Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Released on March 4, 2014
When a downtrodden woman reaches the age of twenty-nine with ordinary looks and not a prospect of matrimony in sight while being the butt of sly family jokes, she is given one year to live. Valency has never actually lived so she determines to do so with humorous, heartwarming results. It has been an age since I read any of LM Montgomery’s works and it was enchanting to return to her writing for a buddy read of The Blue Castle.
Valency Stirling is twenty-nine and still living tightly under her mother’s thumb- and the rest of the Stirlings for that matter. All joy has been pushed out of her life for dreary stark living, following strict social etiquette, following all the whims and dictates of her mother and her mother’s cousin, and looking like a dowd is all part of it. It doesn’t help that her cousin Olive, a mere year younger, is everything that Valency isn’t from beauty, to social grace, to parents who lavish her with anything she wishes. Valency would have succumbed long ago under such depressing misery, but she had her imaginary blue castle to escape to in her imagination and a little of that helps her see more than she thinks about those around her though she would be petrified to express this.
Then comes the visit to the doctor because she has been experiencing pain in her chest and shortness of breath. She is given a year. Suddenly, Valency is no longer afraid and she chucks her mouse-like demeanor and starts speaking her mind and stating her preferences while still doing her duty. She determines to help an old school chum who has become a social pariah and she makes friends and more with people that leave her Stirling relations in a flutter. But more than that, Valency comes to life and no longer needs her imaginary blue castle. But it will all come to an end, she thinks.
The Blue Castles starts out telling of a dreary, drab life that sounds pitiful and sad, but then opens up into a beautiful, colorful zesty life that I was definitely envying. Valency finds color, stars, fresh air, woodsy and lakeside delights, and love with a quirky man who she knows feels mere affection. It is a gentle story full of humor and heartwarming moments. Naturally there are some surprises by the end that left me grinning and so happy for Valency.
I think this is one of my favorite LM Montgomery stories and stacks up well next to the Anne of Green Gables world. It’s lighter as far as the writing and is a quicker read, but all the natural world, engaging cast of characters and a genuine, sweet heroine are sparkling and I can definitely recommend it to those who want to get lost in a nostalgic world of the past.
Mt. TBR #3
COYER Seasons #1 buddy read
Romance BINGO #3 woman in red dress on cover
Library Love #1
About the Book
Valancy Stirling is 29 and has never been in love. She’s spent her entire life on a quiet little street in an ugly little house and never dared to contradict her domineering mother and her unforgiving aunt. But one day she receives a shocking, life-altering letter—and decides then and there that everything needs to change. For the first time in her life, she does exactly what she wants to and says exactly what she feels.
At first her family thinks she’s gone around the bend. But soon Valancy discovers more surprises and adventure than she ever thought possible. She also finds her one true love and the real-life version of the Blue Castle that she was sure only existed in her dreams…
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