So You Want to Read L. M. Montgomery? Here’s a Guide to ALL Her Novels!

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L. M. Montgomery published twenty novels between 1908 and 1939. Here’s a list of each of her series in order, as well as standalone novels, and sneak-peak summaries of each one so you can decide which to read next!

Tall stack of paperback novels by L. M. Montgomery

It’s hard to find an author more deeply loved by her fans than L. M. Montgomery. We enjoy matching wits with Agatha Christie and we’re entertained and impressed with Shakespeare, but Montgomery touches us on a deep level. For those that love her, Montgomery’s books fill us with nostalgia, make us long for beauty, and show us a mirror of our own changing natures: sometimes restless, sometimes overflowing with contentment, always seeking and savouring.

For all her faults (and of course she has some), Montgomery has one of the hallmarks of a great author, and that’s the ability to speak to us at any age we come to her. Her books meant so much to me when I was little, and they mean so much to me now. Re-reading them is a field of Happiness, a Violet Vale, a Rainbow Valley in which to linger.

Luckily for us fans, L. M. Montgomery was a pretty prolific author, giving us twenty novels to read, reread, and treasure. If you’ve ever wondered what other books Montgomery wrote besides Anne of Green Gables, or if you’re aware of the titles but want a bit more to go on, this post is your quickstart guide!

And a quick aside: You should consider yourself a Montgomery fan even if you’ve only ever read and loved the first Anne book! No gatekeeping here! You just get to look forward to all the Montgomery books you haven’t read yet!

About L. M. Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1874. Her mother died when she was a baby, and her father placed her in the care of her maternal grandparents. She was a somewhat solitary but very imaginative child, and had early dreams of becoming a writer. By the time Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, she had already written more than 100 stories for newspapers and magazines.

Like her heroine Anne, Montgomery taught school on Prince Edward Island as a young woman. Her marriage in 1911 to Ewan MacDonald, a Presbyterian minister, took her away from the island; the couple settled in Ontario where Rev. MacDonald had accepted a position. Montgomery continued to write voraciously as a way to bring income and sometimes as a form of escapism. She lived through many difficult things including the birth of a stillborn child, a near-death bout of the Spanish flu, and grappling with her own and her husband’s depression.

Although her books don’t shy away from life’s tragedies, they never fail to express the beauty of life, either.

If you’re participating in our 2024 Classics Reading Challenge, May’s theme is to read a novel or short story collection by L. M. Montgomery. Join us!

Anne of Green Gables Books in Order

The chronological reading order of the Anne of Green Gables series is actually not the same as the publication order! Although L. M. Montgomery wrote eight novels for the Anne series, books 4 and 7 were written and published after book 8. But I definitely recommend you read them in chronological order, as listed below. (This isn’t a “should I read The Magician’s Nephew first or sixth” matter of taste; the timeline is important here as it follows Anne’s life events sequentially.)

Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables (1908)

Montgomery’s best-known novel was also the first one she wrote! Anne Shirley, the precocious orphan with her iconic red hair, comes to Prince Edward Island to live with elderly brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. But the Cuthberts are quite surprised when they meet Anne, as they actually had asked the orphanage for a boy, hoping he could help with farm labor! This novel sees Anne grow from an awkward outsider to a beloved member of the Avonlea community.

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables)

Anne of Avonlea (1909)

Anne Shirley, now 16 and graduated from Queen’s Academy, gets her first job as a teacher at the Avonlea school. In addition to her teaching duties, she continues to develop her friendships with Diana and Gilbert, meets eccentric villagers, and helps Marilla raise orphan twins who come to live at Green Gables. If you love spending time in Avonlea, this is the book for you, as it all takes place there!

Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables)

Anne of the Island (1915)

Anne leaves behind her beloved Prince Edward Island in order to attend Redmond College in Nova Scotia. Thankfully, Gilbert enrolls, too, and Anne reconnects with old classmates from Queen’s. Although written over a hundred years ago, Anne of the Island has the nostalgic-familiar college feel you might’ve experienced yourself, as Anne discovers the joys of setting up house with her girlfriends, navigates romantic conundrums, and revels in her visits home to Green Gables.

Anne of Windy Poplars

Anne of Windy Poplars, also published as Anne of Windy Willows (1936)

At 22, Anne has completed her studies at Redmond College and takes a job as the principal of a high school in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. But Anne soon learns that Summerside will be her biggest challenge yet. The city is dominated by the insular Pringle family, who resent Anne for gaining the principal position over one of their own. They’re determined to make life difficult for her; but of course, they’re not prepared for the grit, resourcefulness, and sense of humor Anne’s got on her side!

If you love epistolary novels, you’ll be excited to read Anne of Windy Poplars, as much of the narrative is told through Anne’s letters to Gilbert, who is working through medical school.

Anne's House of Dreams (Anne of Green Gables)

Anne’s House of Dreams (1917)

The halfway point in the Anne series, Anne’s House of Dreams is about Anne and Gilbert’s newlywed years. After their wedding at Green Gables, they move to a little cottage by the sea near the village of Four Winds Point, where Gilbert is starting his medical practice. Despite her abiding love for Green Gables, Anne revels in the joy of establishing a home of her own as she and Gilbert begin building their life together and meet new kindred spirits.

Anne of Ingleside

Anne of Ingleside (1939)

Now with five children, Anne and Gilbert have moved to a big house they call Ingleside. In this book, Anne shares the spotlight with her children; some chapters explore Anne’s grown-up world, while others feature her children’s escapades.

Although chronologically the sixth in the series, Anne of Ingleside was the last novel Maud published. It pays beautiful homage to all the earlier chapters in Anne’s life, almost as if Maud herself was saying goodbye. Anne visits her old childhood haunts, and reminisces about Redmond College and Four Winds Point and many of the people in her past.

Rainbow Valley (Anne of Green Gables)

Rainbow Valley (1919)

Anne plays a background role in Rainbow Valley. Her six children are growing up, and this is primarily their story. The Blythe children become fast friends with the four Meredith children, who come to the village when their widowed father is installed as the new minister. The children’s favourite place to gather is a sheltered valley near Ingleside, which they dub “Rainbow Valley,” and imbue with magic, just as Anne once did with her childhood landmarks in Avonlea.

Rilla of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables)

Rilla of Ingleside (1921)

In the final novel of the Anne of Green Gables series, Anne’s youngest child, Rilla, is the heroine. Rilla is now a teenager and tired of being the “baby” of the family. But in spite of wanting to be treated more grown up, Rilla is more interested in having fun than anything. She lacks ambition and seems content to coast through life, until World War I breaks out and turns her life upside down. All of the boys she knows–including her three brothers–go off to fight, and Rilla is forced to grow up as she strives to do her part on the homefront.

King Family Books in Order

The Story Girl

The Story Girl (1911)

The Story Girl and its sequel, The Golden Road, are the only two of Montgomery’s novels that are narrated in the first person, and both are told from the perspective of a male protagonist. Beverley King and his brother Felix have come to Prince Edward Island for an extended summer stay with their aunt and uncle. Together with their cousins and two neighbor children, they form a tight–if occasionally squabbling–friend group. Their cousin Sara is an excellent storyteller, and she spins tales for them whenever inspiration strikes or someone begs her for a story. If you can’t choose a preference between novels and short stories, The Story Girl is for you, as it combines Sara’s story episodes with a linked narrative.

The Story Girl is one of Montgomery’s more autobiographical books, and reflects many of the fond memories she had with her own cousins.

The Golden Road (The Story Girl)

The Golden Road (1913)

The Golden Road continues Beverley’s reminiscences about his boyhood adventures on Prince Edward Island. Winter has arrived, and the group of friends decide to write a monthly magazine to while away the cold, dark days. With more character growth and a longer span of time, The Golden Road takes the children through all the seasons, interspersing their daily life with humorous excerpts from their magazine.

Emily of New Moon Books in Order

Emily of New Moon[EMILY OF NEW MOON][Paperback]

Emily of New Moon (1923)

When Emily Starr becomes an orphan, her mother’s estranged relatives are undecided over who should have the burden of raising her. Emily feels unwanted at New Moon Farm, but thankfully, she finds solace in her writing and forms a tight-knit friend group that promises to make life sweet again. 

Emily’s series has darker tints than Anne’s, but this fits her personality. Emily is an introvert and has a more melancholy nature (although I’m sure Emily and Anne would’ve been friends if they had known each other).

Emily Climbs: A Virago Modern Classic (Emily Trilogy)

Emily Climbs (1925)

The second book in the Emily series is Emily’s high school story. Emily and her friends begin attending Shrewsbury High School in a neighboring town, but Emily is not pleased with the arrangements. First, she has to board with her dower Aunt Ruth, who is not particularly fond of Emily. And worse still, Emily has been forced to give up writing fiction during her high school years. She doubles down on writing true stories instead, and we are treated to many of her diary entries interspersed throughout the narrative.

Emily's Quest (Emily Novels)

Emily’s Quest (1927)

Emily is 17 now and back at New Moon. Her relatives have grown to respect her and love her dearly, but Emily feels lonely with her three closest friends all moved away. Once again she finds solace in writing, and with the ban on fiction lifted, she can finally work on producing a novel to be proud of. Emily’s Quest is Montgomery’s most melancholy book, bittersweet all the way through. 

Pat of Silver Bush Books in Order

Pat of Silver Bush

Pat of Silver Bush (1933)

Pat Gardiner is unique among Maud’s heroines for not being an orphan or a partial orphan! Pat lives with her parents, four siblings, and beloved housekeeper Judy Plum. If you can believe it, Pat loves her home Silver Bush even more than Anne loves Green Gables or Emily loves New Moon Farm. The place, the traditions, and the people of Silver Bush are everything to Pat, a sufficient world unto themselves. This first book follows Pat from age 7 to age 18. 

Mistress Pat

Mistress Pat (1935)

Pat hates change worse than anything, and unluckily for her, changes are coming to Silver Bush. She and her siblings are growing up, and in some ways growing apart. This sequel sees Pat through her twenties as she navigates beaus, family conflict, and above all her struggle to cling to the home she holds dear.

List of Stand-Alone Novels by L. M. Montgomery

Kilmeny of the Orchard (L.M. Montgomery Books)

Kilmeny of the Orchard (1910)

Unique for having a male protagonist, Kilmeny of the Orchard presents Eric Marshall, an extremely eligible bachelor with no plans to get married any time soon. Fresh out of college, Eric agrees to take a substitute teaching position on Prince Edward Island as a favor to a friend. He thinks he’ll find little to interest him besides the scenery–and certainly no one to change his mind about matrimony! But in an overgrown orchard he happens upon Kilmeny, a girl beyond his wildest dreams. Her only flaw, it seems, is that she’s completely mute.

This short, fairytale-esque novel is L. M. Montgomery at her most melodramatic. The plot actually feels like something Anne Shirley would’ve written for her Story Club!

The Blue Castle

The Blue Castle (1926)

Although today it’s marketed as a young adult novel, The Blue Castle was one of only two novels Montgomery specifically wrote for adults, and has more mature themes, such as an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. At 29 years old, Valancy Stirling comes to realise that her life is disappointing and dull–and that she has contributed to this sad state by letting her overbearing relatives dictate her life. The only thing that sustains her is her imaginary Blue Castle that she escapes to in her mind. But when Valancy receives a piece of shocking news, she decides it’s high time to go after her dreams, even if she scandalizes all her relatives in the process.

Another interesting thing about The Blue Castle is that it’s the only Montgomery novel set completely outside Prince Edward Island. The setting is based on Lake Muskoka, and Bala, Ontario, a resort town where Montgomery vacationed with her husband and two sons and which she called “the only place I’ve ever been in that could be my Island’s rival in my heart.”

Magic for Marigold

Magic for Marigold (1929)

Montgomery’s youngest heroine, Marigold Lesley is a baby when the story begins, and reaches age twelve by the book’s end. Although her father died when Marigold was a baby, she lives a charmed life, living with her mother in the family estate, Cloud of Spruce, and surrounded by loving relatives. Marigold has various adventures visiting relatives, playing with her imaginary friend Sylvia, and taking care of her beloved cats. Montgomery originally published parts of Magic for Marigold as short stories before working them into a novel, so this book is particularly episodic, but a sweet portrait of childhood nonetheless!

A Tangled Web

A Tangled Web (1931)

Montgomery’s other novel for adults, A Tangled Web doesn’t feature one main heroine or hero but rather a massive cast made up of two extended families, the Darks and the Penhallows, who have a “tradition” of marrying across their two clans. Aunt Becky, the aging matriarch of the complicated family tree, summons her relatives to her sick bed to read out her obituary and will. Everyone is intensely curious to hear how she’ll dispose of a hideous heirloom jug they all want, but Aunt Becky throws them for a loop. She declares that the recipient of the jug will be revealed in one year’s time, and they must all try to deserve it by then if they want it. The stage is set for a mess of petty squabbles, old wounds reopened or healed, self-realizations both painful and sweet, regrets and new resolutions as the plot twists and meanders through all the characters’ lives.

Word of warning: There’s a racial slur at the very end of the book. I feel like it’s worth knowing this going in so you won’t be blindsided by a novel you might otherwise enjoy. (Although admittedly, some people don’t like Maud’s satiric side, so this might not be the book for you anyway if you’re looking for sweetness!)

Jane of Lantern Hill

Jane of Lantern Hill (1937)

Eleven-year-old Jane lives in a big fancy house in Toronto with her mother, aunt, and dictatorial grandmother. After years of no contact with her father, he writes to her out of the blue and asks that she come live with him for the summer on Prince Edward Island. Jane is reluctant to go, little knowing that the Island is home to many of the things she longs for: a purpose, a sense of place, and a newfound promise for the future.

Of all of Montgomery’s novels, I felt like Jane was the tidiest in terms of plot and structure; it reads like Newberry Medal material!

Interestingly, Maud began work on a sequel to Jane of Lantern Hill in 1939, but it remained incomplete at the time of her death in 1942.

Read my full review of Jane of Lantern Hill here (plus get a related recipe!)

Paperback editions of novels by L. M. Montgomery: Anne of Avonlea, Emily Climbs, Kilmeny of the Orchard, and others

List of Short Story Collections by L. M. Montgomery

L. M. Montgomery wrote over 500 short stories, many of which were published in newspapers and periodicals. In fact, short stories are how she got her start as an author, before she published novels. Only two collections of her short stories were published during her lifetime, but there are several posthumous collections. Perhaps the most significant contribution here was made by Montgomery fan and scholar Rea Wilmshurst, who painstakingly compiled and transcribed eight short story volumes, each based around a particular theme. Many of these books are no longer in print, so if you ever see a copy at a used bookstore, snap it up!

Other Works by L. M. Montgomery

My Favourite L. M. Montgomery Books, Ranked

Okay, so just for fun (?!), I’ve tortured myself into ranking Montgomery’s books! This ranking will invariably change as I re-read various books and enter different life seasons. From favourite to least favourite (which even the “least favourites” aren’t dislikes), my ranking as it currently stands is…

  • Anne of the Island
  • Anne’s House of Dreams
  • The Blue Castle (This may actually be my favourite Montgomery novel, but since it feels like such a separate case I can’t in good conscience put it above an Anne book.)
  • Emily of New Moon
  • Emily Climbs
  • Pat of Silver Bush
  • Mistress Pat
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Anne of Ingleside
  • Rilla of Ingleside
  • Anne of Avonlea
  • Emily’s Quest
  • Jane of Lantern Hill
  • Rainbow Valley
  • The Story Girl
  • Anne of Windy Poplars
  • A Tangled Web
  • Kilmeny of the Orchard (it’s been the longest since I’ve read this, so hard to know how to rank!)
  • Magic for Marigold
  • The Golden Road (haven’t read)

What is your favourite L. M. Montgomery novel? Who are your favourite characters? Which fictional Montgomery house would you best like to live in? Share away, kindred spirits!

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21 Comments

  1. Elsie. Really and truly a fantastic study of LM Montgomery’s books. Best I’ve ever seen. Loved that you ranked them too. Of course I’ve got my own list (not too far from yours actually). Maybe Rilla would be a bit higher, but it’s just personal choice really isn’t it. For the reading challenge I’m going to go for Kilmeny of The Orchard and Jane of Lantern Hill cos I’ve read most of the others. Funnily the only Montgomery book I shelved and haven’t read again was The Story Girl and therefore didn’t read The Golden Road. Thanks Elsie anyway for what must have taken you ages to do and is really, really appreciated by all of us that follow Tea and Ink.

    1. Thank you! I really love the character growth in Rilla. She has such a different life than her mother did, the way she grows up with two parents and so many siblings, babied by the family in some ways. But just like Anne had trials, the war really shakes things up for Rilla with her previously “charmed” life. She becomes a tried-and-true heroine in her own right.

      You’re going to see such a difference in maturity in the writing between Kilmeny and Jane! Jane is such a finely-constructed novel, and really pitch-perfect. You have to be patient with Kilmeny and suspend disbelief in some ways, but it is a nice fairy tale and contains LMM’s hallmark depictions of the beauty of PEI.

  2. This is a really helpful post! Montgomery is a favorite author of mine. My list is a little different, but agree with you about “Blue Castle.” “A Tangled Web” would be a bit higher for me, as I enjoy the wit and satire in that one a lot. And “The Golden Road” is worth reading! Anyways, thank you Elsie for continuing to make posts such as this one!

    1. I definitely want to get to TGR eventually. Usually, I just feel more in the mood to re-read one of my favourites. But good to know it’s good!

  3. This post is so helpful, especially for the stand-alone and other series that aren’t Anne-related. I love Montgomery and knew she wrote many other novels but didn’t know where to start with them beyond the Anne novels. I do now and I’m so excited to read these other books. I would love a similar post for Louisa May Alcott.

    1. Oh excellent, I’m so glad it’s been helpful! That’s a great idea to do one for Alcott. I thought I was pretty familiar with her books, but when I visited her home during my honeymoon I learned about books she’d written that I had never even heard of!

  4. I could not decide on an epistolary novel last month and decided to move on to a Lucy Montgomery novel, which I’ve read several of before (a few of Anne series). Rilla of Ingleside was a delightful and easy read! I might go ahead and re-read Anne of the Island since it so #1 on Elsie’s list! Also interested on The Blue Castle.

    1. I love seeing the woman that Anne becomes in Anne of the Island! She is still very recognizably “herself”; the Anne of the first book, but she has grown and matured in a believable way, and I’m just amazed how Montgomery was able to do that so realistically. You will love The Blue Castle, I’m sure! It’s such a gem.

  5. So appreciative of this Elsie! It’s so fun to talk all things Anne. I had to giggle with your addendum to Blue Castle, I feel the same way! 😉 And also agree Anne rises to the top because, well, Anne. I would’ve switched House of Dreams with Island, but the rest is very similar. I also have not read the Golden Road and LOVED the list you compiled as I was intrigued to discover that there was one that I hadn’t read! It was also lovely to see the variety of covers, so beautiful. Thanks for a wonderful article!

    1. You’re very welcome! I am glad you understand how I feel about The Blue Castle and Anne! (: There have been some great new editions of LMM novels in the last decade or so. It makes me want to buy more versions, even though I already own an edition of each. So hard to resist!

  6. I read “Kilmeny O The Orchard. It is not one of my Lucy Maud Montgomery books. I found it to be strange and boring.
    Marion

    1. It is different! I think it’s best to come to that one not expecting a great work of literature, but to accept it as a fairy tale with particularly beautiful descriptions. I don’t mind reading a sweet, sappy story now and then if it’s by an author I love! (But I do understand people’s criticisms of it!)

  7. I just finished reading Pat Of Silver Bush and the sequel Mistress Pat. They are now my favorite Lucy Maud Montgomery books. I found them even more enjoyable than the Anne series.
    Marilyn

    1. Oh wow! That is high praise indeed! I love them, too. I wish I’d read them when I was in high school, but those are two I didn’t read until I was an adult. But they are wonderful, and I’m glad there were more Montgomery novels like those “waiting” for me!

  8. Thank you for the list; I am, as part of the challenge, reading The Blue Castle, my first LM Montgomery non-Anne book, and am enjoying it very much. Looking forward to exploring the other stand-alones.

  9. It is so dangerous when they come out with more additions. 😉 I already have 3 different copies of Green Gables. 😉 Ha! So tempting, I agree!

  10. This will be truly a LM Montgomery month here! Finished The Blue Castle and loved it! The ending is somewhat too perfect for my liking but the story and the writing style were irresistible. Could not put it down until I was done. I imagined Anya Taylor Joy as Valancy the whole time (why isn’t there a movie?). Moving on to The Golden Road!

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