For lovers of "Anne of Green Gables," Melanie J. Fishbane's first novel tells a fictionalized story of Lucy Maud Montgomery's teen years in "Maud."
Since many aspects of "Anne of Green Gables" hearken back to Montgomery's actual childhood, including the setting of Prince Edward Island, much of the world Fishbane creates feels familiar. In the novel, Maud has bosom friends, experiences young love akin to Anne and Gilbert, and deals with drama in the schoolroom.
Much like Anne, Maud also wasn't raised by her parents. Her mother died when she was young and her father left her to be raised by her aunt and, later, her old-fashioned maternal grandparents. When Anne gets in trouble with her grandparents, she's sent out to the Wild West to, for the first time in her life, live with her father, his new wife and her half-siblings.
Many aspects of the novel show the trials of being a woman during the early 20th century. Maud feels called to writing and longs to attend college, but her family isn't encouraging and she doesn't know how she will afford it. While others continually push her to marriage, she knows there are others things she wants to accomplish first. She receives plenty of unwanted attention from men, and the adults in her life, rather than defending her, always tell her she must be encouraging them. She is often saddled with heavy expectations of chores and childcare at home, which makes it hard to focus on her goals for her life.
Many of Maud's life experiences and the characters in the story come from Montgomery's journals and letters. Though the story is fictional, much of it is based on what is known about Montgomery's life. Readers will be inspired by what this woman was able to overcome in order to bring about the stories many know and love today, which only add greater depth to the classic story of "Anne of Green Gables" and Montgomery's other novels.
"Maud" contains little to no swearing, violence or sexual content beyond kissing. Maud is treated harshly by several adults and has to deal with some difficult, near abusive situations that may be upsetting to younger readers.