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I'm currently working my way through volume one of Lucy Maud Montgomery's journals. Most of you will know her as the author of the Anne books, some of my most beloved childhood reads.

Maud herself is a delight - full of the passion for life and stories that shine through in Anne. Here she is on 4 April 1899, talking about stories:

"I have no doubt that it is a wise ordinance of date - or Providence? - that I cannot get all the books I want or I should certainly never accomplish much. I am simply a "book drunkard"...the first new story I read in '99 was "Phroso" by Anthony Hope. I...sat up in bed until two o'clock, shivering and freezing but quite indifferent to it, and finished the book before I could sleep. It was a glorious yarn - full of life and "go". It was romance pure and simple, without any alloy of realism or philosophy. I like realistic and philosophical novels in spells,but for pure, joyous, undiluted delight give me romance. I always revelled in fairytales."

Sound familiar to anyone? :)

It's also fascinating to see how she takes her own experiences and remodels them for her stories. A description of her thoughts on hearing of the death of a would-be lover (dated 24 July 1899) could come straight from the end of Anne of the Island:

"There would be no answering smile on his pale cold lips, no tender light in the dark blue eyes whose flash used to stir my heart into stinging life. Oh,kneeling there I thought it all over - that winter in Bedeque with its passion and suffering, all its hours of happiness and sorrow. I lived again in thought every incident of my acquaintance with Herman Leard from first to last - all those mad sweet hours and those sad bitter hours."

For me, the Anne books were as much about Prince Edward Island as they were about Anne. Here is LM Montgomery letting the words flow in another entry from 1899, describing what would become Lover's Lane in the Anne books:

"The old spring, deep and clear and icy cold, is on our path. The brook purls softly by and the old firs whisper over it as of yore. The ferns are drooping from the banks and the wild vines are running riot over stumps and roots. A maple adown the brook is gloriously gold and crimson and above through the boughs is a glimpse of blue autumn sky. Past the school woods come two autumnal fields rimmed in with golden-hued birches and frosted bracken fern. Beyond them is the dear lane itself, running on along the rim of the woodland, with the maple and birches and wild cherries and spruces meeting overhead and the low murmur of a hidden brook ever in our ears - every step a revelation and a benediction. The air under the firs is purple and the sunshine is as exchilarating as wine. Finally it ends in a bridge over the brook and a silvery field beyond that leads out to the red ribbon of the main road and so, over the crest of the hill home."

Highly recommended!
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