Lucy Maud Montgomery
Tundra Books, 2018
Mistress Pat is Lucy Maud Montgomery’s second novel featuring Patricia Gardiner, the heroine of Pat of Silver Bush. In Mistress Pat, Pat is now eighteen and being pursued by young men who hope to marry her. But Pat is single-mindedly committed to her home and family. Over the eleven years of the novel, the world around Pat changes, and family members arrive and depart. In the end, Pat must resolve the central struggle of her life: her determination to remain at Silver Bush.
Mistress Pat would be a fine selection for readers who have worked their way through Montgomery’s Anne novels and through the Little House series. It is a gentle, slow-moving book, quite unlike much of what is currently available for middle-grade and YA readers. Although the book follows Pat through her late teens and twenties, many plot points will feel relatable for readers in their early teens (as well as for adult readers). Do be aware, however, that the novel contains passages that reflect attitudes of the early twentieth century; some readers may need to discuss the sexism and racism expressed in these passages.
For strong readers, this novel is noteworthy for Montgomery’s beautiful rendering of the landscape of Silver Bush and for her dropping of literary allusions. There is much to cherish in Montgomery’s effusive language and abundant descriptions, although her style will read as elevated and old-fashioned for some tastes. But for anyone who feels the strong tug of hearth and home — and grief for lost friends — Pat’s experiences will certainly resonate. Mistress Pat is an enjoyable, immersive book that readers will be able to revisit rewardingly, and I’m happy to see it available in this attractive new edition.
Originally published on LibraryThing on May 27, 2018.