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Book Review

The Road to Yesterday by L.M. Montgomery has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. This book of short stories is related to the community found in the "Anne of Green Gables" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

This collection of individual short stories — many of them love stories —are connected to the main characters, Anne and Gilbert Blythe, and are set in their community.

  1. In “An Afternoon With Mr. Jenkins,” 8-year-old Timothy is left home alone with the maid. Mr. Jenkins, whom Timothy has never met but who knows Timothy’s family, takes him to the fair for the afternoon.

  2. In “Retribution,” Clarissa Wilcox avenges her long-deceased sister Blanche by visiting David Anderson, who was Blanche’s former lover. She tells him things she’s waited years to let out.

  3. In “The Twins Pretend,” 10-year-old Jill and her twin brother, P.G., meet Anthony Lennox and help him restore his rundown estate. Then Anthony and the twins' widowed mother, who were in love in the past, fall in love again.

  4. In “Fancy’s Fool,” Esme is to marry Allardyce but decides not to wed him partly because of a childhood memory in a garden. She returns to that garden and meets her future love there.

  5. In “A Dream Come True,” Anthony Fingold is a married man who wishes he’d married his first love, Caroline Wilkes. He hears Caroline is ill. Through unusual circumstances, he ends up being Caroline’s caretaker for an evening. After a harrowing evening, Anthony is happy to go back to his wife, Clara.

  6. In “Penelope Struts Her Theories,” Penelope Craig is a single woman and a child psychologist. Her childhood friend dies and leaves her 8-year-old son in Penelope’s care. Penelope finds out that raising a child is different from what she had learned in books, especially when she fosters a second boy for the summer.

  7. In “The Reconciliation,” Myrtle Shelley chooses to forgive a wrong Lisle committed toward her 30 years earlier. But Myrtle ends up getting angry at Lisle again.

  8. In “The Cheated Child,” Patrick is a young orphan being raised by his Uncle Stephen. When his uncle dies, Patrick is unhappy living with his financially well-off aunt, so he runs away. He ends up on another uncle’s farm. The man is poor, but Patrick finds happiness, and the uncle invites Patrick to stay.

  9. In “Fool’s Errand,” Lincoln Burns is a bachelor living with his mother. When she dies, relatives start matchmaking on Lincoln’s behalf. However, he recalls a childhood crush and searches for her.

  10. In “The Pot and the Kettle,” Phyllis Christine is a young woman who makes a month-long visit to her childhood nanny. Her well-to-do family has chosen a husband named George for her. However, Phyllis becomes interested in Don the gardener and tells him she’s a governess. They fall in love, and Don confesses he is really George. He hid his identity because he wanted to know Phyllis before their arranged marriage.

  11. In “Here Comes the Bride,” Evelyn is marrying Darcy, a poor professor. The story reveals the wedding guests’ inner thoughts — most are negative. For example, an aunt thinks that the newlyweds will divorce in three years, and the guests talk openly about the groom’s disadvantage of being poor.

  12. In “Brother Beware,” adult brothers Amos and Timothy live together. Amos, a widower, is courting Alama Winkworth, whom Timothy despises. When Alma needs to take a train ride, Timothy offers to drive her to the station, but instead, takes her to a little island where he locks her in a small building to get her away from Amos. He gives her enough provisions to survive. Timothy finds reasons to visit her at the island each night, falls in love with her and discovers Alma had already turned down Amos’ marriage proposal.

  13. In “The Road to Yesterday,” Susette is a lowly worker at the newspaper and expects to become engaged to Harvey, a well-to-do businessman. Meanwhile, she meets a former childhood playmate, Dick, whom she never got along with. They have an immediate attraction, and as their attraction deepens, they kiss. When “Dick” confesses he’s really Jerry, who resembles his distant cousin, Dick, Susette and Jerry decide to marry.

  14. In “A Commonplace Woman,” family members are awaiting an old woman’s last breath, thinking she was unattractive and dull. Readers learn, though, through the woman’s thoughts that she had an artist lover who painted the beauty of her hands into many paintings. Although he left her, she bore his child. Then she gave her up for adoption but managed to see the child grow up by working as a seamstress for the adoptive family.

Christian Beliefs

In the first story, Timothy says he thinks God is unjust for letting his aunts face a particular problem. In “A Dream Come True,” Anthony remembers a sermon about dreams given by a Methodist minister. He and Clara are “rigid” Presbyterians. “Fools Errand” mentions that Lincoln attends church. In “The Pot and the Kettle,” George says he’s a good Presbyterian. “Brother Beware” mentions that Timothy and Alma were first introduced in church.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

In the first short story, Timothy lets a stranger be his role model and is treated well. In “The Twins Pretend,” the adult neighbor treats them with respect and takes the twins’ advice on restoring his property. In “The Cheated Child,” the boy runs away and his newfound uncle treats him well.


In “A Dream Come True,” Anthony discovers Caroline is mentally ill when she threatens him with a “poison-tipped dagger” and takes him on a wild car ride. The scene with the mentally ill woman is violent, and Anthony fears for his life, although we learn later the “dagger” was a letter opener. Other mentions include characters talking about someone going to jail for 10 days for driving drunk and a highwayman getting hanged. In "Brother Beware," Alma is locked away on an island, though she is given what she needs to live.


In “The Road to Yesterday,” Susette and Jerry kiss and declare their love. In "A Commonplace Woman," the dying woman thinks about her artist lover and how she had his child.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Literary: The unabridged version was published in 1993 and was titled The Blythes Are Quoted. Though this book is related to the "Anne of Green Gables" series, the stories are really for adult readers.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

18 and up


L.M. Montgomery






Record Label



McGraw-Hill Ryerson in Canada


On Video

Year Published





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