Aunt Alberta, to save her dinner, plunged into an account of how a dog had bitten her recently, Uncle James, to back her up, asked where the dog had bitten her.
"Just a little below the Catholic Church," said Aunt Alberta.
At that point Valancy laughed. Nobody else laughed. What was there to laugh at?
The Blue Castle is funny, irreverent, romantic and more than a little far-fetched. I loved it. It's difficult to review without spoilers, so no peeking if you're planning to read it!
"Is that a vital part?" asked Valancy?
Valancy is 29, unmarried, and treated as a joke and a failure by her extended family. After suffering pain in her chest she visits her doctor who tells her she has one year to live. She decides to make the most of her final year and rejects her family, leaves home to nurse a sick school-friend and proposes to the local bad boy, Barney Snaith. Marriage to Barney brings her happiness - her own 'blue castle' - until she starts to wonder about the diagnosis from her doctor ...
***spoiler***Lucy Maud Montgomery did not set The Blue Castle on Prince Edward Island. It is set in Muskoka in Ontario, Canada, where Montgomery spent a holiday which inspired the novel.
I also read Elizabeth Taylor's A Game of Hide and Seek in Brighton last week. It is a beautifully written novel and I couldn't put it down, but I think Blaming is still my favourite. This Virago Modern Classics edition has an introduction by the novelist, Elizabeth Jane Howard. Anybody read her?