"The Bible IS an interesting book," said the Story Girl, coming to Peter's rescue. "And there are magnificent stories in it—yes, Felicity, MAGNIFICENT. If the world doesn't come to an end I'll tell you the story of Ruth next Sunday—or look here! I'll tell it anyhow. That's a promise. Wherever we are next Sunday I'll tell you about Ruth."
"Why, you wouldn't tell stories in heaven," said Cecily, in a very timid voice.
"Why not?" said the Story Girl, with a flash of her eyes. "Indeed I shall. I'll tell stories as long as I've a tongue to talk with, or anyone to listen."
Ay, doubtless. That dauntless spirit would soar triumphantly above the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds, taking with it all its own wild sweetness and daring. Even the young-eyed cherubim, choiring on meadows of asphodel, might cease their harping for a time to listen to a tale of the vanished earth, told by that golden tongue. Some vague thought of this was in our minds as we looked at her; and somehow it comforted us. Not even the Judgment was so greatly to be feared if after it we were the SAME, our own precious little identities unchanged.
(Note: I really hope the caps lock words are a feature of the Kindle edition, and not the original, as they're kind of annoying.)
Author: L.M. Montgomery
From Goodreads: Sara Stanley is only fourteen, but she can weave tales that are impossible to resist. In the charming town of Carlisle, children and grown-ups alike flock from miles around to hear her spellbinding tales. And when Bev King and his younger brother Felix arrive for the summer, they, too, are captivated by the Story Girl. Whether she's leading them on exciting misadventure or narrating timeless storiesfrom the scary "Tale of the Family Ghost" to the fanciful "How Kissing Was Discovered" to the bittersweet "The Blue Chest of Rachel Ward" the Story Girl has her audience hanging on every word.
Mini-notes: Pitched somewhere between novel and collection of vignettes, like many of Montgomery's books, The Story Girl is, more than anything, a slice of golden childhood—one summer, beginning to end. Again like many of Montgomery's works, however, the charm is less in the presence or absence of plot than in the characters. Sara Stanley was, for me, memorable; the others, mostly less so, but they were all lovable while I was going through the summer with them*.
Montgomery's sense of the poetic came off a touch heavy-handed here and there, especially at the end, but it never held back the sense of scene and setting and character that makes her well worth reading a century after the writing. There are reasons this novel isn't as commonly read as Anne's or Emily's or Pat's, but none of those reasons were strong enough to make me feel like I'd wasted my time. I read it on the airplane home from Florida, and it was a pleasant companion. For a relaxing afternoon read, I recommend it.
*I have to put in a good word for my next favorite, "the other Sara"—because no one else will. The desperate little legalist wound up close to my heart. Wish I had time to write her some cheerful fan fiction.