My pick this week is L.M. Montgomery’s Magic for Marigold. I didn’t read Anne of Green Gables somewhere between nine and eleven and love the film version like all the other girls my age. In fact, it took me years after reading Magic for Marigold to finally go through the Anne series. But I wasn’t missing any of the beautiful descriptions and joyful depictions of childhood, PEI or small-town life and family, because Magic for Marigold had plenty of all of those.
The story begins at the very start of Marigold’s life, when she is known only as the still-unnamed Lesley baby. It carries on through her childhood, with anecdotes and experiences over the years, and finally ending somewhere around age twelve, or the end of childhood. Changing perceptions and friends and family happenings making up the storyline, and the adventures of an imaginative, humorous and self-contained little girl make for charming reading. There’s mischief, there’s the magic found in innocence, and there are the joys as well as the small tumbles and embarrassments that make up a truly happy childhood. This book is delightful, and is suitable for girls of all ages (perhaps even a few discriminating boys, too!).
In my quick re-read last night, I was struck by how much I enjoyed the family dynamics described in this little novel. I don’t remember paying much attention to the adults in the story as a kid, but now that I’m an adult myself, I see that they are not just window-dressing. Ms. Montgomery wrote humorously, and sometimes the intrigue, politics and foibles of the adult characters are laugh-aloud worthy. You can just see the society of the turn of the century, and hear the sharp, silly and wise voices all coming in and giving their very decided opinions…it’s quite fun!
This book is available, free of charge, via Project Gutenberg. Good thing, because it doesn’t appear to be in print any longer.
Four whole months have gone by since she was born, and no one in the eccentric Lesley clan can agree on what to call Lorraine’s new baby girl. Lorraine secretly likes the name Marigold…but who among the assorted aunts, uncles, grandmothers, and cousins would ever agree to such a fanciful and outlandish name as that?
When the baby falls ill and kindly Dr. M. Woodruff Richards saves her life, the family wants to name the little girl after the good doctor. But a girl named Woodruff? How fortuitous that Dr. Richards’s seldom-used first name turns out to be…Marigold!
Of course, a girl with such an unusual name as Marigold is destined for many exotic adventures. It all begins the fateful day she meets a little girl who claims to be a real-life princess…