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Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

Jane of Lantern Hill (original 1937; edition 1977)

by L.M. Montgomery

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8571410,427 (3.94)35
Title:Jane of Lantern Hill
Authors:L.M. Montgomery
Info:McClelland & Stewart (1977), Hardcover, 297 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:children's literature, childrens classic, PEI, Canada

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Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery (1937)



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Jane Stuart, or Victoria as she is called, lives with her mother and grandmother in an old mansion in an old part of Toronto. Though her mother loves her the same can't be said for Grandmother who has a hate-on for Jane. Grandmother has no room in her heart for anyone other than her daughter; she keeps tight rein on her. Jane and her mother walk on eggshells in fear of Grandmother's wrath.

Quite by accident, Jane learns that her father is alive and living on Prince Edward Island. When he sends for her, Jane is devastated. She can't imagine being away from her mother and living with a stranger for a whole summer, even though she'll be away from Grandmother. Jane is surprised to find that her father is a warmhearted man with a big imagination. They buy a house in Lantern Hill and Jane set about making their house a home, the home she always imagined she would have. Jane makes friends with the neighbours and gains a reputation for being able to do anything. When she returns to Toronto, Grandmother learns that Jane is a force to be reckoned with and things will never be the same again.

What an excellent little book Jane of Lantern Hill is! In a way, it reminded me of The Secret Garden. A precocious little girl moves away from the place she has always lived, meets new people and tries new things becoming a better person by the end of the book. The difference is Jane is lovable right from the beginning. She has loyalty to her mother even though the woman is completely spineless. Jane becomes so wise and strong, much wiser than the adults. And that Grandmother...yikes! Icy cold nasty lady. I kept imagining the step-mother in Cinderella.

The differences between her life in Toronto and Prince Edward Island are so completely opposed that I wondered if this was a comment on Montgomery's own life. At the time this was written, Lucy Maude was near the end of her life. She had been married to a minister with mental problems not to mention her own depression. The weight of keeping up appearances must have been smothering, much like Jane's life with Grandmother. She must have had fond memories of herself as a young woman in PEI. Jane is set free to be herself on the island. The island is as much a character as Jane is.

Although Montgomery's writing is prone to unbelievable coincidences and unlikely situations, it's full of quirky characters and sparks of insight that even adults can appreciate like the following:

Jane, the most awful as well as the most beautiful things in the world can be said in three words or less… I love you…he is gone…he is come…she is dead…too late…and life is illumined or ruined.

Though Montgomery is known for Anne Shirley and her adventures, I hope readers will give Jane Stuart a chance.

Highly recommended though difficult to get if you don't live in Canada. ( )
  Chrisbookarama | Sep 23, 2013 |
There are those who feel that L.M. Montgomery, author of such beloved classics as Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon, is too old-fashioned an author to appeal to today's young readers. I myself have always believed that while her work may belong, stylistically speaking, to the genre of sentimental girls' fiction so popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it is - emotionally and thematically - as relevant today as it ever was. The search for home and family, the struggle for a sense of belonging, is something that contemporary readers will recognize, though they have never set eyes on Prince Edward Island.

While not one of Montgomery's most popular or well-known novels, Jane of Lantern Hill nevertheless addresses itself to a topic familiar to most children today: the trauma and stress caused by the separation of parents. It is the story of Jane Victoria Stuart, an unhappy young girl who lives with her overbearing and malicious grandmother, and kind but ineffectual mother in Toronto, who goes to spend the summer with her estranged father on Prince Edward Island. Here, at magical Lantern Hill, Jane is finally free to be herself, whether that involves cooking and keeping house, or playing freely with the neighbor children.

Reread this past March for the Kindred Spirits group to which I belong, Jane of Lantern Hill is an engaging story with an appealing heroine. Although I cannot say that it is one of my favorite Montgomery stories, or that it has the emotional power of titles like Anne of Green Gables or The Blue Castle, it is still an enjoyable little book, well worth the time of any reader with a taste for sentimental fiction. L.M. Montgomery fans, in particular, will want to track this one down... ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | May 27, 2013 |
For most of her childhood, Jane Victoria Stuart believed that her father was dead. When she is eleven years old, she learns otherwise. For as long as she can remember, Jane has lived in Toronto with her lovely socialite mother and cold, repressive grandmother. Jane knows that her grandmother dislikes her, particularly the parts of her that seemed inherited from her father's side of the family. Jane, who has no memory of her father, hates him, too, because the memory of him seems to cause her beloved mother so much pain. Then, out of the blue, a letter arrives, demanding that Jane spend the summer with her father in Prince Edward Island. That summer is to change Jane's life forever.

On Prince Edward Island, Jane learns what it is to have friends, to be competent at something, and to be loved without the fear and restrictions that characterize her life in Toronto. Jane's dad welcomes her with open arms and an open heart. Together, they choose a little cottage on Lantern Hill to be their summer abode, and Jane delights in every aspect of housekeeping. She befriends all of the neighborhood children and learns new skills every delightful day, from cooking to gardening to swimming in the Gulf. She goes home a confident, independent young woman instead of the cowed child she has always been . . . and she can't help but wonder: what did go wrong with her parents' marriage all those years ago?

This is one of Montgomery's lesser-known works, but it remains one of my favorites. I love Jane's capable, down-to-earth nature, and I remember relishing her domestic conquests back when I first read the book at the age of nine or ten. And, though Jane is a child throughout the book (unlike many Montgomery titles, this spans only a couple of years, rather than the protagonist's entire girlhood), there are a lot of adult issues and concerns, not all of which are pleasantly resolved by the end of the book. It's a wonderfully complex story, and fans of Montgomery's other works should definitely seek it out. ( )
1 vote foggidawn | Jun 22, 2012 |
Jane of Lantern Hill is what one comes to expect from a novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery - charming, gentle and most decidedly hopeful. Written for a younger audience, Ms. Montgomery's Jane is spunky and delightful. While she faces and overcomes tyrannical adults, Jane teaches young audiences what it means to grow up, care for others and remaining true to one's self.

Ms. Montgomery's novels have familiar elements in them, and Jane of Lantern Hill stays true to form. She waxes poetic on nature and Prince Edward Island. The magic of a loving home is distinct, as are heroines who strike out on their own paths and succeed to charm all those around them who matter. In addition, Ms. Montgomery avoids patronizing the child audience she sets out to captivate while simultaneously creating a story that can be enjoyed by adults. In Ms. Montgomery's world, children are just as good, if not better, than the adults in the story because they have a purity and innocence that most of the adults do not possess. This lends hope to the targeted audience while providing a gentle reminder to the adult readers. Neither message taints the overall charm of the story.

Given this disparity between adults and children in most of Ms. Montgomery's novels, one cannot help but compare her stories to her own battle with depression. Does Grandmother represent the depression that clouds her life, while Jane represent her own struggles to break free? Is her message of hope that is a consistent theme in her novels one written as a reminder to herself to avoid succumbing to despair? One may never know, but this background knowledge does lend a new, insightful peek inside each of Ms. Montgomery's characters.

Jane of Lantern Hill is simply a lovely story about a young lady who blossoms through love. In taking care of her loved ones, she is able to overcome the tyrannical figures in her life and find the happily ever after in which she never gave herself permission to believe. Fans of Ms. Montgomery's works will find Jane just as reliable, just as fun and just as endearing as Anne. With characters like Jane, it is no wonder Ms. Montgomery remains one of childhood's most beloved authors.
  jmchshannon | Jan 7, 2011 |
Jane of Lantern Hill is one of my old favourites. It’s fairly typical Montgomery, with similarities to the Anne and Emily books in themes and style, but with its own story and a different cast of characters. Jane lives rather unhappily with her mother and grandmother in mainland Canada until one day out of the blue her father asks for her to visit him on Prince Edward Island. At first she doesn’t want to leave her mother, but she finds a lot to love about the Island, the people she meets there, and the freedom she finds. ( )
  Sorrel | Oct 6, 2010 |
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L. M. Montgomeryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gumster, J.D.A. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the memory of "LUCKY" the charming affectionate comrade of fourteen years
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Gay Street, so Jane always throught, did not live up to its name. It was, she felt certain, the most melancholy street in Toronto...though, to be sure, she had not seen a great many of the Toronto streets in her circumscribed comings and goings of eleven years.
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For as long as she could remember, Jane Stuart and her mother lived with her grandmother in a dreary mansion in Toronto. Jane always believed her father was dead--until she accidentally learned he was alive and well and living on Prince Edward Island. When Jane spends the summer at his cottage on Lantern Hill, doing all the wonderful things Grandmother deems unladylike, she dares to dream that there could be such a house back in Toronto...a house where she, Mother, and Father could live together without Grandmother directing their lives--a house that could be called home.
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A young girl living with her mother and tyrannical grandmother in Toronto learns that her father is still alive on Prince Edward Island.

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