The Blue Castle

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Author: L.M. Montgomery

Published: 1926

Genre: Fiction

About The Blue Castle: An unhappy woman makes radical changes to her life after learning she only has a year to live.

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Review of The Blue Castle

Valancy Stirling lives with her mother and cousin in Deerwood, Ontario. She has suffered from ill health for her entire life and her prospects for marriage are dim.

Deerwood and the Stirlings had long since relegated Valancy to hopeless old maidenhood. But Valancy herself had never quite relinquished a certain pitiful, shamed, little hope that romance would come her way yet — never, until this wet, horrible morning, when she wakened to the fact that she was twenty-nine and unsought by any man.

Ay, there lay the sting. Valancy did not mind so much being an old maid. After all, she thought, being an old maid couldn't possibly be as dreadful as being married to an Uncle Wellington or an Uncle Benjamin, or even an Uncle Herbert. What hurt her was that she had never had a chance to be anything but an old maid. No man had ever desired her.

...from page 31

A nagging heart problem sends her to the doctor and when she learns that she only has a year to live, Valancy decides to do just that — live.


The Blue Castle was Montgomery's first book for adults and the only one of her novels set entirely outside of PEI. The title referred to Valancy's secret place, where she went in her mind to escape reality, where everything was beautiful and love was at hand.

The members of the Stirling family were mostly one-dimensional but other characters were layered and interesting. Valancy, Barney Snaith, and even Roaring Abel, the town drunk, had depth and believable characteristics.

The story was predictable but it had an undeniable charm and it was impossible to read it without thinking, "you go, girl!" at least once. The family dinner where Valancy told everyone what she really thought was particularly entertaining.

My only complaint was that the descriptions of the scenery/setting in the latter half of the book were a little long-winded. While the place sounded beautiful, I didn't need to be told that over and over and over again.

The Blue Castle was a charming read and I enjoyed it.

Reviewed by Lynn Bornath on 23 May 2010 from the Voyageur Classics edition.

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More Reviews

Rachel, Book Snob, 11 December 2009
"What a magical, wonderful, gem of a book."
Steph, Steph & Tony Investigate, 20 January 2010
"Truth be told, I found it exhilarating!"
Page Turner, Lines From the Page, 27 January 2009
"It was a delightful story with a good lesson about what really matters in life"
Nymeth, Things Mean a Lot, 1 March 2010
"a funny, charming and very comforting book"
Chris, Chrisbookarama, 10 December 2010
"I loved watching her transformation."

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Added 24 May 2010.
Updated 23 August 2013.