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L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911–1942

L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valleys

L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911–1942 is a collection of essays edited and introduced by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement. It features original scholarship by Kate Macdonald Butler, Mary Beth Cavert, Lesley D. Clement, Melanie J. Fishbane, Natalie Forest, Caroline E. Jones, E. Holly Pike, Laura M. Robinson, Linda Rodenburg, Margaret Steffler, Kate Sutherland, William V. Thompson, Elizabeth Waterston, and Emily Woster, as well as an interlude by Katherine Cameron and an appendix by the volume editors with assistance from Kristina Eldridge and Chloe Verner. It was published as both a trade paperback and an unjacketed hardcover by McGill-Queen’s University Press in October 2015.

From the Back Cover

Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874–1942) and Anne of Green Gables will always be associated with Prince Edward Island, Montgomery’s childhood home and the setting of her most famous novels. Yet, after marrying Rev. Ewan Macdonald in 1911, she lived in Ontario for three decades. There she became a mother of two sons, fulfilled the duties of a minister’s wife, advocated for copyright protection and recognition of Canadian literature, wrote prolifically, and reached a global readership that has never waned.

Engaging with discussions on both her life and her fiction, L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys explores the joys, sorrows, and literature that emerged from her transformative years in Ontario. While this time brought Montgomery much pleasure and acclaim, it was also challenged and complicated by a sense of displacement and the need to self-fashion and self-dramatize as she struggled to align her private self with her public persona. Written by scholars from various fields and including a contribution by Montgomery’s granddaughter, this volume covers topics such as war, religion, women’s lives, friendships, loss, and grief, focusing on a range of related themes to explore Montgomery’s varied states of mind.

An in-depth study of one of Canada’s most internationally acclaimed authors, L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys shows how she recreated herself as an Ontario writer and adapted to the rapidly changing world of the twentieth century.


Illustrations (xi)

Acknowledgments (xiii–xiv)

Introduction / Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement (3–17)


1. Leaskdale: L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valley / Elizabeth Waterston (21–32)

A New Home in Leaskdale: War and Religion

2. “To the Memory of”: Leaskdale and Loss in the Great War / Mary Beth Cavert (35–53)

3. “Being a Christian” and a Presbyterian in Leaskdale / Margaret Steffler (54–73)

The Changing World of Women: Mother, Daughter, Friend

4. “A Gift for Friendship”: Revolutionary Friendship in Anne of the Island and The Blue Castle / Laura M. Robinson (77–90)

5. The New Mother at Home: Montgomery’s Literary Explorations of Motherhood / Caroline E. Jones (91–109)

Shadows in Rainbow Valley: Loss and Grief

6. The Shadow on the House of Dreams: Montgomery’s Re-visioning of Anne / William V. Thompson (113–30)

7. “My Pen Shall Heal, Not Hurt”: Writing as Therapy in Rilla of Ingleside and The Blythes Are Quoted / Melanie J. Fishbane (131–44)


L.M.M. / Katherine Cameron (147)

A Sense of Place: Reading and Writing

8. Old Years and Old Books: Montgomery’s Ontario Reading and Self-Fashioning / Emily Woster (151–65)

9. (Re)Locating Montgomery: Prince Edward Island Romance to Southern Ontario Gothic / Natalie Forest (166–83)

Travels to Muskoka: Commodification and Tourism

10. Propriety and the Proprietary: The Commodification of Health and Nature in The Blue Castle / E. Holly Pike (187–202)

11. Bala and The Blue Castle: The “Spirit of Muskoka” and the Tourist Gaze / Linda Rodenburg (203–20)

Life in Toronto: Professional and Cultural Links

12. Advocating for Authors and Battling Critics in Toronto: Montgomery and the Canadian Authors Association / Kate Sutherland (223–37)

13. Toronto’s Cultural Scene: Tonic or Toxin for a Sagged Soul? / Lesley D. Clement (238–60)


14. Dear Grandmother Maud on the Road to Heaven / Kate Macdonald Butler (263–72)


Montgomery’s Ontario Legacies: A Community Presence in the Twenty-First Century / Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement with the assistance of Kristina Eldridge and Chloe Verner (275–80)

Notes (281–303)

Bibliography (305–16)

Contributors (317–22)

Index (323–29)


“Coherent and well-structured, L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys breaks new ground with its singular focus on the Ontario years. It will unquestionably command the attention of an academic audience, but is also accessible to the general reader who has an interest in Montgomery or in Canadian culture.”
Joy Alexander, Queen’s University, Belfast

“With its interest in placing Montgomery’s work in new cultural and historical contexts, L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys expands our understanding of this canonical Canadian author. Although there is no disputing that PEI had an enduring impact on Montgomery’s literary sensibility, Ontario played its part too, as the essays in this collection abundantly reveal.”
Janice Fiamengo, University of Ottawa


Editors: Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement
Paratexts: Introduction by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement; Appendix by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement with assistance from Kristina Eldridge and Chloe Verner
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press (Montreal and Kingston)
Date: 2015
Format: Trade paperback, Unjacketed hardcover
Trim: 6” x 9”
Pagination: xiv + 329 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-7735-4575-5, 978-0-7735-4574-8