Lucy Maud Montgomery, known as Maud, was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Canada, in November 1874. Her mother died when Montgomery was almost two years old. Her father remarried, and Montgomery spent her childhood with her grandparents in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. In 1911, she married Reverend Ewen Macdonald and moved to Leaskdale, Ontario, where she raised three children before moving with her family to Norval, Ontario, in 1926. Montgomery died in Toronto in 1942 and is buried in Cavendish.
As a child, Montgomery read as much as she could. At that time, novels were considered inappropriate reading material for children. In an article titled "The Story of My Career," Montgomery wrote that the only novels kept in her grandparents' house were Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott, The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, and Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. She had unrestricted access to poetry, however, and reveled in the works of such English poets as John Milton and Lord Byron.
This early immersion in poetry likely influenced Montgomery's writing style, which is poetic and descriptive. Montgomery recalls the day she wrote her first poem, at age nine. Her father happened to visit her that day, and when she read the poem to him, he said unenthusiastically that the unrhymed lines did not sound much like poetry. Montgomery persevered despite his lukewarm reception; a few years later she published a poem in a local newspaper.
By the time she married at age thirty-seven, Montgomery had already established herself as an author. She kept a notebook in which she jotted down plots as they occurred to her, and while looking through this notebook, she found the following idea: "Elderly couple apply to orphan asylum for a boy. By mistake a girl is sent them." From these fragments, Montgomery...