The Anne of Green Gables series is a charming collection of children’s books set in the beautiful scenery of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Written by L. M. Montgomery between 1908 and 1939, the novels follow the adventures of red-headed orphan Anne from the tender age of 11 right up until her own children are grown. In this blog, we’ve listed all eight Anne of Green Gables books in reading order, alongside a background of the treasured novels and their masterful storyteller, L. M. Montgomery.
Anne of Green Gables Books in Order
There are eight volumes in the Anne of Green Gables series. Montgomery continued adding to Anne’s story over the decades, and so many of the books were written and published out of chronological order. To truly immerse yourself in the whimsical world of Prince Edward Island, follow the list of books below to read Anne’s story as her life unfolds.
- Anne of Green Gables (1908)
- Anne of Avonlea (1909)
- Anne of the Island (1915)
- Anne of Windy Poplars (1936)
- Anne’s House of Dreams (1917)
- Anne of Ingleside (1939)
- Rainbow Valley (1919)
- Rilla of Ingleside (1921)
“Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.”Anne of Green Gables
First published in 1908, L. M. Montgomery’s treasured coming-of-age story opens with young, red-headed Anne Shirley being mistakenly sent to Cuthbert’s Farm. Two ageing siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decided to adopt a boy to help them work the farmland, and instead get sent Anne. When the strong-willed little girl turns up, they take pity on the orphan and decide to give her a chance. Faced with farm work and less-than-welcoming school classmates, Anne struggles to settle into her new life on Prince Edward Island. Quick-witted, vividly imaginative, and armed with a loose tongue, she disturbs the steady rhythm of the villagers’ life and soon finds herself running into trouble. Despite her hot-headed stubbornness, Anne begins to make steadfast friends and classroom enemies.
The second book in the Anne of Green Gables series continues Anne’s story as she becomes a young adult. Despite now being a teacher at Avonlea school with a lot of responsibility, she still faces the challenge of getting herself out of tight predicaments. Her new neighbour, Mr Harrison, brings a whole band of problems with him, and Anne has many adventures with Gilbert Blythe and her friends. When Marilla Cuthbert’s cousin leaves her twins, Davy and Dora, orphaned, Anne helps her to raise them, which brings another host of trouble.
“Welcome back, Anne. You’re a bit more grown up to be sure, but you’re still our old earnest, impulsive, imaginative ANNE.”Edwin Markham in the New York American, The Boston Herald, 1909
The third of the Anne of Green Gables books follows Anne as she begins studying for her BA Arts degree. She moves to Kingsport to attend Redmond College and attempts to keep up with her friends in Avonlea with many letters and visits home. Published in 1915, Anne of the Island reflects Anne’s growth as, while away, she realises her love for her island home. She visits her birthplace, struggles to begin a writing career, and receives two very unwanted marriage proposals. As she cares for a dying friend and meets new people, she and Gilbert drift apart, but will Anne be able to recognise the bond she has with him?
Now 22 years old, Anne begins a new job as Summerside High School’s principal. She moves to Windy Poplars and lodges in the cosy tower room of an old house, Windy Willows. The house belongs to Aunt Kate and Aunt Chatty who are quick to make friends with Anne, as is their boisterous housekeeper, Rebecca Dew. Despite these new friends, the ‘royal family’ of Summerside, the Pringles, keep a watchful eye on Anne and make it very clear that she was not their first choice of principal. On top of attempting to win the Pringles over, she is also fighting to keep the spark alive with her fiancé, Gilbert, via a series of letters while he attends medical school.
“But just think what a dull world it would be if everyone was sensible”Anne of the Island
The next book to read in the timeline of Anne’s life, Anne’s House of Dreams, follows her early married life with her childhood sweetheart, Gilbert. Moving to Anne’s dream house on the seashore of Four Winds Point, the couple meet many interesting people. Captain Jim is a former sailor and is now the lighthouse keeper, Miss Cornelia Bryant is an unmarried woman in her 40s, living alone in an emerald-green house, and the pair make unlikely company for the newly-weds. Anne also makes friends with Leslie Moore, a young woman with a tragic story.
Set seven years after Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne and her husband have now moved to a house they affectionately named Ingleside. They have five children together who all find a way to get into scrapes, mishaps, and adventures with the neighbouring youngsters. When Anne begins to suspect that her husband no longer loves her, she vows to make him fall for her again.
Rainbow Valley is the next book to read in the series and takes place 15 years after Anne’s wedding. The couple now has six children, and this book focuses on their relationships with the new minister’s children. When widower John Meredith moves to Glen St. Mary to take over as minister, he brings his four young children with him. Wild and mischievous, they soon make friends with Anne’s youngsters and the group play together in the Rainbow Valley hollow. The other children try to help the Merediths become obedient, rule-abiding people and they start a ‘Good-Conduct Club’. This club results in the Merediths punishing themselves in dangerously extreme ways each time they misbehave, which causes a great scandal with almost fatal consequences.
Rilla of Ingleside concludes Anne’s story with the tale of her youngest daughter, Bertha Marilla or ‘Rilla’. Published in 1921, the novel tackles tales of World War I as Rilla’s brothers and friends are called to fight in Europe. Just 14 years old, Rilla’s happy childhood of daydreaming about her first kiss is quickly stripped away, and her attention is drawn to a young orphaned child desperately seeking a loving home. Rilla’s story echoes the early years of Anne’s life and reminds the reader how far their favourite mischievous red-head has come.
“We miss so much out of life if we do not love. The more we love the richer life is.”Rilla of Ingleside
Anne of Green Gables Legacy
The Anne of Green Gables story been successful worldwide. The first novel in the series, Anne of Green Gables (1908), is a best-seller with over 50 million copies sold around the world, and it has been translated into 36 languages. Montgomery’s books have also seen countless adaptations including films, TV programmes, ballets, and musicals. Notable adaptations include the 1985 Anne of Green Gables film starring Richard Farnsworth as Matthew Cuthbert. Netflix also released season one of the book-inspired series Anne with an E in 2017. The capital of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, hosts an annual festival at which Anne of Green Gables: The Musical is performed each year.
More Adventures From Anne
Uncover more of Montgomery’s stories from the wondrous town of Avonlea.
L. M. Montgomery includes 12 short stories in this gorgeous collection of tales from Avonlea. Featuring requited love, rash decisions, and a special appearance from Anne Shirley herself.
This volume houses even more tales from Avonlea, and its collection of charming characters. These 15 stories are brimming with love, loss, and lies that spread through the little town like wildfire.
This beautiful collection tells our favourite redhead’s story by bringing together the first three books of the enchanting Anne of Green Gables series.
Author of the Anne of Green Gables book set, L. M. Montgomery was born and raised on Prince Edward Island. The books owe their popularity to the author’s encapsulating storytelling and the embedding of her own life into her work.
The writer’s childhood home, Campbell Farm, was opened to the public as the Anne of Green Gables Museum in 1972, 100 years after the house was first built. The museum allows readers of Montgomery’s work to share her love of Canadian nature and wildlife, and you can visit the place that inspired the wonderful books. Fans of the novels can also take a trip to the Green Gables Heritage Place on the island, which served as the setting for the series.
More Books by L. M. Montgomery
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