Written inside the front cover of my copy of Rilla of Ingleside is the inscription “Christmas 1987 from Grammie and Grampie”.
While most people start the Anne of Green Gables series with the first book, I originally started with this, the last book. It takes the Blythe family through the years of first world war. One by one the sons, boyfriends and brothers head off to war in Europe. The woman at home fight the good fight, raising war babies, running the Red Cross, praying, making war socks, writing letters and learning to cook with rations.
The book is beautifully written and absolutely heart-wrending. Despite this being at least my sixth reading, I still cried my way through parts of the book. Following Rilla from a fairly immature 15 through her teenage years through the war to a woman of 19 puts flesh and bones around the cold facts of the war. However, be warned, once you read this book you will never read the previous book (Rainbow Valley) the same way again.
This time this book was my airport and airplane reading on the way to Canada. Last year I read Anne of Green Gables on the train to Wales for Christmas, so this seemed like a good ‘full circle’. Rilla is still one of my favorite books of the series and I enjoyed it no less this time around.
The days are counting down to the end of the year. Will I reach #90??