Rainbow Valley is the seventh Anne book and WWI marches ever closer, the mentions of the war are a lot stronger here then in previous books and Montgomery's foreshadowing was, occasionally, heavy handed. I'd forgotten how very little of the Blythe family is in this book, let alone Anne, instead it's mostly about the Merediths and their adventures and scrapes. However, despite those two complaints, I really do enjoy this one. In many ways, this book is a return to what Montgomery does best, simple romance and adventurous children.
Mr. Meredith is the new minister and a widower with four children. Mr. Meredith is what one would call the absent minded professor stereotype and so for the most part neglects his children rather shamefully. I'll be honest, re-reading the book this time, I found John Meredith to be kind of an idiot and I had a very hard time sympathizing with him. He's a very strong predecessor of the notions that men don't actually take care of their children, fathers are babysitters and daddies don't do housework. It was aggravating. Even worse was his occasional pleas, silent and out of earshot, to the woman he was courting in this novel to come and save his family. Dude, if you could pull your head out of your books for one second you could do it yourself. UGH. He courts a woman and marries her and it's sweet. But what makes the book so enjoyable are the Meredith children, the girls Faith and Una in particular. Their many misadventures had me laughing quite a bit. Add in the orphan Mary Vance, who gets adopted by her spiritual mother Miss Cordelia Bryant/Mrs Marshall Elliot, and the recipe is there for a spirited good time. The Blythe children are occasionally mentioned as co-participants in the scrapes, and twice Walter Blythe has the 'premonition' of a piper who would cal the boys far away to some terrible destiny.