Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson is a prequel to the beloved and classic Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.
Writing a sequel or prequel to a beloved book with a cult-like following can be a precarious undertaking. Followers of such books will have their own opinions on what the heroine would or would not do, how they would feel or react...we love and defend our favorite literature characters fiercely. I have read sequels good and bad to other classic books, most bad...a rare one or two well-done.
This book was well-done. The author approached the story as an answer to a question serious lovers of the Anne series must ponder...I know I have wondered this;
How can such a bright, hopeful, resilient child-with such a love and knowledge of poetry and big words-spring from such a dismal early life full of violence, drudgery and poverty. I've wondered myself how Anne would have received any schooling caring for Mrs. Hammond's eight children. (Including the famous "twins three time in succession"...) I've wondered how she could grow up sweet and full of love, did anyone love her as a baby or toddler? Who bothered about her when she was sick or sad? Who taught her big words and listened to her endless talking?
This book not only fills in the gaps of Anne's early life filled with work and want, but fills in her story in a truly satisfying and believable way. I think the author did a wonderful job and actually evokes some feeling of sympathy for the Thomas and Hammond families- something I did not expect to feel.
I think this book would be a great addition to your Anne library. A little different in flavor, after all, it was not written by Montgomery- but a very satisfying, likeable read. I plan to assign this book to my girls after they read the entire Anne series.