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In Anne of Green Gables, it was delicious to see Anne Shirley grow up from a slight, bright-eyed orphan of eleven to a young woman fresh out of high school. Perhaps it was also sad, to think that all her girlish fancies and adventures were done. But they weren’t. As this second book in L. M. Montgomery’s classic series shows, the discoveries and delights, missteps and yearnings of a certain vivacious redhead from Prince Edward Island, Canada, have merely entered a new and more advanced phase.
After achieving high honors in secondary school, Anne has a dream – and even a scholarship – to go to college. But those plans are put on hold when her adoptive guardian, Marilla Cuthbert, begins to lose her eyesight. Anne trades in her college plans for a position as teacher in the local school, so she can stay on at Green Gables and help Marilla. This help becomes all the more valuable when two more orphans come into their lives: the sweet-natured Dora Keith, who hardly needs them; and the charming little devil Davy, her twin brother, who promises to keep both women on their toes every hour of every day.
Anne’s term as teacher at the Avonlea school is full of challenges. She wants to nurture the genius of a sensitive little boy. She wants to win the love and respect of a tough little rebel. She struggles to help Davy be good. She keeps one finger on the pulse of nature in the country idyll that surrounds Green Gables, while simultaneously keeping another finger in the pie of a community improvement society led by her old schoolmates. She unwittingly plays matchmaker to an estranged married couple, and to a lonely spinster and her long-ago suitor who is now a widower. She observes her childhood friends growing up and away, not without a sense of loss. And she begins to harbor ambitions to become a published writer.
Still on the backburner is a lifelong romance with Gilbert Blythe, a more-than-friendship that Anne will not admit to herself. Still in the rosy future lies the fulfillment of Anne’s hopes and dreams: of true love, of a college career, and many other things. To find out how these hopes and dreams turn out, after the incident-filled interlude depicted in this book, look to the third installment: Anne of the Island