Reading Maud, by Melanie J. Fishbane was like coming home. It is well researched but fictionalized account of the life of Lucy Maud Montgomery, aged 15 to 17.
My mother first read me Anne of Green Gables when I was pre-adolescent. I continued on to read the whole series and other L.M. Montgomery books, especially the three Emily novels, time and time again.
For people like me Maud gives the world of Anne and Emily and the others more depth and colour. A child with a lively imagination and romantic notions, like so many of her characters, Montgomery is brought up by overly stern grandparents at a time when education for young women and becoming a writer was not acceptable. Yet she finds direction and eventually the supportive love of community.
It was a wonderful read in which Gilbert Blythe came alive as Nate and Will, Diana as Laura, Anne’s favourite teacher in Avonlea as Miss Gordon, Emily’s struggle to become a writer, as her own struggle.
For young adults who have not yet read L.M. Montgomery, Maud gives a glimpse into the times and the lack of opportunities for women. It encourages young women, who find themselves at odds with the society around them, to imagine and explore writing. And especially to persevere.
The last paragraph of the novel, Fishbane has Montgomery dreaming and planning her future writing career.
“She would write about girls who dreamed of words, art, music and love—girls who were embraced by their communities and families, even if they were considered queer (a.k.a. odd). She would create stories that came from the dark corners of her soul, giving voice to her rainbow valleys, shining waters, and disappointed houses. She would find a home for herself within them, living in the in-between.” (p. 366)