In this wide-ranging and highly readable book, Elizabeth Waterston uses the term "magic" to
suggest that peculiar, indefinable combination of attributes that unpredictably results in
creative genius. Montgomery's intelligence, her drive, and her sense of humour are essential
components of this success. Waterston also features what Montgomery called her "dream life,"
a "strange inner life of fancy which had always existed side by side with my outer life." This
special ability to look beyond the veil, to access vibrant inner vistas, produced deceptively
layered fictions out of a life that saw not just its share of both fame and ill fortune, but
also what Waterston calls "dark passions."
"Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery is the culmination of years of
research, reading and studying the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery.
. . . Magic Island is a careful and readable analysis of Montgomery's books and how they
tended to parallel her difficult and often unhappy life. The book reminds us just how prolific
Montgomery was. And how talented.
. . . Waterston deconstructs Montgomery's fiction, presenting it to us in a very real context
of recent history. Montgomery often used world events as backdrops in her novels, with
clarity and accuracy.
. . . Magic Island takes us through Montgomery's books in a way that enriches our understanding
of the author and her works, while culling our hearts' sympathy for the circumstances of her
life. . .
Judith Meyrick, Halifax Chronical Herald, September 14, 2008
"One of the finest books to appear during 2008's centenary celebration of the publication
of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables is Elizabeth Waterston's Magic Island.
Waterston centres each novel in a chapter of its own, provides historical reminders of the
times in which the books were written and ties their conception and publication to happenings
in the author's life. It is an original approach and one that works to the advantage of the
reader. . .
The clever combination of Montgomery's novels with the turns and twists her life was taking
as she wrote, is inspired. The book is wonderfully written and highly readable, one which
captures, with a flourish, the talent and travails of one of our literary legends.
Nancy Schiefer, Sun Media, January 10, 2009
Elizabeth Waterston is a long-term L.M. Montgomery scholar… and has brought up some good points
that either bolstered, challenged, or added a new angle to ideas that I have had over the years
about Montgomery's books, specifically her ideas as to what constitutes a happy marriage, and the
role of women in society. … For the more casual interested reader, I would
recommend …"Magic Island," as it …gives a very well-rounded impression of the writer, her craft,
and her prodigious literary output. Recommended.
L. Lloyd, Reviewer on Amazon.com, May 30, 2009