|About this Recording
NA216912 - MONTGOMERY, L.M.: Anne of Avonlea (Abridged)
L. M. Montgomery
ANNE OF AVONLEA
Anne of Avonlea is the second in L.M. Montgomery’s series of books about Anne Shirley. As her fans know, she is the flame-haired, vivacious and imaginative orphan who came to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert in their home at Green Gables on Prince Edward Island, off the east coast of Canada.
In Anne of Avonlea, as the title suggests, Anne’s world has opened out. She has grown up considerably and at sixteen and a half she has started work as a teacher in the local school; the very school that she herself attended until recently. She may be a schoolteacher but she is still the same Anne — full of dreams, romances and ideals. How she copes with these in reality makes interesting listening. Anne, as we have all come to realize, has a very definite view on life and what is right and what is wrong, and she is not afraid of speaking out. For example, she vows that she will never, ever use a strap to punish her pupils but will she manage to stick to this rule of her own making?
The recording opens with a typical ‘Anne’ adventure, when she has to chase what she thinks is her pet cow out of Mr. Harrison’s wheat field. It is the second time that it has happened and Mr. Harrison is a grumpy neighbor who can’t afford to be upset again. It has been raining, the field is soaking and Anne’s long skirts get in the way of her effort to round up the cow. In the end… well, we leave it for you to find out what happens in the end. In this and most of Anne’s adventures, her greatest friend Diana, who is the complete opposite of Anne in every way, joins her.
At home at Green Gables, all is not quiet either. Marilla has been persuaded to take in and raise six and a half year old orphan twins. Anne is very enthusiastic about the project but even she finds young Davey a handful to keep out of mischief and to answer his never-ending questions. It is not only Davey whose life is eventful. Anne has always been accident prone, falling into scrapes because of her plans and adventures. In Anne of Avonlea, despite her new responsibilities, she still can be helter-skelter and her life still does not always go according to plan. Mrs. Morgan’s visit is a case in point, but Anne copes with it with poise and humor. Yes, Anne is growing up to be a thoughtful and positive young woman who is widely respected by her friends and neighbors.
It is she who is largely responsible for the founding of the Avonlea Improvement Society. This is a society whose intent is to make the local environment of Avonlea look more beautiful and run more efficiently. She expresses her ideas in true ‘Anne’ style — romantically and with a flourish. Nevertheless, these ideas are not all ‘hot air’. Through Anne and her friends’ enthusiasm the ideas become realities and we can hear about some of them on this recording.
As in Anne of Green Gables, the tales contain many wonderful characters. Some of these will be familiar to us, such as Mrs. Lynde who knows
everything about everything such as, who arrives in the village and when and who said what to whom. Then there are new characters to look forward to meeting, such as the irascible Mr. Harrison who owns the unlucky wheat field. Mrs. Lavender is another fresh face and her friendship with Anne and her account of her past amply fuels Anne’s imagination and romantic view of life.
At the heart of the book, though, are Anne and her relationship with her friends, Gilbert, Diana, Jane, Priscilla and Fred. They all enjoy sharing their dreams and ambitions. Of these friendships, Anne and Gilbert Blythe are particularly close. Anne has her own idea of her ‘ideal man’ and Gilbert certainly does not answer to that description. Nevertheless their friendship grows imperceptibly closer and who knows what the future will bring.
Notes by Jan Fielden
Liza Ross has appeared on stage in the West End and in repertory across Great Britain, including Wings and The Front Page at the Royal National Theatre. She has made many television appearances including After the War, Poor Little Rich Girl, Two’s Company and The Month of the Doctors. Her film work includes Batman and The Shadowchasers. She has also worked extensively as a voice artist.
The music on this cassette is taken from the NAXOS catalog
DVORAK STRING QUARTET OP 96/105 8.550251
DVORAK O CHARMING GOLDEN ROSE - CYPRESSES 8.553375
Vlach Quartet Prague
COPLAND RODEO/BILLY THE KID 8.550282
Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), Stephen Gunzenhauser
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