Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily’s Quest are a three part series covering the life of Emily Byrd Starr for over a span of 15 years. When Emily is orphaned, she comes to live with her mother’s family – a family from whom her parents had been estranged after they married each other against their wishes. Now, she has nowhere else to go and must live at New Moon with her mother’s two unmarried sisters, Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Laura, and Cousin Jimmy, a distant cousin.
Enigmatic, mysterious, charming, intense, and sensitive to love and beauty, Emily changes the lives of those who live at New Moon forever. She comes to them with her heart ready to give love and receive it. But life at New Moon isn’t easy. She has to go to school and make new acquaintances, suffer many heartbreaks and learn not a few rules. In short, she must adapt to the changing conditions around her.
Along the way Emily makes some unique friends: Ilse Burnley, a hot-headed, impulsive and wild young girl. She is a distant cousin of Emily’s (all people in Blair Water are remotely related to eachother), and gives her the companionship she craves; Frederick “Teddy” Kent, a young boy who is a newcomer in Blair Water. He befriends the two girls during his recovery from an illness. Emily and Teddy, both artistic and dreamers, find happiness in each other’s company; Perry Miller, a young boy from Stovepipe Town who comes as a helper to New Moon after he meets Emily. Charming, but careless and crude, he and Ilse get into a lot of energetic fights; Dean Priest, an old acquaintance of her father and a distant relation, whom she meets one day under precarious circumstances. He motivates and brings out another side to Emily and she finds his friendship invigorating. With him, her imagination opens up and she explores a different world.
Emily Climbs follow Emily to her life at High School, away from New Moon, her developing relationship with the “Murrays”, her mother’s family, and her own artistic development as a writer. She finds she herself has many of the qualities of the proud Murrays and at many points must make a decision that will shape the future of her writing career.
In Emily’s Quest, Montgomery focuses more on Emily’s writing and how it shapes her personal life causing her some heartbreak. Like all of Montgomery’s heroines, love comes late into Emily’s life and she must force herself to grasp it before it goes out of her reach.
The Emily Series is a lot like the other novels Montgomery wrote: the story of a young girl. But the writing is more enjoyable. Published in 1923 the book has a more mature writing which she hadn’t achieved while writing the Anne series. Although Anne is more famous, both as a heroine and the Anne series as a whole, many critics and Montgomery herself preferred the Emily books. I have read the book many times and still every time I open it I can’t put it down! As I’ve said before, Montgomery writes not only for children, but for people of ALL ages. Her novels are a MUST read.
For my previous discussion on Montgomery, go HERE