Disclosure: I received an advance e-copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a review. This post may contain affiliate links. I get a small commission if you purchase an item from an affiliate.
House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg
Release date: June 12, 2018
Age range: 10-14 years
Page numbers: 352 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Illustrations by: Julie Morstad
I found this biography of L.M. Montgomery fascinating as well as heart breaking as I read about the difficult life she faced. I am a big fan of Anne of Green Gables and was very interested to learn more about how the book came to be. There was clearly a lot of thorough research done for this biography, but it still flowed very smoothly and was an engaging read.
I already knew a fair amount of the author’s early life through the novel Maud by Melanie Fishbane, which is a based on the author’s teen years (L.M. Montgomery went by Maud), but everything I knew about Maud’s life after that point has only come from internet searches.
She certainly faced a lot of difficulties and heart break. Her lack of love and acceptance in her early life clearly influenced the themes of her novels. A quote that stood out to me from the book and captured this idea is:
“Anne of Green Gables is a book about creating lasting family. It is a celebration of place, a story about belonging. No one but Maud Montgomery, with all her checkered history and heart-hungry longing, could have created it.”
Maud overcame a lot and I really admired her optimism and ability to push through things or find comfort through her imagination. Her struggles and burdens in her later life were really heart breaking as things kept piling on top of each other and she was so worn down. Both Maud and her husband struggled with mental illness and I think it’s important that it was fully described here and shown how a lack of understanding in the time period made it that much more difficult.
I felt like this biography enriched my understanding of her novels as I found out many of the inspirations or influences for characters, plots, and settings. I learned about many of the people who had a book dedicated to them and I am going to always look at those dedications and remember those important people in her life as I read or reread her books. There are some L.M. Montgomery books I haven’t read yet and I look forward to reading them with an even greater understanding of where they came from.
The biography is listed and intended as a middle grade level biography, but it does contain a lot of heavy subjects as well as discussion of passion between men and women. If I didn’t know that’s how it was listed as I probably would have thought it was an adult biography (except for the occasional illustrations). Personally I wouldn’t pass it on to an elementary school or middle school aged child, but I definitely think it’s worth reading for more mature readers.
I am glad to have read this book and to have received additional insight into a beloved author.
Other L.M. Montgomery related books: