For the fifty-third book in the challenge, I read Kilmeny of the Orchard, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. In it, a young man comes back from teacher’s college to fill in teaching at a school for a buddy of his and catches sight of a beautiful girl playing the violin in a ruined orchard. He quickly becomes obsessed and falls in “love” with her, delighted by her innocence and “natural warmth,” and intrigued by her mutism and the rumors surrounding her and her family in the town. So that’s not creepy at all. Pretty much everyone is against the two getting together, and a lot of that disapproval is because her mother was a horrible creature for a woman, being all confident and stubborn and knowing what she wanted and then refusing to settle for what everyone else thought was good for her, so obviously all that hateful, selfish, mannish behavior had to be punished by God. Clearly that’s the reason Kilmeny won’t speak, and that’s why she went crazy. Obvs. So gross. Run, handsome teacher dude.
I loved this book when I read it in high school, but it’s a bit harder to swallow this time around. It was something about everyone being worried whether or not she was “the right sort of woman” for their precious buddy, and it all being okay once they realized she was pretty. Because that’s really all that matters when it comes to wifely virtue. Rubbed me the wrong way. It’s a pretty story, though, if you can ignore the rampant sexism and ugly relationship tropes.
I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars, because it IS a pretty story.