Featured Book: Anne of Green Gables, the Audiobook, as hosted by Audiobookworm

This review is written in conjunction with Audiobookworm, a wonderful site hosted by Jess that reviews audiobooks and offers various promotional services for them.

 

Author: L.M. Montgomery

Narrator: Colleen Winton

Length: 10 hours 7 minutes

Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press

Series: Anne of Green Gables, Book One

Genre: Classics

 

 

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, middle-aged siblings, had decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage to help Matthew run Green Gables, their Avonlea farmhouse on Prince Edward Island. Through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne Shirley instead.

Anne is a bright, eager to please, talkative, and extremely imaginative eleven-year old orphan from Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia, who is coming to Green Gables after years of acting as a nanny for others’ children and living in an asylum (orphanage). She has a pale face with freckles and usually braids her red hair, which she considers the ultimate bane.

At first, Marilla insists that the girl must return to the orphanage, but after getting to know her a bit and understanding that she would be sent to act as a servant to yet another home if she were given up, and after seeing how dreadful Anne’s religious upbringing was, she decides to let her stay. Matthew is thrilled; the girl stole her heart from the minute he picked her up at the train station.

Anne of Green Gables is a story of how two sedate siblings become rather like parents to a vivacious youngster who upturns their life. It is the story of a girl who finds hope in the world even after all these years, manages to swear her heart to a new bosom friend, Diana, and will never, ever forgive Gilbert Blythe, the witty and chivalrous classmate who makes the sin of calling her, “Carrots”.

It is a story of delight, hope, humanness, and warmth.

 

 

Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942) was a Canadian author best known Anne of Green Gables and the series of novels that book begins. The “Anne” of the books is Anne Shirley, an orphaned girl who comes to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert on their farm, Green Gables. Published in 1908, the book was an immediate success in Canada, the United States and beyond. It has been adapted multiple times to screen, stage, radio, and TV.

Anne Shirley made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following. Anne of Green Gables was ranked number 41 in “The Big Read,” a survey of the British public by BBC to determine the “nation’s best-loved novel” (not children’s novel!). And a survey conducted by School Library Journal (USA) in 2012 ranked Anne of Green Gables number nine among all-time children’s novels.
Anne of Green Gables was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery published 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays in her lifetime. Her work, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide. Mostly set in Prince Edward Island and locations within Canada’s smallest province, the books made PEI a literary landmark and popular tourist site. Montgomery was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

 

 

Narrator Bio

Colleen Winton is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer…and now a narrator. Her career has taken her all over the country and includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the original Canadian companies of CATS and Show Boat, extensive film/TV credits, and numerous directing/choreographing credits. Her stage work has been honoured with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award and she received a cultural award given by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was especially pleased to have recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press just before she embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.

“There are two parts to this review, the book, and the audiobook.”

Anne of Green Gables, book:

 

In a word, delightful. This book is absolutely delightful!

It’s considered a classic, and for good reason. The story is full of so many good, solid, family values and that already makes it worthwhile; there are fewer of those each year.

 

Positivism and seeing the good in other people is an overwhelming theme, and other wonderful decencies include honesty, not falling for trends, sensitivity to people’s feelings, prayer (Matthew and Marilla are Presbyterian, although the book does not espouse any faith-specific ideas), respect, humility (apologizing! Anne needs to do this in abundance), imagination as a tool to improve our own lives, and above all, friendship.

Everyone wants a friend – Anne has wanted one all her life and had created two separate imaginary friends, Violetta and Katie, at two of the homes in which she resided – and here in Avonlea, she is lucky enough to find one.

 

Anne and Diana become bosoms friends, a real dream come true for the little redhead. True, they run into a slight hiccup when Anne unknowingly serves Diana currant wine instead of raspberry cordial during their long-awaited tea. But what’s friendship without your friend’s mother hating you for a while, at least until you save her other child because you happen to have a history of tending to sick youngsters?

 

All of these plot twists are written with such good humor, as though the author is observing the story with amusement twisting her lips and twinkling her eyes. One has to wonder if she doesn’t enjoy writing about the evolution of the adults in the characters – the rather-stodgy Marilla specifically, but also Matthew, Mrs. Rachel Lynde, the neighbor, and Diana’s mother – even more than the irrepressible Anne.

 

The writing is also marvelously descriptive without being at all tedious. When driving into Green Gables with Matthew, I wondered if Anne was visiting Eden. Anne wonders this herself and is quick to rename the tree-lined path and lake (and flower, etc) to reflect their infinite allure.

 

Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive– it’s such an interesting world.

 

To be honest… I feel a lot like Anne of Green Gables. It’s a real shame I didn’t grow up with this book myself, or I might have felt I had a comrade-in-pain over my frustratingly red hair and the terrible troublemaking personality that comes along with it. I’m a real imaginator and I love seeing the world for its possibilities.

 

Anne Shirley gives me such hope that the world really does have all this goodness in it, that bosom friends are real, and that I may yet live in a place with a White Way of Delight, Lover’s Lane, and Lake of Shining Waters.

 

Anne of Green Gables, audiobook:

 

I’ve only recently begun my foray into the world of audiobooks. I hadn’t wanted to listen to books for a long time because I’m a more visual learner but then I read an article about how once a person is a fluent reader, listening to a book is literally just like reading it.

Well, then. I got a membership to Audible (trial for 30 days, and then for $14.95/month, a free book each month, discounted prices, and unlimited exchanges) and I now say “I read a book” in reference to audiobooks. So far, my conquests include Harry Potter and Tom Sawyer (working on Huckleberry Finn now) and I was thrilled for opportunity to begin the famed Anne of Green Gables series during my commute (and also to entertain my hyperactive brain while I work).

 

I’m really, really happy with the narration. At the beginning, I got a bit nervous because there were 2 instances where the editing showed (a pause was too short, for example) but it didn’t happen again and it wasn’t strong enough to take away from my giving this audiobook 5 stars.

 

Colleen is obviously a professional actress and she plays multiple characters remarkably well. She adds such drama with her notes; it’s rather hard to all the time believe that it is all once voice. I definitely plan to check out more of her work now. I cannot think of a better, more accurate sound to Matthew, Marilla, Anne, Diana, or any of the lovely characters of Avonlea.

 

She really gave this book its due. A mediocre narrator could have ruined a true classic, but Colleen actually raised its grade. 6-out-of-5-stars, if such a ranking could exist! While Anne of Green Gables is geared toward a youthful audience, Colleen gives it a sophistication and an art that any adult (or at least a youthful one) would appreciate.

 

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

What’s Your Take?

 

How do you feel about this review? Did it tell you something you didn’t know or change your views in any way? Do you have your own thoughts about Anne of Green Gables or audiobooks in general? Is there a book or product you’d like to see reviewed? I want my ideas to benefit others so please leave feedback in the comments below!

 

AudiblePost Hypnotic Press

➜Use the code Anne_VT17 to get 35% off downloads and CDs from Post Hypnotic Press.

 

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This is the rest of the schedule of Audiobookworm reviews.

 

Jul. 30th:
History From A Woman’s Perspective
The Book Slayer
Spunky ‘N Sassy

Jul. 31st:
CGB Blog Tours
A Book and A Latte
Canadian Book Addict
Tara’s Book Addiction

Aug. 1st:
The Maiden’s Court
Book Reviews By Jasmine
Lilly’s Book World

Aug. 2nd:
2 Girls and A Book
Macarons and Paperbacks
Bound 4 Escape
WTF Are You Reading?

Aug. 3rd:
To Read Or Not To Read
Jorie Loves A Story
Notes From ‘Round the Bend
Haddie’s Haven
Hall Ways

Aug. 4th:
Lomeraniel
Joy of Bookworms
SMADA’s Book Smack
Warriors For Joy

Aug. 5th:
Buried Under Books
Life As Freya

 

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2 Comments

  1. […] Aug. 4th: Lomeraniel (Review, Spotlight + Audio Excerpt, Teasers, Giveaway) Joy of Bookworms (Review) SMADA's Book Smack (Review, Spotlight + Audio Excerpt, Giveaway) Warriors For Joy (Review) […]

  2. Carlyn Craig on August 5, 2017 at 5:28 AM

    Thanks for the great review! These books were a labour of love and I can’t imagine a better narrator than Colleen Winton, either!

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