Across the Miles: Tales of Correspondence
In L.M. Montgomery’s world, receiving a letter was an important event. Letters, before the advent of the telephone, were the sole means of communication between people who lived at a distance from each other. Letter-writing was a cultivated skill, honed by another nineteenth-century pastime, keeping a journal. The twenty stories in Across the Miles bear witness to the importance these writing forms played in ordinary people’s lives, as they corresponded with loved ones and expressed themselves through their journals.
As usual, Montgomery’s cast of characters ranges widely, from the poor but ambitious student Grace Seeley, to the rich but lonely Isobel Shirley, from the “unholy imp” Link Houseman to the country doctor Jack Willoughby and his millionaire rival Gus Sinclair. Her tales may be set on her beloved Prince Edward Island or the western prairies, in a humble cottage or a society mansion; her tone may be serious or playful; her characters may be caught up in whirlwind love affairs or the more prosaic business of everyday life. But always the stories in Across the Miles bring us back to a world we feel we have lost, a world of old-fashioned values and concerns, a world we enter gladly, sure that we will find people, places, and plots to amuse charm and move us.
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