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Imagining Anne: The Island Scrapbooks of L.M. Montgomery

by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly

In addition to writing 20 novels, 500 short stories, and 500 poems, Lucy Maud Montgomery was an avid scrapbooker most of her life. She collected fashion illustrations, fabric swatches, newspaper clippings (of marriages, deaths, and births), illustrations of cats, poems, pressed flowers, invitations, calling cards, photos she took herself, short stories, and jokes. Peppered with Montgomery’s cryptic handwritten notes, the albums are a colourful, cluttered window into the vast imagination of the author and her small-town life.

For Imagining Anne, Dr. Elizabeth Epperly, head of the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island and probably the world’s foremost Anne scholar, has selected and annotated pages from the scrapbooks Montgomery kept between the ages of 18 and 36. This represents the prolific period in which Montgomery wrote Anne of Green Gables, and it’s clear the scrapbooks inspired many images that Montgomery wove into her novel.

Although Epperly’s detailed and informative annotations are often annoyingly placed on different pages from the visuals they refer to, it’s a treat to see the origins of many images from the novel, such as the puffed sleeves that were the height of fashion then and that both Montgomery and her famous character adored. Montgomery’s wit surfaces, too: she pasted the wedding invitation for her father’s second marriage above a short story entitled “The Mistake,” clearly intending to convey what she thought of her father’s choice of mate.


Reviewer: Susan Lawrence

Publisher: Penguin Canada


Price: $39

Page Count: 170 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 978-0-670-06687-2

Released: March

Issue Date: 2008-4

Categories: Memoir & Biography