and I couldn't help but wonder if Last Holiday was in some part inspired by THE BLUE CASTLE. THE BLUE CASTLE is about a girl named Valancy who lives with a bitter and miserable family, mired in tradition and utterly consumed with ritual and what's "proper."Valancy is kept under their thumb, abused, and mocked for being a twenty-nine-year-old spinster, but her unhappiness is also the glue that not only keeps her family united, but also rationalizes their own self-misery and unhappiness. It's an utterly toxic atmosphere, and it's no wonder that Valancy suffers anxiety attacks and depression, and cries herself to sleep at night as she reminisces over past injustices while also hoping for something more. Her two spots of solace in the world are books by an author named John Foster, who writes beautiful prose on the Canadian wilderness, and a fantasyland of her own imaginings: Blue Castle, where everything is beautiful and goes according to her wishes.One day, Valancy visits a doctor about one of her "spells" and finds out that she has a fatal heart defect, and only has a year to live. She decides that she doesn't want to spend that last year miserable, and begins telling off her awful relatives and living a scandalous but thoroughly happy life that leaves her relatives reeling, and also, of course, bitterly envious of her daring and contentment.This was a really great story. Is it realistic? No. But it has an emotional depth that is somewhat lacking in the earlier Anne novels - perhaps because this book is intended for an older audience. Valancy's depression is depicted with gritty realism, and I felt utterly sorry for her in the beginning. I also liked her sarcasm and bitter wit - she's not at all like Anne; she's much more sarcastic and cynical, and her repartee with her awful relatives cracked me up. That cynicism, in many ways, reminded me of the terrible family in COLD COMFORT FARM. I think THE BLUE CASTLE is written for a much more cynical audience who, like Valancy, hasn't quite given up hope...If you're a fan of clean and older romances, you should definitely pick up THE BLUE CASTLE. It's only 99-cents right now, and the realness of it, as well as the charming and slow burn romance, were exactly what I needed to get me through this cold and chilly Sunday. Be prepared to laugh, and enjoy some of the most beautiful descriptions of nature you've ever seen. I even learned a new word: incarnadine.4.5 out of 5 stars


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