Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Marilla of Green Gables - Historical Fiction Review

About Marilla of Green Gables

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (October 23, 2018)

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.

My Thoughts:  I've been a huge fan of Anne ever since I discovered her at the age of 10.  I can't even count the number of times I've read the series from start to finish.  I was a little nervous when I saw this.  I wanted to know more about Marilla who is one of my favorite characters but at the same time I haven't loved some of the adaptations (I will spare you the pages long discussion of Netflix's Anne with an E.  Let me just say while I think they got a lot of things right there are a lot of things I'm not pleased with.).  I'm so glad I took the risk because I so enjoyed it!  The author has clearly done her time in the world of Green Gables and she got the feel of the place perfectly right.  As well there are so many glorious Easter eggs scattered about for lovers of the original series that I found an absolute delight.  I loved seeing Marilla, Matthew, and Rachel in their youth and while they are definitely different they are still completely recognizable as the original beloved characters.  I could go on and on about all the things I thoroughly enjoyed seeing but I think you get the picture.  If you're a fan of the original Anne I don't think you'll be disappointed here.  If you've never spent time in Avonlea this book not only will work as a standalone but I suspect will have you wanting to see what happens next.  My only problem was all the current events that took up page time.  While I did like the historical context and seeing what was happening in Canada during the American Civil War I really would have preferred to spend more time at Green Gables.  This book is a wonderful historical fiction on it's own and a treat for devoted Anne fans! Rating:  Very Good!


Purchase Links

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About Sarah McCoy

Sarah McCoy is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the novels The Mapmaker’s Children; The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award nominee; and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico. She has taught English and writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She lives with her husband, an orthopedic sports surgeon, and their dog, Gilbert, in North Carolina. Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page, on Instagram at @sarahmmccoy, or via her website,


  1. Oh, yes! I was wondering about this book. I am going to keep checking for it on Hoopla. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 📚

  2. I've never read the book but I just binge watched Anne With An E. Now I want to read the books.

  3. Happy to hear you really liked this one, I am in line for it at the library and look forward to it even more now.

  4. I haven't read any of the Anne of Green Gables books and so have no real reference for this one to those, but I do hope to read them eventually--and this just sounds good. Plus, Sarah McCoy! I love her books.

  5. Oh, I loved Anne of Green Gables. Will look for this one!

  6. I've always wondered about Marilla!
    Thanks for being on the tour!

  7. I had mixed feelings, especially about the contemporary history - which I found interesting but am not convinced Marilla would have become so emotionally involved in.