One of the most thrilling things when finishing a book is knowing that it has qualified for my “10 Star” list, a list reserved for only the best, in my opinion. When a dear friend mentioned that The Blue Castle was her favorite book I expected to enjoy it, but I did not expect to fall in love with it. Yet, that is exactly what happened. The author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, is best known for Anne of Green Gables and its subsequent series. Yet, I must admit, I enjoyed The Blue Castle’s main character even more. (Please forgive me, Anne Shirley fans!)
I have to care about and feel emotionally invested in a main character in order for me to love a book. In The Blue Castle, it is Valancy Stirling, a 29 year old “spinster” who lives with her widowed mother and two aunts. They are dour, puritanical, and robotic in all they do, say, and think. Even sneezing in public is a grievous sin. Valancy knows of no other life but this one–this colorless life with no friends and no future.
Why do I love this character? Because, in her longing for something more, she is deserving, quirky, humble, and imaginative. She simply wants what we all want: to be cherished, to be seen as who she really is, and to have a companion who puts her above all others. She is not ambitious or greedy. Her desires, as elusive as they may seem, are simple and valid.
In the meantime, Valancy must live in her head. Only two things bring her comfort while she waits– her John Foster novels, with their color and life and pearls of wisdom: Fear is the original sin, and the thought of her Blue Castle: a metaphor for all the happy, beautiful things currently just out of reach. In her Blue Castle, Valancy is free to think and enjoy without the daily berating she endures from her mother and aunts.
As the reader, you join in this longing and, hope against hope, that Valancy will, somehow, emerge victorious. But how?
At this point, I must resist using spoilers and simply say that The Blue Castle is worth your time. If you are looking for a story that restores your faith in everything, including quality literature and characters that you absolutely fall in love with, this is it. In addition, the writing is like exquisite poetry dripping from your lips as you read it.
A true masterpiece.
A very worthy 10 STARS.