Sunday, September 9, 2007

BOOK: Among the Shadows by Lucy Maud Montgomery

I finished my first book for the RIP II challenge, one I've been waiting to read ever since I realized there was a LM Montgomery book that fit this challenge. Of course, the surprising thing is that there is only one book of short stories that were compiled into a darker collection. Montgomery was not a happy woman, and most of her stories show her hope for happy endings. She had an unhappy marriage, and her husband suffered from episodes of melancholy, so her stories often show characters unwilling to settle for a loveless a marriage, and who would rather stay single than enter a union not up to their standards.

I think Montgomery's short stories go best in a collection like this. I don't know if many would stand alone, in a collection of stories by other authors; I find her stories somewhat blend together, but for Montgomery fans, that's perfect. The themes here are ghosts, messages from beyond, unexplained happenings, and 'bad' people, which in the early 1900s, included sins like drinking and excessive jealousy or pride, and crimes like embezzlement. Montgomery's talent for description of nature helps set the mood in many of the stories, moonless nights, friendly shadows, mysterious fir-lined brook. All in all, this book was what I expected and I enjoyed the diversions and happy, if mysterious, endings. I'm not sure I believe in ghosts, but I don't disbelieve either.