The Story Girl by Lucy Maud Montgomery
originally published 1911
Bantam Classic, 1st printing, 1989
Genre: Children’s literature, juvenalia
Synopsis & Review: While their father works in Rio de Janeiro for a time, Bev and Felix King must leave their home in Toronto to stay with relatives on their father’s family homestead near Carlisle on Prince Edward Island. Thrilled to see the place from when the King family sprang, and to play where their father grew up, Bev and Felix are somewhat apprehensive about their cousins. At the homestead live Uncle Alec and Aunt Jante, and their children: Dan the eldest at thirteen, the lovely Felicity, and the shy but sweet Cecily. On an adjoining farm live the siblings Aunt Olivia and Uncle Roger, who are caring for Sara Stanley, another King cousin. With all those cousins–and Uncle Roger’s hired boy Peter and the neighbor Sara Ray–there will be plenty of other children to play with.
Sara Stanley is called The Story Girl for her knack with telling all kinds of stories, and making them live with her remarkable voice. She is the eldest at fourteen, and almost a de facto leader and voice of reason for the group–though she is hardly perfect. With their cousins, Bev and Felix fall under her spell, and hear the stories of their family and others in Carlisle. Together, the group gets up to all kinds of monkeyshines: confronting a witch, preparing for the End of Days, braving fearsome old men, and keeping dream diaries, among others.
There are Anne girls and Emily girls, perhaps Jane or Valancy girls—no one is a Pat girl—but I’m a Sara girl. Sara Stanley, that is, the titular Story Girl of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s fourth novel. It’s the second novel not featuring Anne, and also the first not based on identification with a place (Of Avonlea, Of Lantern Hill, of the Orchard, etc). But the King homestead setting of The Story Girl—as with all the Montgomery novels I’ve read so far—is an integral part of the novel. From Bev and Felix’s delight at returning to their ancestral home to the many colorful incidents that take place there, particularly in the orchard, the King farm and its environs are key players in the little comedies and dramas that play out in The Story Girl. Read the rest of this entry »