Friday, June 08, 2007

At the Altar: A review

At the Altar
by L.M. Montgomery, edited by Rea Wilmshurst

This is a book for the unabashed romantic and the unabashed Montgomery lover. It contains nineteen short stories by Montgomery, all concerning (you guessed it!) marriage. Some stories are quite humorous; “Them Notorious Pigs,” for example. Most are more typically romantic, although all of them have the undeniable tang that Montgomery imparts to her characters. Even the most predictable stories are seldom boring.

Of course, they are predictable. In a collection focusing on love and weddings that is almost a given. There are no surprises here. Well, perhaps half a one. But if you throw all desire for a spectacular climax to the winds, sit back, and enjoy the journey, the stories are often quite rewarding. The minor characters quite often had me in stitches (Aunt Marcella in “What Aunt Marcella Would Have Called It,” Miss Susan in “By the Rule of Contrary”) and the main characters are usually sympathetic and at least semi-believable.

In my opinion, the absolute worst part of this book is the front cover, which depicts a young girl in a shirtwaist and black skirt standing in an orchard with a gentleman some years her senior behind her. I am not sure what story this is supposed to represent, but it ranks up there with the cover of The Blue Castle and the “Nibbler” cover of Persuasion. The whole thing makes the book look like a second-class romance novel. I would like to hear what L.M. Montgomery would say if she could see it.


A Dusty Frame said...

Hey, A new LMM book to read?
I haven't heard of this one before!


MaureenE said...

Lizzie, there is actually a whole series of these collections of short stories she wrote. If/when you get "At the Altar" you'll see a list of them on the front cover.

A Dusty Frame said...

Cool thanks! I'm going to see if I can find some of them.