I have loved the Anne and Emily books since the first time I read them, but it took me until now to read this late work of Lucy Montgomery’s. In all her books, she creates a community of vivid characters, all of them quirky and none of them very in tune with their own emotions. But A Tangled Web is a true ensemble piece. I was not convinced I would enjoy it for the first few dozen pages, because the sheer number of characters introduced was a little intimidating. But over the course of the book I became invested in almost all their stories. To see L.M. Montgomery’s world years after Anne and Emily, after World War, was interesting on its own. You get the sense that she’s no longer pulling her punches; she’s reached the maturity to slay the ludicrousness she sees without prettying it up out of fear of what people might think of her.
I loved everything until the last page, when a very ugly N word in the mouth of one of the most ludicrous characters gut punched me… and caused me to question posting the review. I have to admit I don’t understand why she chose that as her ending. But of course I look at it through the eyes of 2023. The rest of the twists and turns, as this vast cast of characters exerts a push and pull on each other, was simply breathtaking. Among my favorites: the “old maid” who decides she can be a mom and own a home without needing to get married to do it and a faithful, kind man who wins the day by being a friend when his loved one cannot handle being loved any other way.