Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lucy Maud Montgomery, creator of Anne--with an E

Several decades ago, I lived next door to my sister, and once a week, I'd eagerly rush over to her house to watch the latest episode of Anne of Green Gables. Who didn't love Anne--with an E--her bright red hair, constant chattiness, and lively personality? Now years later, I've watched the whole Green Gables series and Anne of Avonlea several times and read many of the Anne books. I've recently bought my granddaughter her first Anne book. But we wouldn't have Anne without Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Lucy Maud Montgomery's Birthplace

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Clifton(now New London) in Prince Edward Island, Canada, on November 30, 1874. Her mother died of tuberculosis when Lucy was just 21 months her. Her grief-stricken father gave custody of Lucy to her maternal grandparents who lived in Cavendish and raised her in a strict and unforgiving manner. Much of Lucy’s childhood was spent alone. During this time, she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness.

Lucy, Age 10

Lucy stayed in Cavendish with her grandparents, completing her early education there, with the exception of one year. After father remarried, she moved to Prince Albert to live with him and her stepmother. While there, her poem On Cape LeForce, was published in a Charlottetown newspaper. Lucy did get along with her stepmother, and she returned to Cavendish, where she completed her grade school education. In 1893, she began attending college Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, where she completed the two-year program in just one, obtaining her teaching license. In 1895 and 1896, she studied literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

After college, Lucy worked as a teacher in several Prince Edward Island schools. She discovered she didn’t enjoy teaching, but it did give her time to write. Starting in 1897, she began to have her short stories published in magazines and newspapers. Montgomery was prolific and had over 100 stories published over the next ten years.

In the 1890s, Lucy, being slim and pretty, was sought after by numerous men. She eventually received several marriage proposals, but she declined each time. In 1898, Montgomery moved back to Cavendish to live with her widowed grandmother. While there, she worked nine months in Halifax as a substitute proofreader for the newspapers Morning Chronicle and The Daily Echo. It was during this time that Lucy was inspired to write her first books. Until her grandmother's death in March 1911, Lucy stayed in Cavendish to take care of her. She received considerable income from her publications, but she was aware that “marriage was a necessary choice for women in Canada.”

Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery’s first book, was published 
in 1908 and was an immediate success, instantly establishing Lucy’s career. She continued to write and publish material (Including numerous sequels to Anne) for the rest of her life. Following her grandmother's death in 1911, she married Ewen Macdonald, a Presbyterian minister. They moved to Ontario where he’d taken the position of minister of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Leaskdale. Ewan and Lucy had three sons, although the second was stillborn. Lucy endured several periods of depression while trying to cope with the duties of motherhood, church life, and with her husband’s attacks of depression and deteriorating health. For much of her life, writing was her one great solace.

Montgomery stopped writing about Anne in 1920, writing in her journal that she had tired of the character. She desired instead to create books about other young, female characters. Other series written by Montgomery include the "Emily" and "Pat" books, which, although successful, did not reach the same level of popularity as the "Anne" books. She also wrote a number of stand-alone novels, which were also generally successful.

When her husband retired in 1935, they moved to Swansea, Ontario, buying a house which she named Journey's End. Lucy returned to writing about Anne after a 15-year hiatus, filling in previously unexplored gaps in the chronology she had developed for the character. She published Anne of Windy Poplars in 1936 and Anne of Ingleside in 1939. Jane of Lantern Hill, a non-Anne novel, was published in 1937.

Lucy died on April 24, 1942. The reason of her death has been debated. It is commonly believed she died from a coronary thrombosis, but in September, 2008, Kate Macdonald Butler, Lucy’s granddaughter, revealed that she had suffered from depression, possibly as a result of caring for her mentally ill husband for decades, and she may have taken her own life via a drug overdose.

During her lifetime, Lucy published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, an autobiography, and a book of poetry. She was named as one of The 100 Most Influential Canadians of The 20th Century. Following her wake in the Green Gables farmhouse and her funeral in the local Presbyterian church, Lucy Maud Montgomery was buried at the Cavendish Community Cemeter.

It was written about her: “For a woman who had given the world so much joy, her life was mostly an unhappy one.”

Champion bull rider Dusty Starr is at the top of his game—until a bull throws him and stomps on his leg. He goes home to heal and watch after his grandma until he can rejoin the circuit. While there are no guarantees that bull riding is in his future, his past is alive and well in the form of Gramma's beautiful physical therapist—a woman he never expected to see again.

Physical therapist Lindsey Lang once loved Dusty, but then tragedy struck because of his younger brother's recklessness, and Dusty did something she never thought he'd do. He abandoned her, leaving her to mourn alone. Being assigned to Grandma Starr is hard enough, but with Dusty there, Lindsey's sure her heart won't survive.

Against all expectations, friendship renews, and Dusty dares to hope Lindsey will forgive him. She's the only girl he's ever loved and he aims to get her back. But friendship is one thing. A second chance at love? That will take more gumption than riding a rank bull—and then some.

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Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is an award-winning author of more than 40 published books and novellas. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July 2013. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Her latest series, Land Rush Dreams, focuses on the Oklahoma land runs.

Vickie has been married forty years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one of whom is married, and a precocious nine-year-old granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: www.vickiemcdonough.com


  1. Fascinating, Vickie. I never did read all of the Anne series, but now I want to go back and read some of the missing ones. Our library didn't have all of them and that's the only place I could get books then. Thanks for telling us her story.

    1. You're welcome! Her story is mostly a sad one. I left out somethings so it wasn't too depressing. It's amazing that she lived the life she wanted to have through her characters.

  2. Very interesting, although I'm sorry to hear that Lucy's life was so sad. Maybe that's why she wrote such a good character in Anne, who was an orphan herself and needed friends.