L. M. Montgomery only wrote 2 adult novels. One of them was The Blue Castle published in 1926.
I had never heard of it until last year when I wrote a post about The Ladies of Missalonghi by Australian author Colleen McCullough. McCullough was accused of plagiarism because of the number of similarities between the two books.
I have to say, that it does look incredibly suspicious.
McCullough claims no knowledge of The Blue Castle.
Perhaps it was one of those books she picked up in the library as a little girl, browsed through it, liked the idea enough for it sneak into the back reaches of her memory, only to emerge in her adult years as an 'original creative idea'?
Whatever happened, The Blue Castle and The Ladies of Missalonghi are basically the same book. One is set in Ontario, Canada, the other in the Blue Mountains, NSW.
They both describe a quiet, genteel, unlovely young woman, slowly becoming a fearful, poor relation spinster. Suffocated by her controlling family, suffering pangs & pains of the heart and finding solace in her local library.
A visit to the doctor changes everything when she finds out she has only a year to live.
What happens next in both books is a sweet, delightful romance as Missy/Valancy throws off her cares and fears to embrace life. She speaks her mind, shocks the family, changes her hair and clothes, asks a man to marry her & runs away to live happily ever after.
The various plot twists are predictable and easy to spot. There is nothing challenging about either book, but, ohhh, they are just so soul-satisfying!
Missy/Valancy stand in for every shy, insecure girl in history. They give hope that every single one of us can be beautiful when loved. That everyone can dream of love and eventually find true love if only they are brave enough and honest enough to be themselves.
The Blue Castle AND The Ladies of Missalonghi are now two of my very favourite rainy afternoon comfort reads.
The Blue Castle counts as my book for The Colour Coded Reading Challenge hosted by My Readers Block.