Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert live on idyllic Prince Edward Island. They want a boy to help Mathew on the farm but end up with 11-year old Anne instead. Anne has red hair, a big heart and a wonderful imagination that gets her into trouble more often than not. She loves Avonlea, loves Marilla and Mathew and is enraptured by all the natural beauty around her. She gets into all kinds of scrapes, makes a bosom friend (Diana) and one enemy (Gilbert), breaks her ankle, is rescued (by Gilbert) and allows her imagination to run riot. She also comes top of her class and wins a scholarship to University but gives it up to look after ailing Marilla and teach at the local school. She also makes up with the once-hated and now admired Gilbert by the end. In short, she grows up.
I loved it but I also found it a touch sentimental. Anne as the darling orphan was a wonderful character but I wanted more depth. Margaret Atwood says that without Marilla, Anne is a bit two-dimensional and that Marilla and Anne together make the story. It’s also interesting to see the parallels in Lucy Maud Montgonmery’s own life.