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Rilla of Ingleside

With Rilla of Ingleside--the final book Anne of Green Gables book, L.M. Montgomery draws the focus back onto a single character and adds some gravity to proceedings, resulting in the best book of the series. Set almost a decade after Rainbow Valley, Europe is on the brink of the First World War, and Anne's youngest daughter Rilla is an irrepressible 14-year-old, excited about her first party and heedless of the chaos that the Western world is about to be plunged into. With her brothers, fiancÚ and friends away at war, Rilla is left anxiously at home, caring for a neglected baby and organising the Junior Red Cross. Like most of Montgomery's stories, there's nothing too unpredictable in the elements of the story, but they take on an extra poignancy when set against the backdrop of world war. There are a few annoying elements, such as Rilla's former teacher who constantly has ridiculously detailed and accurate dreams about the course of the war, but there are plenty more cute stories such as the legendarily faithful dog and the very poignant death of a major character. The naive yet passionate household discussions of the war are both humorous and heartfelt. Rilla of Ingleside is worthy just as a document of life during wartime from a civilian perspective, but combined with Montgomery's gift for capturing personality and emotion it's something quite special.