When it originally appeared, Elizabeth Rollins Epperly’s The Fragrance of Sweet-Grass was one of the first challenges to the idea that L.M. Montgomery’s books were unworthy of serious study. Examining all of Montgomery’s fiction, Epperly argues that Montgomery was much more than a master of the romance genre and that, through her use of literary allusions, repetitions, irony, and comic inversions, she deftly manipulated the normal conventions of romance novels. Focusing on Montgomery’s memorable heroines, from Anne Shirley to Emily Byrd Starr, Valancy Stirling, and Pat Gardiner, Epperly demonstrates that Montgomery deserves a place in the literary canon not just as the creator of Anne of Green Gables but as an artist in her chosen profession.
Since its publication more than twenty years ago, The Fragrance of Sweet-Grass has become a favourite of scholars, writers, and Montgomery fans. This new edition adds a preface in which Epperly discusses the book’s contribution to the ongoing research on the life and writing of L.M. Montgomery, reflects on how Montgomery studies have flourished over the past two decades, and suggests new ways to approach and explore the Canadian writer’s work.
‘[The] first book-length critical study of L.M. Montgomery’s works ... There is no doubt that Epperly’s work will be valued as a reference for Montgomery scholars and teachers of Canadian literature and children’s literature.’
‘Now you don't have to hide that Montgomery novel when an intellectual friend drops by. Flaunt it and enjoy.’
‘Epperly’s discerning treatment of the heroines should prove of interest not only to Montgomery devotees but to any reader interested in social history and particularly in attitudes toward women reflected in popular fiction.’