You know, when it’s all said and done, I have a really hard picking which book of L.M. Montgomery’s I truly love best. Every time I re-read one, I realize that the elements that I love most about, say, the Anne series itself are also present in the book I just read. Pat of Silver Bush is no different. In this book, we have an imaginative, loving, unique-if-plain (but she does grow better looking as she gets older, of course) little girl heroine who lives in a charming home with a loving family on Prince Edward Island. As in the case of all Montgomery heroines (and please, if I’m forgetting one who doesn’t fit this pattern, remind me of who she is!), Pat has a surrogate mother. Hers is her family’s housekeeper, Judy Plum. Oh, Pat has a mother all right, and a perfectly acceptable one at that. (This isn’t always the case in Montgomery’s books, you know.) Pat’s mother is sickly, though, with some a malady which only becomes known at the end of the story, and despite the fact that she has work-worn hands (as described by Pat at one point in the story), we don’t see much of her around Silver Bush. The situation reminds me of “Mrs. Doctor Dear” and her deference in most things domestic to Susan beginning (I believe) in Anne of the Island.
Judy Plum is my favorite character in the whole story. In fact, she just might be one of my favorite characters of all of Montgomery’s. I don’t know if it’s her Irish brogue, her superstitious nature, her ability to wring a story out of mere suggestion, or just her general spunk, but I like her a lot. In fact, she has most of the memorable lines in the story. Rather than regale you all with a plot summary, I’m simply going to share a few of my favorite Judy Plum quotes here:
On Aunt Hazel’s wedding day:
“Quane’s weather,” said Judy in a tone of satisfaction. “I was a bit afraid last night we’d have rain, bekase there was a ring around the moon and it’s ilil-luck for the bride the rain falls on, niver to mintion all the mud and dirt tracked in. Now I’ll just slip out and tell the sun to come up and thin I’ll polish off the heft av the milking afore yer dad gets down. . . ”
“Wouldn’t the sun come up if you didn’t tell it, Judy?”
“I’m taking no chances on a widding day, me jewel.”
“I’ll soon fatten up on your cooking, Judy. Life tastes good today.”
“Sure and life do have a taste, don’t it, Patsy? I’m only a poor ould maid as has worked out all her days for a living and yet I’m declaring life has a taste. Sure and I smack my lips over it.”
The other thing I like about the Pat stories is that Pat isn’t beautiful and she isn’t extremely clever and she isn’t ambitious in the least. She does have something that sets her apart, though. Judy Plum sums the situation up best in this exchange with Pat:
“And I’m not even clever, Judy. I can only love people. . . and things.”
“Oh, oh, ’tis a great gift that. . .and it’s not ivery one that has it, me jewel.”
I’m glad I chose Pat of Silver Bush as my first re-read for this year’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge. I enjoyed this story so much that I’ve already begun its sequel, Mistress Pat.
Go here to read my review of Jane of Lantern Hill from last year’s challenge.
Go here to read my review of The Blue Castle from last year’s challenge.