New material about the private life of Lucy Maud Montgomery has prompted a searching look at the beloved author of Anne of Green Gables. While her fictional characters inhabited a world where love and close community bonds overcame all tribulations, Montgomery's real life was marked by grief and loneliness. Married to a clergyman who suffered from a debilitating mental illness, Montgomery struggled to keep up appearances in a Victorian society that valued propriety at all costs. As she aged, depression engulfed her; nonetheless, throughout her life, she maintained her prolific output of fiction, attracting ever-increasing numbers of fans. Acclaimed novelist Jane Urquhart has written several novels centring on the role of the artist. Here, she explores the life of a woman whose successful literary career broke the boundaries set for women of her time, but who could not escape the societal strictures of Victorian Canada or her own demons.
About the author
Jane Urquhart was born in the far north of Ontario. She is the author of eight internationally acclaimed novels, among them The Whirlpool, which received France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger; Away, winner of the Trillium Award, The Underpainter, winner of the Governor General’s Award and a finalist for the Orange Prize in the UK and The Stone Carvers, which was a finalist for the Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award and Britain’s Booker Prize. She is also the author of a collection of short fiction and four books of poetry. She has written a biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery and was editor of the Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories. Her work, which is published in many countries, has been translated into numerous foreign languages. Urquhart has received the Marian Engel Award and the Harbourfront Festival Prize. She is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Urquhart has received ten honorary doctorates from Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario and the Royal Military College of Canada. She has served on the Board of PEN Canada, on the Advisory Board for the Restoration of the Vimy Memorial and on several international prize juries including that of the International Dublin IMPAC Award, the Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the American International Neustadt Award.
Her most recent novel, The Night Stages, was released in 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US, McClelland and Stewart in Canada and Oneworld in the UK.
Urquhart lives in southeastern Ontario with her husband, artist Tony Urquhart.
“A gem.” - London Free Press
“With its brevity, [Urquhart’s] book is a rich tour de force of Montgomery’s life.” - The Globe and Mail
“A beautifully crafted, if shockingly sad study of Lucy Maud Montgomery…. Urquhart … distils her famous subject to its essence…. Fascinating.” - Ottawa Citizen
“A poignant biography.” - Calgary Herald
“[The] choice of novelist Jane Urquhart … to pen a brief biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery was inspired…. The fit is perfect, and Urquhart’s wonderfully perceptive portrait of the richly talented Montgomery is without flaw…. A beautiful poetic biography, one which catches the essence of a remarkable personality.” - London Free Press
“A richly multi-layered portrait…. [An] excellent biography.” - Quill & Quire