Rilla of Ingleside is the eighth of nine books in the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery, but was the sixth "Anne" novel in publication order.
This book draws the focus back onto a single character, Anne and Gilbert's youngest daughter Bertha Marilla "Rilla" Blythe. It has a more serious tone, as it takes place during World War I and the three Blythe boys—Jem, Walter, and Shirley—along with Rilla's sweetheart Ken Ford, and playmates Jerry Meredith and Carl Meredith—end up fighting in Europe with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The book is dedicated: "To the memory of FREDERICA CAMPBELL MACFARLANE who went away from me when the dawn broke on January 25, 1919—a true friend, a rare personality, a loyal and courageous soul." Frederica, Maud's cousin and best friend, grew up in Park Corner, PEI, but died in the worldwide flu epidemic of 1918/19.
Frederica may have been the model for Diana Barry, Anne of Green Gables' "bosom friend": both had unusual, non-Christian first names, and the fictional Diana's husband was named, perhaps not coincidentally, Fred. Rilla of Ingleside is the only Canadian novel written from a woman's perspective about the First World War by a contemporary. The novel is also groundbreaking as it is one of the first non-Australian texts to mention the Gallipoli campaign and the sacrifice made by the ANZACs. At some point after Montgomery's death in 1942, publishers quietly trimmed Rilla of Ingleside of a few thousand words, removing among other things passages containing historically accurate but now offensive anti-German sentiment. The trimmed version was the only available "in print" version for decades, until a new, restored and annotated edition of Rilla of Ingleside, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre (editor of Montgomery's The Blythes Are Quoted) and Andrea McKenzie, was published by Viking Canada in October 2010.
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