Anne of Illustration

As I have returned to have a day job recently, I’ve had less time to write – mostly in dribs and drabs on my lap during lunch (why doesn’t my company have quiet corners with comfy desk chairs just for writing at lunch?).

I’ve begun re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series, and there’s much to say, but I want to start with style.Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery’s writing was thick with description: smells and sights of all sorts as Anne meanders about the countryside about Avonlea.

I had just finished reading a book – I won’t say which – published this year, and the lack of description shouted at me in comparison with Montgomery’s work.

You can have too much of a good thing: I always found Michener’s work to suffocate under chapters of setting. Get to it already! But I found the illustrations the Anne books brought took me right away to how I imagine Prince Edward Island was in the late 19th century. The characters and events took place behind a misty haze, just out of reach: a sweet feeling of romance.

By contrast, the most famous – and successful – romance writer in history  did not use description.

Go ahead. I challenge you to find a jot of Montgomery’s haze in the works of Jane Austen. You won’t find it. Yet her books are the height of romance.

Which do you prefer?

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