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A Tangled Web by L. M. Montgomery

A Tangled Web (1931)

by L. M. Montgomery

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I don't think L. M. Montgomery could have been very happy during the writing of A Tangled Web. It seems every other character has a secret, passionate love for someone other than his or her spouse for the entirety of their marriage. The few "good" characters we're supposed to sympathize with are a bit flat. In fact, the whole story is a bit flat, revolving as it does around the bequest of a treasured family heirloom and the family politics and jockeyings that accompany such an event. And when the last couple sentences of the book include what is today a highly charged racial slur, the vague sour taste of the whole story is reinforced with a vengeance. ( )
  atimco | Jun 3, 2018 |
I loved this book. At times I was feeling like reading "Mrs Dalloway". The emotions were beautifully described. The only thing I did not like was the "happy ever after" ending but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. ( )
  MichalSzost | Feb 25, 2018 |
I like L.M. Montgomery's charming tales of Prince Edward Island as much as anybody, I suppose, and that's coming from someone who has read a lot of her works.

However, A Tangled Web is not only dragging out the opening scene to almost the first quarter of the book, but the cast is too large and unwieldy to handle without creating score cards, especially considering most belong to one of two clans: the Darks, and the Penhallows.

This might wind up being a good read, but life is too short for me to continue reading it.
  fuzzi | Jun 17, 2017 |
Genteel, Canadian-spinsterly version of a potboiler, with some surprisingly lovely descriptions of the sky. ( )
  amelish | Sep 12, 2013 |
One of the few L.M. Montgomery titles that I did not read in my childhood, A Tangled Web was a double treat, in that it contained so many well-loved Montgomery "types," but was also wholly new to me. The simultaneous feeling of friendly familiarity and excited discovery that I experienced while reading it made it the ideal book in which to lose myself for a few wonderful hours.

Chronicling one year in the life of the interrelated Dark and Penhallow clans, whose many scandals, quarrels, and love affairs are brought to the fore when family matriarch Aunt Becky refuses to disclose who is to inherit the old Dark jug (a much-coveted heirloom), A Tangled Web offers a rich tapestry of stories, each entertaining in its own right, and all woven together in a moving portrait of extended family life on Canada's Prince Edward Island.

Here the reader will encounter the beautiful Gay Penhallow, merry and young, who is convinced that her love for her fiancé Noel Gibson will last forever - until he is stolen away by her femme-fatale cousin Nan. Here are Peter Penhallow and Donna Dark, who have hated each other all their lives because of their fathers' quarrel, until a chance meeting causes them to fall instantly and violently in love. Here too are Joscelyn and Hugh Dark, inexplicably separated on their wedding night; Little Sam Dark and Big Sam Dark, two bachelors who part ways over religious principle and a naked statue; lonely little Brian Dark, who longs for a mother; and wistful, poetic Margaret Penhallow, who longs for a child... All these quandaries, and more besides, are happily resolved by the end, as Montgomery brings her many story-lines together in a satisfying and very appropriate ending. Naturally, the Dark jug goes to the right person!

That said, although I am a devoted fan of Montgomery's work, and enjoyed A Tangled Web, I think the contemporary reader will be quite uncomfortable, as I was, with two glaring instances of racism in the book. The first was Little Sam's "harmless hobby" of collecting skulls from the local Indian burial ground and posting them on his fence, and the second was the unfortunate use of the word "n*gger" at the very close of the story. It's possible that Montgomery was simply trying to convey the "courseness" of the characters involved, and I'm sure an argument could be made that this is how people "back then" thought and spoke. I wouldn't say that the inclusion of these two elements ruined the novel for me, but they certainly inserted a most unwelcome and ugly tone in an otherwise pleasant book. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | May 27, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
L. M. Montgomeryprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stahl, Ben F.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my good friends Mr and Mrs Fred W. Wright in memory of a certain week of laughter
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A dozen stories have been told about the old Dark jug.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Available online at Project Gutenberg Australia:
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0770422454, Mass Market Paperback)

Over the years sixty members of the Dark family and sixty Penhallows have married one another--but not without their share of fighting and feuding. Now Aunt Becky, the eccentric old matriarch of the clan, has bequeathed her prized possession: a legendary heirloom jug. But the name of the jug's new owner will not be revealed for one year. In the next twelve months beautiful Gay Penhallow's handsome fiance Noel Gibson leaves her for sly and seductive Nan Penhallow; reckless Peter Penhallow and lovely Donna Dark, who have hated each other since childhood, are inexplicably brought together by the jug; Hugh and Joscelyn Dark, separated on their wedding night ten years ago for reasons never revealed, find a second chance--all watched over by the mysterious Moon Man, who has the gift of second sight. Then comes the night when Aunt Becky's wishes will be revealed...and the family is in for the biggest surprise of all.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:45 -0400)

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While a year passes waiting for Aunt Becky to name the heir of a legendary heirloom jug, a number of changes occur among the members of the clan made up of members of both the Dark family and the Penhallows.

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An edition of this book was published by Dundurn.

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