Rainbow Valley (Anne of Green Gables #7), by L. M. Montgomery
Publish Date: 1919 (audiobook recorded in April 2016)
Published by: Librivox.org
Narrated by: Karen Savage
Pages: 256 (approx. 7 1/2 hours)
Genre: MG Fiction/Classics
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)
Anne Shirley is grown up, has married her beloved Gilbert and now is the mother of six mischievous children.
These boys and girls discover a special place all their own, but they never dream of what will happen when the strangest family moves into an old nearby mansion. The Meredith clan is two boys and two girls, with minister father but no mother — and a runaway girl named Mary Vance. Soon the Meredith kids join Anne’s children in their private hideout to carry out their plans to save Mary from the orphanage, to help the lonely minister find happiness, and to keep a pet rooster from the soup pot. There’s always an adventure brewing in the sun-dappled world of Rainbow Valley.
I think this book in the series was okay, but definitely not as enchanting as the first few. The story drifted far away from Anne and her family and focused mostly on the Merediths instead, and while they had some interesting events to deal with and good character arcs (as opposed to Anne’s own children in the last book), it was also only somewhat captivating of a story.
The characters who were introduced in this book were all either decent or annoying. I could not stand Mary Vance and her tell-all attitude (while making it seem like she wasn’t wrong for telling the Meredith children these awful things) and how, despite having grown up with so little, she is still the most arrogant thing ever. Una was annoying as well, being very gullible and taking forever (literally the last few chapters of the book) to make any progress in her character development. I actually didn’t mind Faith too much – she was reminded me a bit more of Anne than anyone else, with her constant scrapes and attempts to fix them. And John Meredith, the absent-minded minister, while clearly loved his children, got on my nerves with his inability to raise and take care of them. I get being bookish and getting lost in your own thoughts, but as a father of four with no wife, his thoughts about how poorly his children were only ever met with the consideration of marrying someone else to bring them up for him. I know that this was a “different time” and all, but you, sir, are quite capable of getting your head out of the clouds and making sure your children have a decent meal on the table. And considering he is a minister, it isn’t like he is at a loss for time. But, you know, men couldn’t do that sort of thing back then, only women.
The other thing that annoyed me was the Rosemary West plotline. I was downright angry about Ellen holding her to her promise about never marrying anyone, and then a year later turning around and wanting to get married herself. Sure, it worked to make some conflict for the plot, but I just got so angry at the whole situation because no real sister would ever do that.
Overall, it was an okay book to listen to, it didn’t annoy me as much as the last one, since things didn’t feel quite as repetitive, but it was also very much focused away from Anne and the Blythes and was chock full of new characters that I couldn’t stand in some way. But, again, the character arcs were better and actually showed growth over the course of the novel.
Beat the Backlist 2018 | Books Completed Toward Goal: 21/20