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Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery    by Melanie Fishbane order for
by Melanie Fishbane
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a YA novel about the teen years of the famed Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. Like her own protagonist, the very sensitive and imaginative Maud is raised on Prince Edward Island ('where everyone knew everyone's business') by older folk - in her case, her grandparents - after the death of her mother.

Maud dreams of going to college and becoming a writer like Louisa May Alcott, but her grandfather does not believe in spending money on a female's education. Her father, who has found a new wife, has found work out west in Saskatchewan with an auctioneering business, and she longs to see him again, but hears from him rarely. She feels unloved and powerless.

Luckily, Maud has a very supportive new teacher and a close circle of good friends, including smart Nate, stepson of the Baptist minister. A forbidden romance grows between them, but Maud is unsure of the depth of her own feelings and also is concerned to do nothing to limit her dreams.

When spite informs her grandparents of her relationship with Nate, Maud is sent west to join her father and her half sister, her stepmother being pregnant again. Though she makes new friends (Will and his sister Laura) and a romance grows with Will, life is hard there - her stepmother expects her to do a servant's work and pushes her to marry the teacher for whom she has no respect or liking.

So Maud heads back to Prince Edward Island once more. Though sad to leave Will, she is happy to be home - and this time her grandmother finds a way to take her side and shows that she cares - Maud will go to college and will 'anchor herself in story.'

If you're an Anne of Green Gables fan, then Maud is a must read - and don't miss the author's note at the end, More About Maud and Her Times that elaborates on the fact behind the fiction.

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