May Reading List & Garden Update
I read some lovely books this month! I totaled nine books read in May (seven new books and two rereads). One of my favorites from this month was Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes, which just released at the end of April. I found it incredibly hard to put the book down; it was set in Maine (one of my favorite literary locales!), and the story was spellbinding with a beautifully uplifting message and memorable characters. Another favorite was When Patty Went to College by Jean Webster, first published in 1901. This author is better-known for one of her later books, Daddy-Long-Legs, but I found this book even more humorous and entertaining. It’s more like a string of short stories than a novel, and while this format can be dull in some volumes, this one kept up a good pace.
L.M. Montgomery’s The Golden Road was another delightful book from May, full of the delicious descriptions and characterizations that I love about Montgomery’s novels. While the first half of this one is funny and episodic, the second half is heartwarming and compelling. Another book I enjoyed immensely was Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson, which is set in 1919 San Francisco and features a 17-year-old girl who longs to be a reporter. I also re-read The Midnight Visitor by Margaret Sutton, one of my favorite Judy Bolton mysteries, and Katie John by Mary Calhoun, a favorite from age 10 or so that I still love reading. I also read some fun vintage mysteries!
I’ve started another reread of Jane of Lantern Hill, my all-time favorite novel. It’s always a treat to slip back into this wonderful world, and summer seems like the perfect time to revisit Jane and her father and their marvelous summer home on Prince Edward Island. Last December I reread Anne of Windy Poplars and was struck by the similarities of one of its subplots to the incidents of Jane. The subplot of Little Elizabeth seemed remarkably akin to Jane’s story, and since Windy Poplars was published in 1936, just year prior to Jane, I wondered if L.M. Montgomery was inspired to expand it into a full-length novel. Then I read one of Montgomery’s short stories from 1934, entitled Tomorrow Comes, and realized that it is actually the original story—Windy Poplars and Jane are both derivative versions! In fact, verbatim passages from both books appear in the original short story. All three tales are simply enchanting, so if you haven’t read them yet, do so right away! (But Jane is the best, so if you’re only going to read one, choose this one!)
This month I finished writing two major projects from this spring, a novella called The Joy Cottage and the third novel in my historical series, Every Beautiful Gift. Having finished these two, I’m hoping to work on some short stories—I have so many ideas floating through my head, I can’t wait to explore some of them!
I just finished the first draft of my latest #workinprogress! It’s a romance comedy/drama novella set at a lake cottage in 1946, and it’s been an absolute breeze to write ❤️📖😍 pic.twitter.com/uaKHvyTddL
— Anna Rose Johnson (@GymnasticsRosie) May 15, 2019
The garden is so beautiful right now! Everything is just beginning—all the young blooms are here or getting ready to arrive. I am so excited about my creamy-white marigolds, and they are going to be *so many* strawberries soon! The forget-me-nots are always a lovely treat as well this time of year. I’m especially pleased that my blue-grape hyacinths have come up for the second year in a row—I initially planted the bulbs in the fall of 2017. (As you might recall, these flowers appear the Pat books by L.M. Montgomery; they grow at Silver Bush!)
But at last they were throwing open the windows to let in the spring and Pat learned all over again how lovely young cherry trees were, waving whitely in green twilights, and the scent of apple blossoms in moonlight, and the colonies of blue grape-hyacinths under the dining-room windows. – Mistress Pat