On Twitter this morning, @odilettante reminded me of one of my very favorite books. Many, if not most, of you are familiar with L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series that well deserves the enduring love of readers over the last century. However, one of her lesser known stand-alone novels is a book I read at least once a year. It is for me the literary equivalent of a cup of hot cocoa, or a warm loaf of bread that you tear into hot out of the oven.

I have lots of favorite books, and I think I’m going to start a weekly post recommending both old and new favorites because I know the reading impulse in strong in many Beanies. And also, because I’m a book pusher. I can’t help it. I want you to love the words I love. (You don’t really have to love them, but I do just want to nudge you to maybe try it.) Therefore, I’m going to use my fan wall to push books that have kdrama-esque plots, or are related to Korea in some way, or are just so dang good that I want you to know about them.

If you don’t like to read, that’s fine, just scroll on by. If you do like to read, hi friend, let’s talk. Please give me your recommendations and opinions, because as we all know, Beanies are an opinionated lot who are passionate about their entertainment.

Anyway, back to L.M. Montgomery. Like the dramas that we all go back to when we need a good uplifting tale that doesn’t have too much of an emotional rollercoaster ride, I also have a list of books that I return to time and time again for that familiar and comforting story that leaves you feeling good when you reach the last page. The one I return to most frequently, for a quick afternoon read, is The Blue Castle.

How is an early, 20th century, Canadian novel related to kdrama you ask? Well, we have the plain, unmarried, almost 30 (i.e. old maid), female lead who lives with her nagging mother, and is afflicted with a cruel gossipy extended family. Additionally, there’s the beautiful cousin who seems to have everything that a young woman should want, and is therefore always a reminder of exactly what Valancy does not, and will not have. While Valancy’s life is dull, colorless, and without any hope of getting even a smidgeon better, she weaves an imaginary fantasy life centered on a fairy-tale-like Blue Castle. But, as we all know, plain, unmarried heroines in our romantic novels always have an event that changes everything. Valancy also has her cataclysmic moment.

I won’t give you spoilers, but there is terminal illness, a mysterious, but intriguing man who lives outside of society’s norms, birth secrets, and a slow burning romance that will satisfy any kdrama fan. There is also humor, and just enough sarcasm to feed my bitter heart, as well as a pivotal dinner scene that will have you cheering out loud. Seriously, it is immensely satisfying.

So, if you’ve never read The Blue Castle, do. I promise you won’t regret it. Also, someone adapt this for the screen. Please.

P.S. it’s available on Project Gutenberg Australia. Here you go: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200951h.html

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    Downloaded! Book pushers never have to work very hard with me.

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    I loved the 1985 mini series “Anne of Green Gables” and it’s sequels with Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie. Ah Gilbert Blythe… was sad when I read that Jonathan Crombie passed away in 2015.

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    Chaebols, trains of doom, mysterious rooms.

    Going back to that Anne girl it has been so very long since I’ve read her stories or watched the Ken Sullivan adaptation. One day I need to go to Prince Edward Island.
    That could make a different type of Rabbit watch, lol.

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    I saw that tweet this morning and thought “oh I’ve never read that!” and planned to add it to my reading list. And, hey, here it is again.

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    I have read The Blue Castle many times. 😍 The word that describes it best in my mind is whimsical. It is lovely.

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    Ooh I have a new book to read now thanks to you! I love this idea of recommending books. 😍

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      I spent a wonderful evening eating pizza while reading this book. The only thing that could have topped it was to have had the physical book in my hands. Thank you. 💝

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        Yay! I hope you are enjoying it. Can’t you just see it as a kdrama?

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          I… finished it. 🙈

          Oh definitely. Train of Doom, terminal illness, geeenius chaebol in disguise. 😂 There was even a tiny bit of noble idiocy towards the end, which thankfully only lasted a few pages. 😅

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            That noble idiocy really bothered me. I felt like it turned back the clock and changed the heroine back into a passive person willing to let life pass her by. I thought that was a real betrayal of the character by the author.

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    Thank you! I grew up reading the Anne series (a requirement for a Canadian childhood) but I’ve never read this. I look forward to it.

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      You’re welcome. Oh, how I would have loved to be required to read the Anne books for school instead of yet another male-centered hero’s journey. I love reading despite the fact that I quite hated literature classes in my childhood.

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    Thanks foe the recommendation!

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    Beanies Book Club – Love it! Bring on the recommendations!

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    How have I missed this book? Thanks dear!!
    Having loved Anne with an E and Gilbert – must go read!!
    You got me thinking though – about comfort reads.
    My go-to comfort read is Eddings, I think. Yeah I know – I’m a blood death and gore and magic kind of gal. 😂
    I read all types/kinds/genres of books – but after pondering and ruminating – I realised that when I just want to curl up with something familiar, I reach out for Eddings.

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      Oh, I have my blood, death, and gore books too. I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but I’ll put Eddings on the list to check out.

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        I forgot to mention Westerns and Adventure!!
        Isn’t it hard to pick just one favourite genre? Especially when reading is your favourite hobby? I go through phases when I would just binge read J.T. Edson (whose books are so difficult to find!), then Cussler, then Christie, Patterson and then make right turn to Riordan (😂 as it happens – I am currently finishing book 5 of the Percy Jackson series – again).

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          When people ask what my favorite book is, I know they aren’t a Reader with a capital R. How can you have just one favorite?

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    Anne Shirley is probably my favorite heroine of all time. (I lived and breathed the films as a child.) Definitely want to read this book now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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      Oh, you already found the fanwall, now my response to you elsewhere seems stupid. Oh well.

      Welcome. And Anne Shirley, and her scope for imagination, let me know that being different from all the other kids was okay. I will always love her.

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        Nah, I hadn’t quite figured it out yet. I’d looked at your profile and saw this post there. Didn’t realize the connection between the fanwall here and under the beanies header till after you explained where to find it, lol.

        I wanted to be Anne Shirley when I grew up. I always felt a strong kinship with her. We definitely would have been kindred spirits if she’d been a real person.

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    Thanks for the recommendation!

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    I’m in. Sucked in by the first paragraph.

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    I just ordered it. I also read too much online about L M Montgomery and now I’m sad.

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    @egads Thank you, it was a lovely read!…..

    On a very weird note, one of my favorite books is a novella by Colleen McCullough called The Ladies of Missalongi. I always have multiple copies on hand, and I’ve sent dozens out into the world (a consequence of owning a bookish Inn) It..is.. the.. same.. book..! The setting is moved to Australia, but otherwise, the plot and the characters are the same as The Blue Castle.
    Worth the read if you get a chance!

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      I believe McCullough quite flagrantly (though some say subconsciously) plagiarized The Blue Castle. I know I read it years and years ago.

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        @egads Whew, here I was afraid I was outing her, and yes, it is flagrant. Rather than plagiarism, I would prefer to call it flattery….Kinda like a kdrama remake of a jdrama?!

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