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Before Green Gables: A Novel

Before Green Gables: A Novel

Written by Budge Wilson

Narrated by Renee Raudman


Before Green Gables: A Novel

Written by Budge Wilson

Narrated by Renee Raudman

ratings:
4.5/5 (39 ratings)
Length:
13 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 28, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176274
Format:
Audiobook

Description

A must-read for generations of book lovers, this remarkable prequel to the classic Anne of Green Gables was specially authorized by L. M. Montgomery's heirs to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of the original novel.



Before Green Gables is the story of Anne Shirley's life before her arrival at Green Gables-a heartwarming tale of a precocious child whose lively imagination and relentless spirit help her to overcome difficult circumstances and of a young girl's ability to love, learn, and above all, dream.



Published in 1908, L. M. Montgomery's coming-of-age classic Anne of Green Gables has enchanted generations of readers, both children and adults. The story of the spunky red-haired orphan from Prince Edward Island is known to millions, and copies of the eight titles in the series have never gone out of print. But when readers first meet Anne, she is only eleven and has just been sent from an orphanage to meet her new family. No one ever knew the events of Anne's life before she arrived at Green Gables. Until now.



For the millions of readers who devoured the Green Gables series, Before Green Gables is an irresistible treat: the account of how one of literature's most beloved heroines became the girl who captivated the world.
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 28, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176274
Format:
Audiobook

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What people think about Before Green Gables

4.4
39 ratings / 20 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    4.25 starsThis book tells the story of Anne Shirley before L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables books. AofGG starts when Anne is already 11 years old, and although we are given hints to her life before that, Budge Wilson has detailed that life for us. The book starts with Anne's parents before she was born, their deaths when Anne was only 3 months old, and Anne's life and all her hard work caring for all the Thomas's children, then the Hammonds' children (all those sets of twins!) when she was still a child herself, then her time at the orphanage before coming to PEI. I was really impressed with this book. I thought the author really captured Anne's personality. I was afraid she wouldn't be done justice, but I really liked this. I love Anne! I listened to the audio and thought the narrator did a very good job, as well. She also really captured Anne very well (and did a good job of the other characters and the narration, in general).
  • (5/5)
    An excellent book. I was charmed by it almost as much as I was by the original Green Gables books. The author obviously took great pains to make Anne's character the same as in the Green Gables books, and gives very plausible ideas as to where Anne got her knack for imagining, outlook to the world, and determined nature.

    Now, of course, I am reading Anne of Green Gables because the end of Before Green Gables flows so nicely into it.
  • (5/5)
    Very interesting. Is a story of Anne before she was adopted by the Cuthberts at Green Gables. The author paints a very hard childhood with her taking care children for poor families and in the process earning her keep. She loved words and treasured the occasional times she went to school. Very good for middle schoolers.Read while I laid around with bronchitis in January 2012.
  • (4/5)
    What was Anne's life like before Green Gables? What happened to her parents and how did she get such a big vocabulary?'Before Green Gables' offers an enjoyable insight into Anne as a youngster, just as brazen and sassy as we know her to be! Anne's parents die when she is a baby; she is taken in by a family who eventually uses her to help care for the children in the household. Their good intentions do not live up to her expectation but she makes the best of it with her favorite diversion- books!Pleasurable read for any Anne of Green Gables fan! However I agree with a previous reviewer--- there is no mention of her not liking her name. I would also add that she seems to have less of a temper. Only once did she seem to lose her cool, however no slates broken over anyone's head. She does not seem to be the fired up Carrots we've come to know but still glad to read about her early years!
  • (4/5)
    I listened to this book rather than read it. As a fan of all of L. M. Montgomery books I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book which tells the tale of Anne Shirley before she arrived at Green Gables. It was commissioned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Anne of Green Gables. When it appeared as a free down load from my library I thought what the heck, I'll listen to it.I'd never really thought much about where Anne came from. I don't really remember seeing any references to that aspect but apparently Budge Wilson combed through the Anne books to find references to Anne's pre-Green Gables life and lots of people gave her guidance. So, as I understand it, a lot of the story is based upon something Montgomery put in the later Anne novels. It would be interesting to know how close Wilson came to what Montgomery imagined.According to this book Anne's parents, who were school teachers, died when she was just 3 months old. Anne was taken in by the woman who looked after Anne's mother even though she already had a number of children. Anne was an unpaid labourer in that household from quite a young age. She was finally allowed to go to school and she blossomed there. However, when her adoptive father died in an accident the children were split up and Anne was taken by another woman with lots of children. Anne kept up her schooling despite having to do a lot of housework and the male teacher was from PEI. He talked about the Island and showed pictures and Anne vowed to get there some day. And she eventually did because again the father of the household died and the children were split up. That time Anne was sent to an orphanage but since that's where she was found and taken to PEI it all worked out.I though Anne in this incarnation was just a little too nice. She never held a grudge or let her temper get the better of her. The Anne of Green Gables that broke her slate over Gilbert's head never seemed to surface.Other than that this was a decent enough read and all Anne lovers should probably read it.
  • (5/5)
    Of course this is "before" the Anne of Green Gables most everyone has come to know and love and therefore it is only one author's completely made-up version of what might-have-been but I, for one, found the audio of this Anne absolutely delightful.
  • (5/5)
    I gave this book 5 stars because I really liked it. I'd always wondered what Anne's life was like before she met Marilla and Matthew and this author answered most of my questions. The book, a prequel to the Anne books, was written by Budge Wilson, an award-winning author in her own right. A very 'comfy' read.
  • (5/5)
    Stays true to LMM's storyline but since Anne's childhood before Green Gables held much tragedy that may need to be discussed and de-briefed, I'd use as a read-aloud for children under 10.
  • (2/5)
    I was pretty wary of reading this book because I LOVE the Anne books and was scared of this one ruining the story for me. However, Wilson did a great job of capturing the small town Canada lifestyle where children are more than plentiful and education is a prized virtue. That said, the first 100 pages or so were not interesting to me. Almost completely unrealistic. I felt Anne from birth to 4 years old was a little too smart/advanced and I just didn't believe in her. But thankfully, as she gets older and starts learning more, I really connected with her character and could see the spunky, loving and intelligent red-head that was such a part of my childhood.Not as good as the originals, but this book did make me want to curl up with all the Anne books and revisit PEI all over again!
  • (3/5)
    While it did no sacrilege to the LM Montgomery works, it lacked the charm and spirit of them. There is also not much in the novel that was not covered by the few sentences provided by Anne in Montgomery's novels.
  • (5/5)
    What was life like for Anne Shirley before she was adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Prince Edward Island? Budge Wilson has taken us back to just before Anne was born to meet her parents and she what a wondrous love they had for each other and the little girl they gave life to only to have that life together snuffed out so shortly after Anne is born. Anne then spends the next 12 years with two other families - not as an adopted child but more as a servant. She learns early how to cook and clean and take care of a family helping the woman of the house raise a large number of children, never quite being able to be a child herself. She learns to live with tragedy as after a time she must move on to another family until that fateful day when she steps onto Prince Edward Island for the first time and the rest is history!
  • (5/5)
    Can a gifted and spirited young soul shine in spite of a terrible home environment? I was curious to learn how the author would describe Anne Shirley's birth and orphaned childhood and end up with the lovable and spunky girl we all know from Anne of Green Gables. I'd say that Budge Wilson has done a good job writing in the style of L.M. Montgomery. A few scattered items in the writing indicate a 21st Century author unlike L.M. Montgomery. However, I'm not complaining since I am a 21st Century reader.The first characters we meet in the book are Anne's parents before she was born. They are portrayed as having the combination of personalities that were obviously inherited by their daughter-to-be. The reader learns what wonderful parents they would have been had they lived. Then the reader receives the devastating news that the little three month old orphaned Anne ends up in a dysfunctional foster family.I know this story is fictional. But I want to believe that it is possible for at least some children to persevere and thrive in spite of disadvantaged environments. Perhaps this book will inspire a young person somewhere to be like Anne. Actually, her example can inspire adults as well. The description of her joy of attending school for the first time is a good reminder of the joy we should all seek from learning new things.This books supports the rule that there is always a mentor or role model somewhere in the lives for those who transcend disadvantaged environments. This story can serve as a reminder of the influence that unrelated adults can sometimes have on the lives of children and young people by simply offering encouragement and being a role model.
  • (4/5)
    I thought this was a truly amazing book. It was a joy to read, simple and innocent. I do not remember reading Anne of Green Gables when I was young - I must not have, but after reading Budge Wilson's novel on Anne's early years - I had to know more, I had to find out what happened next! Loved her writing style - I am now reading Anne of Green Gables and so far have found Budge has keep true to the orignal Anne - in my opinion of course - as I stated above, I have not read the complete series yet - so definately cannot be considered an Anne expert. [Before Green Gables] grabbed my imagination and inspired me to find out more about the cheeky young Anne and her life on Prince Edwards Island. Delightful read, thank you Budge Wilson!
  • (4/5)
    The author does a decent job of capturing Anne's voice in this prequel. I enjoyed the vision of her life before Green Gables, even though it came off as quite bleak and sad.
  • (4/5)
    This prequel to Anne of Green Gables was so enjoyable and reminiscent of the first "real" book I ever read that now I am compelled to reread the original Anne. I could not tell this book was not written from beyond the grave by L.M. Montgomery. The amount of research that was done to accurately portray the lives and times of Anne's birth and young childhood was astounding. Anyone who loved the Anne books will love this prequel and learn what propelled this remarkable girl to be who she became. That she is a creation of fiction hardly matters at all.
  • (4/5)
    I expected not to like this novel. How could anyone who wasn't Lucy Maud Montgomery do a character like Anne Shirley justice? I was pleasantly surprised. Although Before Green Gables didn't have the exact same voice found in Anne of Green Gables and the stories that follow, it wasn't so far off as to cause problems connecting Before Green Gables to L.M. Montgomery's work. As the story open we are introduced to Anne's young parents, Walter and Bertha Shirley. Walter and Bertha are just the kind of people you would have imagined as parents for Anne. They are kind and loving and happy. The first part of the story progresses rapidly from there. Bertha discovers she is pregnant, gives birth to Anne and three months later her and Walter both die of fever. Anne is taken in by the Thompson family who were hoping that they would get Walter and Bertha's furniture and clothing in exchange for their good deed. The family has three daughters who leave home when Anne is still quite young and it is she who is left to look after the four sons who follow her arrival. When Anne is nine the head of the family, Bert Thompson, a life-long drunk, is killed and Anne is sent away from the only home she's ever known, although it wasn't much of a home. She is taken in by the Hammond family who need her help with their six children, all under the age of four. Shortly after Anne joins the Hammond family, Mrs. Hammond gives birth to her third set of twins and settles into a severe case of postpartum depression. Anne is left to look after the eight young children on her own. Mr. Hammond who has often complained of a fluttering heart dies two years later of a heart attack and it is at this point in the story that Anne is sent to the orphanage that eventually leads to her home on Prince Edward Island with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. Throughout the hardships of her young life Anne is able to take pleasure in the little glories that surround her. She loves learning and nature and is blessed with a very rich imagination. The author does a wonderful job of developing this part of Anne's character but neglects to include many instances of her getting into 'scrapes', which is a big part of what makes her so lovable in the original Anne novels. All in all, Wilson's account rings true to the Anne we know and love and is well worth the read for Anne fans.
  • (4/5)
    I thought the author did a good job of imitating Anne's voice, tastes and character. It reminded me of Syrie James' book, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, in that regard -- it didn't sound exactly like the original author, but close enough that you didn't mind.The only thing that bothered me about the book was that it was DEPRESSING. Not consistently so, but by page 350 I was thinking, "Please, let something good happen. Please." One of my favorite things about the series was that it was so positive, and any setbacks that did occur were mild -- Marilla giving Anne plain dresses, etc. At first, Before Green Gables had that cozy, escapist feeling, too; but after a while, to borrow Anne's words, it was "mired in the depths of despair."Fortunately, it had a happy ending. I don't think I'm giving anything away (but stop reading if you're worried) when I say that it ends with her heading toward Green Gables. I mean, the book is called Before Green Gables, and everyone knows what happens next. I thought the ending was really well-done, getting into Anne's head and showing how she was leaving all her past experiences, good and bad, "on the other side of the Northumberland Strait."This would explain why the characters in this book aren't really referenced in Anne's subsequent life -- an omission that bothered some reviewers. It made sense to me, and helped explain how Anne got over her early tragedies.In summary, I would say if you're worried about inconsistent tone or bad writing, there's no cause for concern. But if it would really bother you to see Anne undergoing some fairly extreme hardship (albeit with a happy ending), that might be an issue. I don't regret reading it, but I think some of the events could have been softened a little.
  • (5/5)
    I have always loved Anne of Green Gables and this book made the story of Anne even more wonderful
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    What a tear-jerker! We all know the story told by Lucy Maud Montgomery of the orphan girl Anne Shirley who arrives at the age of eleven on Prince Edward Island to make her home with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. This prequel was written to celebrate the book's centennial. It gives the story of Anne's life prior to her arrival on PEI. It's been awhile since I've read the Anne series so I'm a bit foggy on whether all the aspects of the story correspond to the hints provided in Montgomery's books, but this one does make for some interesting reading. Just be sure to have a box of tissues handy! I actually listened to this via an Overdrive download. I thought the narrator did an excellent job.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (2/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This is a difficult review for me to write. I so wanted to love this book, and yet somehow, I didn't. I am still trying to sort out why, so bear with me.As I have said (many times) before, Anne of Green Gables is my favourite novel of all time, and the entire series is one that I reread yearly. It's not that I think they are the greatest things ever written, but they were a big part of my childhood. Also, I really do think that L.M. Montgomery was a very talented author - her books are charming and touching, and Anne is a unique character. We see her grow from a skinny little eleven-year-old to a mother of six children, and even though she obviously matures, the qualities she possessed as a child are still evident in the adult. These qualities - her bookishness, her descriptive way of speaking, her vivid imagination, and her ability to make ever so many mistakes - form a character who I know and love as though she was an actual person in my life.So, when the heirs of L.M. Montgomery commissioned a prequel to Anne of Green Gables as a marking of its 100 year anniversary, I was apprehensive. Would another author be able to capture the essence of Anne? Would she be faithful to the original, or would she take liberties with the story? Most of all, did I really need to read about Anne's life before Green Gables - if Montgomery did not feel the need to write about it, then do I need to read about it?However, I had seen some favourable reviews of Before Green Gables, and so I went ahead and bought it, and read it. Am I glad - not really. Will it ruin my enjoyment of the "Anne" series - definitely not. Was it a faithful prequel - well, I guess it depends on the reader.Before Green Gables is not a bad book. In fact, there were parts that I really enjoyed. I loved seeing Anne's parents, and understanding from where her personality came, and the ending - Anne's journey to Bright River, where she would meet Matthew Cuthbert - was fantastic. The rest was....well, just ok. An Anne fan, someone who has read the series once or twice, would probably enjoy this book. For me, an avid L.M.M. reader, and someone who can quote large passages of her books, Before Green Gables just missed the mark.Wilson's Anne was still intelligent, still a book-lover, and still spoke using words far too advanced for her age. However, she wasn't quite the imaginative, curious girl that I have come to love, and her affinity for getting into "scrapes" was totally missing. As well, Wilson did not explain some of Anne's ideas - for example, Anne wanted Marilla Cuthbert to call her "Cordelia" - a name that Anne found much more romantic. Nowhere in Before Green Gables is the name Cordelia mentioned - where did Anne first hear this name?Anne's speech was off too. Her love of words was evident, but Montgomery's Anne loved to talk - never stopped talking, in fact - and this wasn't really a quality of Wilson's Anne. Essentially, I think Wilson was more concerned with writing about Anne's story than writing about Anne's personality. The plot followed Anne from birth right up until the moment she stepped off the train in Bright River, and Wilson certainly wrote a story full of tragic episodes. She created an intense contrast between Anne's life before Green Gables and her life after, and I definitely felt pity for Anne - but that unfailing spirit, that ability to use imagination in times of trouble, well, that was missing.So, if you read Anne of Green Gables as a child, you will probably enjoy learning about Anne's early life. If, like me, you are an Anne extremist....well, then I wouldn't recommend Before Green Gables.

    1 person found this helpful