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The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

The Blue Castle (1926)

by L. M. Montgomery

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,280934,606 (4.28)219
In early 1920s Canada, drastic circumstances give Valancy, a twenty-nine-year-old unmarried woman resigned to being an "old maid," the courage to defy her controlling family and escape to a life of her own choosing.
  1. 80
    Persuasion by Jane Austen (allisongryski)
    allisongryski: This is by no means an obvious recommendation. However, the quality of writing and something of the heroines' characters is similar. The heroines of these two books are both under-appreciated members of their families, who are thought beyond any chance of marriage. They are both forced by circumstance to find courage that they didn't know they possessed and they are rewarded with eventual happiness.… (more)
  2. 40
    The Young Clementina by D. E. Stevenson (emanate28)
    emanate28: A bit of a fairy tale, it deals with a young woman who is resigned to being alone...but finds her life's not over yet!
  3. 20
    The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough (MDGentleReader)
    MDGentleReader: Until I reread them both, I actually confused these two stories. I think that if you enjoy one, you'll enjoy the other.
  4. 20
    A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer (SockMonkeyGirl)
  5. 10
    Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson (humouress)
    humouress: 'Blue Castle' and 'Journey to the River Sea' have the same sense of wonderment and discovery at exploring the wilderness around the protagonist in the company of someone else who has made an effort to live in harmony with nature.
  6. 21
    The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (infiniteletters)
  7. 00
    Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson (wisemetis)
    wisemetis: Main characters are both overlooked and underappreciated/taken for granted.
  8. 00
    Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (SunnySD)
  9. 00
    Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer (moonsoar)
    moonsoar: Both heroes are charming rakes.

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» See also 219 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
If you like your saccharine sweet, by all means indulge in the over the top romantic indulgence of the repressed mouse throwing over the traces and somehow having all the right opportunities. ( )
  quondame | May 5, 2020 |
Valancy is a 29yo spinster that is treated as a non-entity by her numerous and unbearable family members. She has a sweet temper and, to avoid conflicts, she accepts being stepped all over and lives a routine of emptiness and dread. Her only refuges are the Blue Castle, a place in her imagination where she is queen, and the books of John Foster.
A letter changes the course of her life and, facing the inevitable, she frees herself and reaches for the things she wants, including the love of the most infamous man of the neighborhood: Barney Snaith.
The main merit of the story, in my point of view, is the fun portrait of her various family members (impossible not to recognize at least one of them into one's own family).
Apart from Valancy's family, Roaring Abel is a character one cannot help but like in spite of his many faults, and Barney is the sweet but distant man all girls have fallen in love with at least once in their lives. The fact that he is a connoisseur of nature and takes Valancy into endless moonlit boat rides just put the cherry on the cake.
Great read!

( )
  LuReviewsBooks | Mar 19, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was not the first time I've read The Blue Castle, and it won't be the last. Luckily, it had been long enough between reads that while I know the overall story, many of the details were fresh this time.

Valency Stirling, 29 and an old maid in early 20th century Ontario, is stuck in her families perception of her and is just gentile enough to have no options. No husband, no job, no purpose in life. She puts up with everything until the day she gets a dire health prognosis and vows to live while she can. She lives her life as she chooses hanging around local undesirables like Roaring Abel and Barney Snaith, well, undesirable according to her clannish clan.

With typical Montgomery style, coincidences happen, nature is adored, and there are happy endings. It is why I love LM Montgomey and what I look for in her books. Somewhere along the way I lost my copy of The Blue Castle so I was thrilled to win this Early Reviewer copy, with the most beautiful cover by illustrator Elly MacKay is one I'll happily hang on to and read again.

Many fans of LM Montgomery claim The Blue Castle as their favourite, and it does not disappoint. ( )
  raidergirl3 | Nov 26, 2019 |
A favorite I read over and over again! Sometimes you just need to revel in L. M. Montgomery's lovely descriptions of Canada. And Valancy is not a "proper young lady." :-) ( )
  Zaiga | Sep 23, 2019 |
Back to the Classics Reading Challenge 2017
Category: Romance Classic

L. M. Montgomery wrote mostly children's books, but this book is geared toward adults. It is a hidden gem; a light read, but one with substance. The plotline of the movie, Last Holiday is very similar to this. Valancy Stirling lives with her mother and cousin, who are highly dysfunctional. Her extended family is just as dysfunctional, and they all live in the same town in Canada during the 1920's. At 30, she has been relegated to the status of "old maid". She is told by the Doctor that she has a year to live, tops. Upon hearing this news, she feels free to live and speak as she wants, which shocks her family. She moves out, and eventually, gets married. I won't give the rest away. The beginning of the book was a bit tedious, but it picks up after that. I actually laughed out loud several times! ( )
  DominiqueMarie | Sep 22, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
L. M. Montgomeryprimary authorall editionscalculated
Salonen, A. J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stahl, Ben F.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If it had not rained on a certain May morning Valancy Stirling's whole life would have been entirely different. She would have gone with the rest of her clan to Aunt wellington'd engagement picnic and Dr. Trent would have gone to Montreal. But it did rain and you shall hear what happened to her because of it.
...fringed by aspens that were always quivering with some supernal joy.
Love! What a searing, torturing, intolerably sweet thing it was - the possession of body, soul and mind! With something at its core as fine and remote and purely spiritual as the tiny blue spark in the heart of an unbreakable diamond.
The new moons always looked down through it (the oriel window), the lower pine boughs swayed about the top of it, and all through the nights the soft, dim silver of the lake dreamed through it.
In a corner a nice, tall, lazy old clock ticked - the right kind of a clock. One that did not hurry the hours awaybut ticked them off deliberately. It was the jolliest looking old clock. A fat, corpulent clock with a great, round man's face painted on it, the hands stretching out of its nose and the hours encircling it like a halo.
...they ate out on the verandah that almost overhung the lake... Supper was the meal that Valency loved best. The faint laughter of winds was always about them and the colours of Mistawis, imperial and spiritual, under the changing clouds, were something that cannot be expressed in mere words. Shadows, too. Clustering in the pines until a wind shook them out and pursued them over Mistawis. They lay all day along the shores, threaded by ferns and wild blossoms. they stole around the headlands in the glow of the sunset, until twilight wove them all into one great web of dusk.
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Book description
From the back cover: At twenty-nine Valancy had never been in love, and it seemed romance had passed her by. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she found her only consolations in the "forbidden" books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle. Then a letter arrived from Dr. Trent -- and Valancy decided to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valancy did and said exactly what she wanted. Soon she discovered a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.

Available online at Project Gutenberg Australia:
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An edition of this book was published by Dundurn.

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