I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery
Author: Melanie J. Fishbane
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Summary (from Goodreads): For the first time ever, a young adult novel about the teen years of L.M. Montgomery, the author who brought us ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.
Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman’s place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister’s stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren’t a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn’t sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important.
But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother’s plans for her, which threaten Maud’s future — and her happiness forever.
If you are a fan of anything related to Anne of Green Gables, this book is going to take you right back to Lover’s Lane and beyond. Fishbane has created an historical fiction that tells a story of what L.M. Montgomery’s life may have been like and has written it in the style of the infamous Anne books. There are also some interesting aspects to this novel that explore the treatment of the Métis and the last section of the book that describes the extensive research conducted by the author to piece the whole story together.
What is most intriguing about this story is the style in which Fishbane has written it. The whole aura of the narrative is old fashioned and really seems to mimic the way all of those Anne stories feel. There are many heartfelt narratives as well as gorgeous descriptions of the scenery and natural landscape of P.E.I. all the way to Saskatchewan. Also, the humour that is peppered throughout the book gives the reader a sense of how Montgomery was able to laugh even when she faced adversity.
The inclusion of a diverse character, Edie, and the observations that Maud makes about the way the Métis people of Western Canada were treated during her lifetime was a very interesting component of the story. Maud often talks to her friend, Edie, about her struggles and asks her questions about her people. It really gives the reader a mini history lesson, as Maud learns some of the obstacles and harsh treatment of the Canadian Aboriginal people.
Towards the end of the novel, Fishbane gives the reader information on how she conducted her research to write the book and it is quite impressive. There is an extensive reference list that includes various works, people, and places. Fishbane also indicates that this novel is not intended to be a biography, but an historical fiction that is based on L.M. Montgomery’s life and times. The inclusion of information about the time period Maud lived in and what became of her real life friends and family was something I found very insightful.
I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves the nostalgia of Anne of Green Gables and historical fiction. The writing is reminiscent of L.M. Montgomery and the addition of a diverse character as well as the research information orchestrated by Fishbane makes this one book that is not to be missed.