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Lucy Maud Montgomery is Canada's best-known writer of children's fiction. Anne of Green Gables-- in print, film, television, on stage--captures people's imaginations as easily now as it did when it burst upon the world in 1908. Lucy Maud Montgomery grew up in Prince Edward Island and she set her best-loved stories there. She worked briefly as a journalist, but family respon Lucy Maud Montgomery is Canada's best-known writer of children's fiction. Anne of Green Gables-- in print, film, television, on stage--captures people's imaginations as easily now as it did when it burst upon the world in 1908. Lucy Maud Montgomery grew up in Prince Edward Island and she set her best-loved stories there. She worked briefly as a journalist, but family responsiblities shaped her life as a young single woman. At 36 she married a dour, often depressive Presbyterian minister and moved to Ontario. There she lived a life of contradictions--in private, the romantic, successful imaginative writer; in public the strict, dutiful minister's wife. Using diaries and letters Lucy Maud never intended to be made public, The Wheel of Things is a pioneering biography of one of Canada's most successful and important writers. Since its publication, the release of Montgomery's diaries and other work by scholarly writers have confirmed the life story that Mollie Gillen tells so well in this important and path-breaking biography.


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Lucy Maud Montgomery is Canada's best-known writer of children's fiction. Anne of Green Gables-- in print, film, television, on stage--captures people's imaginations as easily now as it did when it burst upon the world in 1908. Lucy Maud Montgomery grew up in Prince Edward Island and she set her best-loved stories there. She worked briefly as a journalist, but family respon Lucy Maud Montgomery is Canada's best-known writer of children's fiction. Anne of Green Gables-- in print, film, television, on stage--captures people's imaginations as easily now as it did when it burst upon the world in 1908. Lucy Maud Montgomery grew up in Prince Edward Island and she set her best-loved stories there. She worked briefly as a journalist, but family responsiblities shaped her life as a young single woman. At 36 she married a dour, often depressive Presbyterian minister and moved to Ontario. There she lived a life of contradictions--in private, the romantic, successful imaginative writer; in public the strict, dutiful minister's wife. Using diaries and letters Lucy Maud never intended to be made public, The Wheel of Things is a pioneering biography of one of Canada's most successful and important writers. Since its publication, the release of Montgomery's diaries and other work by scholarly writers have confirmed the life story that Mollie Gillen tells so well in this important and path-breaking biography.

30 review for The Wheel of Things: A Biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    A lovely biography of Anne of Green Gables's Lucy Maud Montgomery. Good details about LMM's life--before, during, and after Anne--and funny anecdotes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Martyn

    If you are wanting a general overview of Montgomery's life then this book might do, but I didn't enjoy it. It has been superseded by many subsequent publications, namely Montgomery's Journals and her letters to George Boyd Macmillan and Ephraim Weber. This biography in itself has few unique elements left to enable it to retain any merit. For anyone who has read all the journals this book has no new insights to offer, and doesn't really capture the spirit of Montgomery or of her life or writings. If you are wanting a general overview of Montgomery's life then this book might do, but I didn't enjoy it. It has been superseded by many subsequent publications, namely Montgomery's Journals and her letters to George Boyd Macmillan and Ephraim Weber. This biography in itself has few unique elements left to enable it to retain any merit. For anyone who has read all the journals this book has no new insights to offer, and doesn't really capture the spirit of Montgomery or of her life or writings. Reading the journals can be like reading another series of novels - they have a spirit and atmosphere of their own. And they are far more interesting and insightful to read than this book. The biography has not been well constructed. Montgomery was a writer for most of her life, and a minister's wife for over thirty years of it, and prominent figure for thirty-four years, and there were other significant yet prolonged situations in her life, which were occurring simultaneously. The journals can record that in a way that a biography can't, where it seeks to divide things into neat little sections, and treats themes separately. Thus the narrative of her legal battle with her publisher which consumed many years of her life and was a continual worry and strain upon her, is dealt with briefly in a single chapter. Her husband's health troubles get a few mentions but don't get the same prominence they had in the journals. If you just take one issue at a time, and deal with each in turn, things don't sound too bad. It is only when you see the ongoing daily anguish in the journals, with many differing problems and events overlapping, that you get a clearer picture of what her life was really like. Any Christian who has read Montgomery's journals or letters will have been able to gather that Montgomery wasn't a Christian herself. This book reinforces that, but the biographer wasn't a Christian either and had no understanding of it, and seemed to rejoice at Montgomery casting aside orthodox belief and presented her as being much better for it. For this reason I would advise all Christian parents to avoid allowing their children to read this particular biography. It wouldn't be helpful to them in the tone it takes and they shouldn't read it until they are mature enough not to be led astray by the beliefs of Montgomery or the attitude of the biographer. If people do want to read a biography of Montgomery (and have already read, or have no inclination to read, the Journals or volumes of letters to Macmillan and Weber) then I would recommend "The Years Before Anne," by Francis Bolger. It was published before The Wheel of Things but it has retained its usefulness because it contains material which is not to be found in any subsequent publications - her letters to her cousin for example. And it provides useful genealogical information in a way which will enable people to understand how she was related to many of the people whose names appear in her journals. While it is concerned primarily with her life before Anne of Green Gables, there is a brief overview of the rest of her life which I think does a decent job of summing it up, and might inspire one to go and read the Journals.

  3. 4 out of 5

    VJ

    Maud Montgomery Macdonald was a woman of honor and duty, who wrote of beauty. Gillen's biography of her is well-written and extremely well documented by Montgomery's letters to friends and her journals. Maud Montgomery was tempestuously emotional while simultaneously being controlled and disciplined. It did take a toll on her, along with her husband's depression. She "mixed" when she didn't want to, was the dutiful minister's wife, and "suffered fools gladly" when she wanted to be alone. She suf Maud Montgomery Macdonald was a woman of honor and duty, who wrote of beauty. Gillen's biography of her is well-written and extremely well documented by Montgomery's letters to friends and her journals. Maud Montgomery was tempestuously emotional while simultaneously being controlled and disciplined. It did take a toll on her, along with her husband's depression. She "mixed" when she didn't want to, was the dutiful minister's wife, and "suffered fools gladly" when she wanted to be alone. She suffered because she was never able to write something of merit as measured by her own internal standard. My perception of Emily's Quest as a pot-boiler was right on target. Montgomery never wanted to write sequels and the effort she had to make in order to fulfill her publisher's wishes were monumental. I really admire Lucy Maud Montgomery Macdonald and appreciate Gillen's biographical work immensely. This book, published by Goodread Biographers, was truly a good read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I found the writing in this book very scattered. The author draws the same conclusions about "Maud" over and over, attempting to back them up with Maud's own words, but in other passages, there is as much to disprove the auther's opinions as there is to prove them. The best chapter in the book is the one about the huge lawsuit between Maud and her first publisher...and that is because it has the highest percentage of Maud's own writing. Maud, in other words, is a much better storyteller than the I found the writing in this book very scattered. The author draws the same conclusions about "Maud" over and over, attempting to back them up with Maud's own words, but in other passages, there is as much to disprove the auther's opinions as there is to prove them. The best chapter in the book is the one about the huge lawsuit between Maud and her first publisher...and that is because it has the highest percentage of Maud's own writing. Maud, in other words, is a much better storyteller than the biographer. If you're looking for information about how Maud created her characters or what fueled her imagination, aside from the obvious natural charms of PEI, you'll be disappointed.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I have read all of the Anne of Green Gables novels many times and love them so I wanted to read more about the author. She didn't marry until she was 36 because she was taking care of her sick Grandmother. Her husband was a minister who suffered from depression and she kept it hidden while writing her books, taking care of her two sons and fulfilling all the duties of a minister's wife. It seems like most of her life she felt like people were holding her back and a lot of the people in her life I have read all of the Anne of Green Gables novels many times and love them so I wanted to read more about the author. She didn't marry until she was 36 because she was taking care of her sick Grandmother. Her husband was a minister who suffered from depression and she kept it hidden while writing her books, taking care of her two sons and fulfilling all the duties of a minister's wife. It seems like most of her life she felt like people were holding her back and a lot of the people in her life turned out to be the characters in her books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alike Ball

    This was really good. But better yet, was Lucy's actual bios (three books in all). She wrote so honestly about her life, marriage, the bittersweet duty of motherhood, and the death of a stillborn son. She did not sound like someone writing in the 1800's. She could have been your best friend that came over for coffee every morning and spoke about the details of life.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paula Dembeck

    Shamefully I admit I have never read any of the "Anne" books. However, I do like biographies of strong independent woman and this is a good one!! I am following this up by reading LMM's journals which will be an interesting complement to the great read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    An interesting read especially if you have drunk long and deeply of the world of Anne, Emily, et al. Echoes of LMM's life are found in her art, at times, and overall this is a sympathetic portrait. Worth the read!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Lund

    Wish it had been longer with more detail. But a nice introduction to her personality, career, and family life.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I am so happy that I read this book. Having always loved Anne of Green Gables, I found a true "kindred spirit" in Maud Montgomery. Very insightfully written.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Medlibrarian

    There are better biographies of Montgomery out there. Go find one and don’t waste your time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Child960801

    This is a biography about L M Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. As I knew nothing about her before reading this, I found it informative and interesting and a good starting place for anyone wanting to learn about her. I was interested to know that she lived in Saskatchewan for a time and that she was a pastor’s wife for many years.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Girl

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karolina

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kae

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stefani

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mary Alice

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ar-Feiniel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Yerzyck

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kirsteen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Myrna

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

  24. 5 out of 5

    Agnieszka

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tori Ridgewood

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle abke

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maka

  28. 5 out of 5

    De Monisia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bookie_22 molino

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diana Kardis-Gavinčiuk

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