I have been dipping into my collection of Anne Shirley books, usually in the evening, to bring peace to my mind and gentleness to my perspective. Something I've noticed along the way is how deeply the various homes affect me. They are equal in my mind to the human characters in the stories. Today I thought it might be fun to share my favourite homes in the Anne series, and maybe you have favourites you would share too in the comments section. I know this is a rather bloggish thing to do, but I'm deep in composition mode for two manuscripts, and haven't much creativity left over right now for blogposts, I'm afraid.
I adore this home so much, I often daydream about living there - although I would not have a Susan in residence, nor hopefully mice in the pantry! An old family home of this kind - a mellow house, as Anne says - has such a warm character, and is full of domestic magic, joyful memories, which make me feel cosy just thinking of it. And I am in love with its garden (although I agree with Anne about the calceolarias.)
2. The House of Dreams.
This little house was infact the original inspiration for Deep in the Far Away. I was happy when Anne and Gilbert moved to Ingleside, and I wouldn't myself want to live in such a faraway cottage, it seems to me to be an interlude, a honeymoon, a dream of a place whose charm is that it is only to be enjoyed for a little while. Nevertheless, I love it.
3. Echo Lodge.
This house makes my heart ache, because although Lavender gets her happy ending, the house seems filled with quiet sorrow and then, when joy finally comes, everyone leaves and the house is abandoned to silence for most of the year. I know they all come back for summers, but to think of its loneliness through the winter actually almost brings me to tears. I wish for better happiness for it, because really it is such a beautiful house, so full of magic and quiet wonderment. It deserves a contented family, a dreaming girl, an abundance of laughter and romance. As I get older, this is the home I would love best to live in, but not alone, and not too far from the rest of the world.
4. Patty's Place.
I first read about this home, Anne's student digs, when I was a student myself, living with several flatmates. I always envied Anne her comfortable cheerful situation, as my flatmates weren't kindred spirits, and I had no Gog and Magog by my fireplace.
5. Windy Willows.
This is another home which inspires my personal creativity. I've drafted a story concept from my vision of the house and its quaint owners - who knows, maybe one day I'll write it. I especially love the tower room and have spent many an afternoon there in my imagination, gazing out the window and dreaming. I've also walked the roads of Summerside and breathed in its eloquent breezes. While I long to visit Prince Edward Island, Summerside is not a place I'd like to see, because I know it will hold little trace of the town Maud created for her readers. (I know in some versions the book is known as Windy Poplars, but Maud herself prefered the Willows title, and I'm lucky enough to have a British publication which honoured her wishes.)
Green Gables is not on my list because I don't particularly like it. Which is to say, I wouldn't turn my nose up at it, but I have never managed to resonate with that house as fully as the other homes, perhaps because I read Anne of Green Gables itself fewer times than the rest of the series. It feels like quite a dark home to me, as if most of its curtains are kept shut during the day and too many of its rooms are unused.
(And lastly, please don't ask me if I've watched the Netflix version of Anne, unless you want me to shout at you. I think that show is a betrayal of all Anne stands for, it hurts me to remember its existence, and I am happiest dwelling instead in the charm of the first Megan Follows series, and of course the books themselves.)