Anne Shirley is the best known of a memorable group of heroines created by Lucy Maud Montgomery, a group that includes Emily Byrd Starr, Valancy Stirling, and Pat Gardiner. These characters are at the centre of Epperly's book, the first full-length critical study of all L.M. Montgomery's fiction.
Epperly contends that Montgomery was a master of the romance genre, and through her use of literary allusions, repetitions, irony, and comic inversions she deftly manipulated the normal conventions of romance novels. By studying the fictional biographies of the heroines and their pursuit of romance, Epperly questions the ways romance shapes what we consider valuable in our imaginings and experience.