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The Blue Castle  
Early edition cover
Author L. M. Montgomery
Country Canada
Language English
Genre(s) Romance novel
Publisher McClelland and Stewart (first edition), Frederick A. Stokes (first American edition)
Publication date 1926
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 310 pp (first edition)
ISBN ISBN 0-553-28051-1 (1992 mass market paperback edition), ISBN 1-55002-666-6 (2007 trade paperback edition)
OCLC Number 19674972

The Blue Castle is a 1926 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, best known for her novel Anne of Green Gables (1908).

Plot summary

When twenty-nine-year-old Valancy Stirling is diagnosed with a terminal heart ailment, Valancy rebels and decides to move out of her mother's house into the house of Cissy Gay. Cissy had known Valancy in school. She is dying of consumption, but is ostracized from society for having a child out of wedlock, and because of her father, Roaring Abel, and his reckless, sometimes drunken behavior.

Valancy works as the housekeeper, keeping things generally tidy and cooking meals for them. Cissy confides in Valancy about the man she fell in love with. He offered to marry her when she told him she was pregnant, but she refused because she saw that he did not love her any more. Her baby compensated for her heartbreak, and when her baby died, she was devastated.

Valancy is paid a salary and spends her money in ways her family would not approve of, such as brightly colored dresses and jewelry. She also begins spending time with Barney Snaith, who comes by the place and is friends with Cissy. Cissy eventually passes away and Valancy's family expects her to move back home. They plan on ignoring her recent behavior. Valancy agrees that she is definitely not staying with Roaring Abel.

However, she does not plan on moving back home. Instead, she proposes to Barney, tells him how she is dying and just wants to spend her last year the way she wants to spend it. He agrees to marry her.

He takes her away to his home, which is on a wooded island, and together they get along very well. They celebrate Christmas and he gives her a necklace of pearl beads. She also quotes to him from books by her favorite author, John Foster, who writes about enjoying nature. These books were her escape when she lived with her mother and aunt.

Just as the year she was given to live is almost over, Valancy's shoe becomes stuck in a railroad track. A train is coming and she cannot get free. Barney manages to cut the strap of her shoe and drag her clear. When her fear dies down, Valancy realizes that she should have just died because the doctor had told her any sudden shock would kill her. She goes back to the doctor, who realizes that he accidentally sent her the wrong letter a year ago. He tells her that her heart condition was never serious.

As she is heading home from the doctor, she meets a gaudily-dressed man. It turns out the man is Barney's father, the millionaire Doctor Redfern, the inventor of ailment pills and remedies, which Valancy's mother swears by. When Barney was younger, they had a falling out and Barney refused to touch any of his trust fund. However, before Christmas, he finally withdrew $15,000 and bought Valancy's necklace, which alerted his father to his whereabouts. Barney's father wants him to come back to his family.

Fearing that Barney will believe she tricked him into marriage, she decides to leave him and return to her mother's house. While searching for a pen to write Barney an explanatory note, she goes into his secret room and finds that he is also John Foster, the author of her favorite books. She writes the note and leaves behind the necklace, as it was real pearls and not pearl beads, as she had thought.

Valancy reveals to her family that Barney is a millionaire. Her family is determined that Barney and Valancy must get back together. Barney comes to see Valancy and asks her to come back. At first she refuses, believing that he is only asking her out of pity. When he becomes angry at her, thinking that she is refusing him because she is ashamed of his father's patent medicine business, she realizes he does really love her and she goes back to him. It is hinted that she becomes the favored child over Olive in the family because she was able to trap a wealthy husband.

The story takes place in the early 1920s in the fictional town of Deerwood, located in the Muskoka region of Ontario, Canada. Deerwood is based on Bala, Ontario, which Montgomery visited in 1922. Maps of the two towns show similarities.

This novel is considered one of L.M. Montgomery's few adult works of fiction, along with A Tangled Web, and is the only book she wrote that is entirely set outside of Prince Edward Island. It has grown in popularity since being republished in 1990.

External links



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