Anne of the Island is the third book in the Anne of Green Gables series, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery about Anne Shirley.
Anne of the Island was published in 1915, seven years after the bestselling Anne of Green Gables. In the continuing story of Anne Shirley, Anne attends Redmond College in Kingsport, where she is studying for her BA.
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Anne leaves Green Gables and her work as a teacher in Avonlea to pursue her original dream (which she gave up inAnne of Green Gables) of taking further education at Redmond College in Nova Scotia. Gilbert Blythe and Charlie Sloane enroll as well, as does Anne’s friend from Queen’s Academy, Priscilla Grant. During her first week of school, Anne befriends Philippa Gordon, a beautiful girl whose frivolous ways charm her. Philippa (Phil for short) also happens to be from Anne’s birthplace of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia.
The girls spend their first year in boardinghouses and decide to set up house thereafter in a lovely cottage called Patty’s Place, near campus. The girls enter their second year at Redmond happily ensconced at Patty’s Place, along with Queen’s classmate Stella Maynard and her “Aunt Jimsie” (their chaperone), while life continues in Avonlea. Diana Barry becomes engaged to Fred Wright and Davy and Dora continue to keep Marilla busy.
Midway through their college years, Gilbert Blythe, who has always loved Anne, proposes to her but Anne rejects him; although she and Gilbert are very close, she holds sentimental fantasies about true love (all featuring a tall, dark, handsome, inscrutable hero) and does not recognize her true feelings for Gilbert. Gilbert leaves, his heart broken, and the two drift apart.
Anne’s childhood friend Ruby Gillis dies of consumption very soon after finding her own true love. Anne later welcomes the courtship of Roy Gardiner, a darkly handsome Redmond student who showers her with attention and poetic gestures. However, when he proposes after two years, Anne abruptly realizes that Roy does not really belong in her life, and that she had only been in love with the idea of him as the embodiment of her romantic image of love.
Anne is so ashamed in how she treated Roy that she feels her entire Redmond experience may have been spoiled. She returns to Green Gables, a “full-fledged B.A.”, but finds herself a bit lonely. Diana gives birth to her first child, and Jane Andrews, an old school friend, marries a Winnipeg millionaire. Having received an offer to be the principal of the Summerside school in the fall, Anne is keeping herself occupied over the summer when she learns that Gilbert is gravely ill with typhoid fever. With shock, Anne finally realizes how deep her true feelings for Gilbert are, and endures a white night of fear that he will leave this world without knowing that she does care. In the morning, Anne gratefully learns that Gilbert will survive. Gilbert recovers over the summer, bolstered by a letter from Phil assuring him that there is really nothing between Anne and Roy. After several visits to Green Gables, Gilbert and Anne take a late summer walk in Hester Gray’s garden, and finally become engaged.
The title of the book reflects the development of Anne. While studying away from Prince Edward Island and in particular when visiting the place of her birth, she finds herself identifying the Island as her true home. Several times, she denies being a ‘Blue Nose’, as those born in Nova Scotia were nicknamed, considering herself an Islander to the core.
Anne Shirley – Now a student at Redmond College, Anne has become an elegant, smart young woman.
Marilla Cuthbert – The stern, upright woman who took Anne in when she was just a girl, Marilla has now become a loving mother figure to Anne. She continues to live at Green Gables with the twins, Davy and Dora Keith who are her dead second cousins children.
Gilbert Blythe – Anne’s childhood rival and now good friend. Gilbert is now studying at Redmond College and is in Anne’s class. After many years, he finally admits his love for Anne and proposes to her. He is rejected the first time but after falling ill and proposing again Anne accepts it.
Charlie Sloane – An old schoolmate who has feelings for Anne, but who Anne has always felt indifferent towards and is now in her class at Redmond College. He proposes to Anne but is rejected.
Priscilla Grant – Anne’s friend from Queen’s Academy, Priscilla is one of Anne’s roommates at Patty’s Place.
Stella Maynard – Anne’s friend from Queen’s Academy, Stella is one of Anne’s roommates at Patty’s Place.
Philippa Gordon – Anne’s new friend from Redmond College, Philippa (or Phil for short) is playful and charming and can’t choose between her beaus. However, she is also a loyal friend and plays an essential role in bringing Anne and Gilbert together at the end.
Royal Gardner – A handsome Redmond student who Anne at first thinks is her dream man having become friends after he shared his umbrella with her. He courts Anne for two years. Anne is at first enamored by his romantic gestures, but eventually finds him rather dull and humorless and rejects his proposal.
Diana Barry – Anne’s kindred spirit since childhood. The two remain best friends, even as Diana marries and starts a family.
Davy Keith – One of the twins who Marilla took in, Davy is mischievous but sweet at heart, and idolizes Anne. He has fair, fuzzy ringlets all over his head, one dimple, roguish hazel eyes, a snub nose and is often smiling.
Dora Keith – Dora, Davy’s sister, is completely the contrary of her brother. She does everything she is told without mistake and is very docile. She has sleek curls, hazel eyes, a straight nose and “prunes and prisms” mouth.
Rachel Lynde – Formerly Marilla and Anne’s neighbour, who has since moved to Green Gables after the death of her husband Thomas. While she is outspoken and demanding, she is well-intentioned and kindhearted.
Ruby Gillis – Anne’s childhood friend. Ruby is fair and beautiful and prepared to marry when she discovers that she is gravely ill and dies later in the book.
Jane Andrews – Anne’s childhood friend. Jane is a teacher who meets and marries an older millionaire, much to Mrs. Andrews’ delight.
Billy Andrews – Jane’s slow-witted brother, who is Anne’s first proposal. Too bashful to go courting, he uses his sister as an intermediary. Anne is disappointed but amused at how unromantic the whole situation is so she rejects him.