Wilson, Budge. Before Green Gables. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2008.
When we first meet Anne in Anne of Green Gables (AOGG), she is precocious, talkative, starved for affection, imaginative, and thrilled to be on Prince Edward Island.
Beyond a few brief mentions in AOGG and subsequent books, we know little of Anne's life before she came to Green Gables. What we do know causes us to support Anne's imagined life ("Call me Cordelia.") in favor of her actual life. Did you ever pause to wonder about the years she spent with Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Hammond? I haven't once in the twelve years I've been enjoying the Anne series.
Luckily for Anne fans, Budge Wilson did. In her Before Green Gables, she gives us Anne's story from right before her conception up until she leaves the train at Bright River to wait on Matthew. Budge's story explains perfectly why Anne is the way she is when we first meet her at the train station. Her history reveals every one of her foibles.
What I thought: I couldn't put this book down. The story Budge has constructed makes so much sense. It fits in perfectly with the rest of the series. After reading it, I had to buy my own copy. Like the other Anne books, I'll be reading it again and again.