Story Title: Say Something, Around the Bend
Author Name: JennWithAPen
Category: Anne of Green Gables
Category: Rare Fandom
Story Url: Say Something and Around the Bend
Content Rating: Teen
Status: Both Completed
Length: 53,344 words and 61,841
Story Summary – Say Something: Anne Shirley has loved Gilbert Blythe all her life. Did he really need to catch the fever for her to realize it, or is there another scenario that would have brought he and Anne together? This time, Gilbert takes control of his own destiny. This is an alternate ending—a little more tension, a little more humor, and of course… a little more romance!
Story Summary – Around The Bend: SEQUEL TO “SAY SOMETHING.” Anne and Gilbert are in love, newly engaged, and hoping for a summer full of only one thing: each other! Will the season be as simple and sweet as they wish it to be? This story picks up right where Say Something leaves off.
I’m nuts about L.M. Montgomery’s books and short stories. I’ve checked fanfiction.net periodically over the years for fanfiction based on her work, with little success. Since some of her stories are now in the public domain, I find it surprising that this fandom is so small. There are probably some websites devoted solely to the LMM fandom, as with the Jane Austen fandom, but I’ve yet to explore any. This month, however, I was delighted to discover JennWithAPen’s stories.
My previous attempts at rooting out good LMM-based stories floundered when I discovered that most authors struggled to mimic Montgomery’s writing style and voice. Additionally, given the way Anne’s journeys are chronicled in such detail from ages 11 through 53, perhaps there aren’t as many areas for a fanfic writer to elaborate upon without a story feeling trite and unnecessary. Thankfully, JennWithAPen seems to excel both in channeling L.M. Montgomery as well as finding “scope for the imagination.” Her stories feel so very Montgomery-ish, I found myself checking my own Anne books periodically to verify what was canon, and what was Jenn’s own work.
“Say Something” begins at the end of Anne’s time at Redmond, just before graduation. In Anne of the Island, it isn’t until Roy proposes that Anne realizes she can’t marry him. In Jenn’s version, Gilbert confronts Anne before their graduation. Gilbert’s long unrequited love, Anne’s confusion and stubbornness, and Philippa’s plainspoken common sense are written pitch-perfect. I particularly enjoyed the alternating POVs, as we never got to see through Gilbert’s eyes in canon. I won’t spoil it for you, but the romance in this story is absolutely beautiful and heartwarming.
“Around The Bend” covers the summer after Redmond, before the events of Anne of Windy Poplars. Once again, JennWithAPen does a marvelous job of getting the voices down right for each of the side characters. I especially enjoyed the way she writes Davy’s whimsical chatter and the banter between Mrs. Lynde and Marilla. Jenn’s insight into several canon issues was brilliant and gave me a better understanding of the protagonists. For example, I had long wondered why Anne and Gilbert didn’t marry before he went to medical school. The conversation on this subject between Anne and Gilbert made perfect sense. In spite of their longing, I came to realize there really wasn’t any other way.
I find myself frustrated in writing this recommendation, as there is very little I can discuss in detail without spoiling the stories, as the two stories both cover short time periods in which the canon events are well known. The main point of the stories is, in fact, what events would be changed by Gilbert attempting one more time to win Anne’s love at the beginning of “Say Something.” Could Anne be persuaded in Gilbert’s favor? How would she handle Roy? Would Gilbert still become seriously ill? How would their friends and family respond to these changes? As for the latter, I can at least say that the discussions between Mrs. Blythe and Anne are particularly outstanding.
There is one other alteration I can briefly address. Those of you who have read all of L.M. Montgomery’s stories will be acquainted with her interest in presentments, also called “second sight.” We see that most frequently in the Emily of New Moon series, although there is also a bit mentioned in Rilla of Ingleside, too. In “Around the Bend,” Jenn has written one such scene. It’s a moment of sheer, nail-biting suspense, as we agonize along with Anne as to whether she should act on this moment or not. This was one of those times when I found myself double-checking canon, as the scene is so vivid, and so very Anne-like, that I had to assure myself that this moment was entirely of Jenn’s creation.
Finally, there’s a third novel-length sequel currently in progress, “Heart’s Desire.” However, it is written in such a way that you don’t have to read “Say Something” or “Around the Bend” first. I’m eagerly following “Heart’s Desire,” and am unabashedly giddy over each chapter update. If you’re not patient enough to wait for the next post, I encourage you to dive in to the rest of JennWithAPen’s stories. They’re all brilliant.