Jean Free, a library consultant, is a retired public-school teacher and
librarian in Whitby, Ontario.
The Road to Avonlea series of novels for junior-grade students continues
with these three new titles. Events are based on the TV programs and are
loosely adapted from the original stories by Lucy Maud Montgomery. All
titles include four pages of black-and-white photographs taken from the
series, as well as large, bright color pictures of the main characters
on the front cover.
Heather Conkie’s Sara’s Homecoming finds young Sara Stanley
returning from Avonlea to her Montreal home, where she happily meets her
father. When tragedy strikes, she returns to the King farm, where she
consults a medium and is held for ransom. This well-written novel
captures an orphan child’s loneliness and longing while achieving a
In Aunt Hetty’s Ordeal, Gail Hamilton writes of the schoolteacher’s
misadventures when the newly appointed provincial superintendent comes
to visit Avonlea school. An interesting young man, Gus Pike, returns to
school to learn to read and write because “There’s plenty to learn .
. . ’bout anything—if you got the hunger.”
Fiona McHugh’s Of Corsets and Secrets and True True Love concerns two
old friends, Marilla Cuthbert and Rachel Lynde, who now live together at
Green Gables and violently disagree over Marilla’s giving a home to
orphan twins, Rachel and Davy Keith. Differences are resolved and the
story ends happily.
This series continues to catch the spirit of the original books while
adding a good deal of conversation and action. The authors have a good
ear for the expressions of the period (“get his dander up,”
“rapscallion,” “too big for his britches”) and for helping the
reader visualize the clothing, homes, and communities in rural Canada.
An appealing set of books for 9- to 11-year olds who have watched the TV
programs and like the comfortable feeling that a series can produce.