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What is the Anne of Green Gables series about?
Written by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables is a classic that spun off a popular series and a lot of TV, film, radio, and stage adaptations.
It’s about the life of Anne Shirley, from childhood to motherhood and beyond. Anne is bright and quick, eager to please, talkative, and extremely imaginative. She has a pale face with freckles and usually braids her red hair.
An orphan, she was sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert on their farm, Green Gables, in the fictional town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island.
How to read the Anne of Green Gables Books in Order?
I. The main Anne Shirley story
- Anne of Green Gables – Anne Shirley is a young orphan sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. They had originally decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage to help Matthew run their farm at Green Gables. Through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne instead. Full of imagination, Anne takes much joy in life and adapts quickly. She soon finds her place in the close-knit farming village.
- Anne of Avonlea – At sixteen Anne is grown up…almost. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone.
- Anne of the Island – Anne Shirley packs her bags and heads for Redmond College. With old friend Prissy Grant waiting in the bustling city of Kingsport and frivolous new pal Philippa Gordon at her side, Anne tucks her memories of rural Avonlea away and discovers life on her own terms, filled with surprises…
- Anne of Windy Poplars also known as Anne of Windy Willows – Anne Shirley has a tendency to stir up controversy wherever she goes. And her new position as principal of Summerside High School is no exception. The Pringles, the ruling family in town, want one of their own in the job, and they’ve made it their mission to drive Annie out. As Anne settles into her tower room at Windy Poplars with the widows Aunt Kate and Aunt Chatty, she finds she has more allies than she knows.
- Anne’s House of Dreams – Anne Shirley marries her one true love, Gilbert Blythe, in the dappled sunshine of the old orchard at Green Gables. Soon the two will be moving to their own little dream house on the misty shores of Four Winds Harbor. In their first years together, Anne and Gil will experience both heartbreak and joy, and, of course, plenty of “scope for the imagination.”
- Anne of Ingleside – The Blythes have set up home in a house they affectionately name Ingleside. Anne and Gilbert now have several children who engage in a series of adventures and mishaps with the other local youngsters. Anne begins to worry that her husband no longer loves her but vows to make him fall for her again.
II. Anne Shirley’s children’s stories
The next books are mostly focusing on Anne’s children and friends. Still, Anne plays a part in the stories, a much smaller one though.
- Rainbow Valley – Anne Shirley is now the mother of six children. These boys and girls discover a special place all their own, but they never dream of what will happen when the strangest family moves into an old nearby mansion. The Meredith clan is two boys and two girls, with minister father but no mother — and a runaway girl named Mary Vance. Soon the Meredith kids join Anne’s children in their private hideout to carry out their plans to save Mary from the orphanage, to help the lonely minister find happiness, and to keep a pet rooster from the soup pot.
- Rilla of Ingleside – Anne’s children were almost grown up, except for pretty, high-spirited. Almost fifteen, Rilla can’t think any further ahead than going to her very first dance at the Four Winds lighthouse and getting her first kiss from handsome Kenneth Ford. But undreamed-of challenges await the irrepressible Rilla when the world of Ingleside becomes endangered by a far-off war.
- The Blythes Are Quoted – Completed by L.M. Montgomery near the end of her life but not published in its entirety until 2009. It’s a mix of Short stories about residents of Glen St. Mary that are interspersed with vignettes of Anne Shirley Blythe and her family discussing her poetry over a series of evenings.
You also can find most of those books in one box set that contains 8 books, From the first Anne of Green Gables to Rilla of Ingleside, but not The Blythes Are Quoted or the next three books in this guide.
III. In the world of Avonlea
If you want to stay a little bit longer in the world of Avonlea, there are more books to read.
- The Complete Chronicles of Avonlea – The books collected all the short stories originally published in the two books: Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea. Anne plays only a minor role in those stories, being the main character in only two of them.
- Before Green Gables – This is a prequel written by Budge Wilson with the authorization of the heirs of L. M. Montgomery.
- Marilla of Green Gables – Another prequel, also not written by L. M. Montgomery. As the title suggests, it’s not about Anne. Set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert.
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This article was last updated on September 20, 2022.