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Montgomery Review 4: Magic for Marigold

Cover art for Magic for Marigold, published by McClelland and Stewart (Canada) and Frederick A. Stokes (USA).

“It would be too bad if anyone should think of this as a children’s book and so miss it, for while it is that, it is much more. It has character analysis, accurate genetic psychology, poetic quality, and a style. Also it makes you laugh, makes you cry; the spirit of it is contagious.” —Mary Hinkley, Chicago Evening Post

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  1. Marion Abbott

    I love this comment, in that I think it sums up a great portion of Maud’s writing – at first glance, it may seem as though she’s writing for children/young adults; but in fact her writing is so rich, readers of all ages can glean so much from every title.

    • Benjamin Lefebvre

      Actually, Marion, up until the publication of The Blue Castle, most reviewers saw Montgomery’s work as being targeted for adults, but that they were so good as adult fiction that young people would like them too. It was only starting in the mid-1920s that the subtle shift from adult-fiction-that-children-can-enjoy-too to children’s-fiction-that-adults-can-enjoy-too started to happen. Of course, what hasn’t changed is that readers of all ages continue to read these books, but when I see copies of Montgomery’s books under “9–12 Classics” in the bookstore I think of the missed opportunity to reach a broader audience.

      • Marion Abbott

        Wow! I did not know that Benjamin! Thanks for teaching me! I love that her books mean ‘truth’ to younger readers and ‘memories both hilarious and heartbreaking’ to older readers … I include myself in that grouping of course.

  2. Deb Quaile

    I picked up a copy of Magic for Marigold for $5 about 35 years ago. Not a perfect cover, but I was delighted to get a first edition.

    • Benjamin Lefebvre

      I found a copy of this one in Detroit, I think—in excellent condition, except for a library pocket glued to the inside back cover. There’s something about this cover art that I like, even though I would like it even more if it depicted Marigold being more active. She was certainly introverted, but she was more a doer than a thinker, compared to Emily and Jane.

  3. Benjamin Lefebvre

    I read it again not too long ago. It’s not my favourite Montgomery title, but the opening chapters when Marigold is a baby are just classic Montgomery, and the scene with Old Grandmother is particularly touching.

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