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British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction FINALIST 2009


"Rubio deftly paints the portrait of a multitasking modern woman with an amazing work ethic. The biography soars with the energy of its title, but delves even deeper into Montgomery’s dark side."
The Globe and Mail

"A poignant story about a real family…. The result of Rubio’s research is pure Canadian Gothic: a story of sexual repression, class conflict and family secrets."
The Gazette (Montreal)

"Absolutely gripping … nothing short of brilliant, an un-put-downable read, and a wonderful examination of this troubled woman’s tragic life."
Ottawa Citizen

National Post

From the Hardcover edition.

Table Of Contents


The PEI Years 1874—1911

The Leaskdale Years 1911—1926

The Norval Years 1926—1935

The Toronto Years 1935—1942


Select Bibliography

From the Hardcover edition.

Author Essay

Her journal entries describing her newborn are extremely moving: they capture the amazement a new mother feels over her first baby. “There is nothing on earth so unutterably sweet,” she wrote touchingly, “as a sleeping baby.” And Chester was a contented baby— again, a blessing in a first child. Maud dismissed her earlier worries, which included a frightening dream at the time of Chester’s birth:

I dreamed that I wakened in the night, sat up, and looked over the footboard. . . . On the floor . . . lay a big empty black coffin, with a man standing at the foot and another at the head. As I fell back on the bed, overcome with the horror of the sight, the men lifted the coffin and laid it on my bed across my feet. . . . That dream haunted me. From that hour, I saw that hideous empty coffin waiting for me at the end of my months. (September 11, 1912)

All her life, Maud had had vivid dreams. She felt in them a psychic power, not uncommon in a Scottish culture that believed in “second sight.” She mulled over her dreams, believing that they sometimes foretold the future. She wrote off this dream, however, for Chester had not died, nor had she. But she did not forget the portentous black coffin associated with his birth.

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