The Doctor’s Sweetheart:

And Other Stories

by L.M. Montgomery

Brief Summary: In this collection of 14 short stories (selected by Catherine McLay), L.M. Montgomery explores the many forms of love and the many ways love is discovered and employed.

Kell’s Chatty Review: Short stories are an interesting form of writing – they can easily seem rather rushed to me and some of these in particular are ridiculously rushed (there’s one that is only five mass market paperback pages). However, the selection of stories ranges from the odd to the sentimentally sweet and, all in all, I did enjoy them. And, I mean, it’s Lucy Maud. There was no way I wasn’t going to give them a shot.

The best part: was reading LMM’s romantic descriptions and brilliant similes and metaphors (as it is with all of her books). The characters might not have been fleshed out, but darn it if she didn’t get to talk about the scenery! (I say that in loving jest. It just cracks me up that in an 8-page story she talked about a garden for three whole pages.)

Least Favorite Story (with spoilers): The Promise of Lucy Ellen – I had an inkling I wasn’t going to like this one from the start. Two friends that had promised to become old maids together and were quite content until an old beau of one (the Lucy Ellen from the title) comes back a-courtin’ again. The nerve! And in the end, the friend “allows” Lucy Ellen to marry the dude and move out and resigns herself to “wish [she] were dead (pg. 66).” Well that’s just swell.

Favorite Story (with spoilers): I Know a Secret was absolutely delicious to read. Also, it strayed from the mostly adult perspectives in the collection and was from the perspective of a young girl (which, we all know, LMM does best). There was also a pretty wicked friend (who I was enamored with), a plot twist and the love part of the story came completely last minute and surprised me (in a short story none-the-less!).

The Bride is Waiting: was another favorite of mine – lots of pent-up emotion in that one, but even though it didn’t win the overall prize, it had the best LMM quip in the entire book:

“It was late July and Cat’s Ladder [the name of a house] was complete in every detail. Susan went over it and its perfection tore anew at her heart. That it should be wasted on a child whose only conception of a house was a place to eat and sleep in, during the intervals of making whoopee. She had gathered from Ellery that Juanita was fond of a good time. Ellery really talked too much about Juanita.”

Oh Lucy Maud. How delighted was I by that passage? “Making whoopee?” “Fond of a good time?” Brilliant.

Where this collection of short-stories came from: My lovely LMM collection.

But: You can probably find all 14 stories in one of her short-story collections that are available for free on the ‘net because they are in the public domain. I have like 12 different sets of the same short stories (nearly 500!) from various publishers for my ereader. True Story. (and sad story.)

Relatedly: While trying to find a link for aforementioned freely available copies (try B&N, Project Gutenberg, the Book Depository or the Sony eReader Store -all have them), I discovered that I Know a Secret was adapted into a short film! Now if only I can figure out how to watch it…

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