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The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

A spoiled personal book review

By Stephanie Van OrmanPublished about a month ago 3 min read
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Photo by Florian Weichelt on Unsplash

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery is not about a blue castle, but that's part of it's charm. It's about a woman named Valancy who hates her life so much that the only time she's happy is when she goes to bed and can dissociate about anything she likes.

For her fantasy, she imagines she's the ruler of the blue castle. When she's there, everything is the exact opposite of her real life. She's important. She's beautiful. She has so many men who want to court her. She only spends her time doing the things she loves and no one ever pushes her around and makes her feel small.

In reality, she's a spinster who lives with relatives who don't like her very much. She owns only a few pieces of clothing and she is not even allowed to choose her own hairstyle. When she has a consistant pain in her chest, she isn't even allowed to go to a doctor without consulting her family (even though she is almost 30), but she decides to go anyway.

There, she learns that she's has heart disease and she'll be dead in a year.

So, everything that once scared her abruptly stops scaring her.

She tells everyone off. She leaves home. She hangs out with disreputable people. She elopes with an ex-con. She chops off all her hair. She wears a bathing suit and she reads novels whenever she wants (it was Canada in like 1910, so she's getting really wild now).

Back to me. My friends and I like to debate about an aspect of this story.

When Valancy asks Barney to marry him, even as he's accepting (and it is super scandalous), he explains to her that he's not in love with her. He's going to marry her because of all the reasons she's given him (that she's dying, that it won't last long, she just buried her closest friend, her family sucks, she has nowhere to go, and (as an extra aside) she's in love with him). He says he's always thought she was a 'dear', but he's not in love with her.

With that bold declaration, as a 13 year old, I thought that meant that he didn't have sex with her when they were married. They slept in the same bed the whole time they were together, but I was 13 and the writing is insanely classy, so I thought he didn't. I thought he kept his pants firmly on (what a trooper...).

As I got older, the question became a point of debate with me and my friends who had also read the book. There aren't a lot of hints, except that Valancy and Barney are married and they sleep in the same bed. There aren't many described kisses (only one is popping into my mind and it is not at the wedding cerimony).

It had been a while since I read it last. I thought I pretty much had every word of the book memorized, but the last time I cracked through it, I decided that he took her up to his log cabin on their wedding night, kissed her, took her directly into the cabin, and fullfilled his husbandly duties.

Honestly, I didn't think I could like this book more, but it turns out, I can. His not being stingy in this area, even when he proclaimed quite noisily that he was not in love with her, really won my heart. When I think of it, I lift a glass of something bubbily in my heart and cheer, 'To Barney, and his determination to be a great husband to a dying girl.'

A few days after the wedding, Valancy floats into town and explains to her horrified relatives that she married the local ex-con. They all want to die simultaneously while our girl, who is actually going to die, is a joyful little daisy bouncing in the wind.

The rest of the book is so fantastic, it's the sort of thing that warms your soul like soup and makes you fly into the air like a kite. At least, that's what it does to me.

vintageliteraturebook review

About the Creator

Stephanie Van Orman

I write novels like I am part-printer, part book factory, and a little girl running away with a balloon. I'm here as an experiment and I'm unsure if this is a place where I can fit in. We'll see.

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Comments (1)

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    I loved your review and commentary of you and your friends!

Stephanie Van OrmanWritten by Stephanie Van Orman

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