Henny G. once complained about this book that its ending is just too ridiculously felicitous. Not only do the lovers end up happily ever after (of course) but the mysterious hero ends up being the son of a fabulously wealthy man... AND the secret author of the heroine's favorite books. Now I agree that all that wasn't strictly necessary, but I don't find it at all irritating. The latter detail isn't emphasized at all, and Barney's secret wealth ensures their happily-ever-after just a little more. So let's dismiss that first complaint :) Any others? Well it's short... not that that's necessarily a bad thing, and certainly makes for an easy read, but I guess it's somewhat lacking in substance. I noticed for the first time that the bulk of the couple's interaction is compressed into maybe the last third of the book, if even that - it make sense, because more would have necessitated an introduction of obstacles/issues/problems whatnot in the way of our happy couple's idyll, and we wouldn't want that. But it's funny to see that the first 2/3 of the book are about 2 months all told, and then the rest of a year takes half that length. Again, didn't find it irritating. Was there anything I did find to be? If there was something not realistic about this book, it's Valancy's horrible life prior to her newfound determination to live life as she pleases - specifically, what a nightmare of a family! Yes, it makes for good, funny, reading, but really, Valancy's mother doesn't even seem to love her. And that's just not realistic in my book. But like I said, it makes for good reading, and doesn't bother me *all* that much.
Leaving me free to revel in the extremely well executed love-story-with-coming-of-age of overtones that remains. LM Montogomery isn't shy about giving her characters all sorts of gifts. Valancy isn't as loved as Anne, but she is appreciated by those who matter (those who matter being those who appreciate her of course :)) And once she shrugs off the burden of her unloveable family, things proceed pretty much smoothly. She likes caring for Celia, she loves her life with Barney... along with her, we are just living out the year, content in the simple things in life. So no tension, and, with that, good romance. Lots of interaction, a pretty decent hero (rough on the outside, tender within kind of guy), and some good heart-squeezing moments (do you know what I mean? when I read these good romances and I come to a passage I like, I feel like my heart actually squeezes some times). And of course, an excellent ending (caveats above). What more could I ask for? Not much, which is why this one will probably always remain a favorite of mine.