''The Blue Castle'', by Creator/LMMontgomery (better known for the ''Literature/AnneOfGreenGables'' and ''Literature/EmilyOfNewMoon'' series), is the story of Valancy Stirling, a 29-year-old OldMaid whose overbearing family makes her life miserable. Her only escape is through her daydreams as the chatelaine of a beautiful blue castle. When she finds out she has a terminal form of heart disease and only a year to live, she decides to leave home and at least have some adventures before she dies. She makes friends with the town pariahs: Roaring Abel Gay, an alcoholic; his daughter Cecily, an unmarried mother dying of tuberculosis, and Barney Snaith, a rumored criminal living on an island cottage, soon to become Valancy's love interest. Rather dark by Montgomery's standards, this book is a significant exception to her usual style of light teen romance, and consequently sadly underrated.

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!!This book provides examples of:
* AccidentalMisnaming: Part of Valancy's rebellion is to refuse her family nickname, "Doss".
* TheAlcoholic: Roaring Abel, who earned his nickname because of his habit of driving around town drunk, roaring bawdy songs and swear words. Sometimes played for laughs, as he has a different "stage" of behavior according to how drunk he is.
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Valancy is fascinated by Barney's outlaw status.
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Valancy's entire life up to where the story begins.
* AlphaBitch: Valancy's cousin Olive.
* TheAllegedCar: Barney's Grey Slosson, "Lady Jane".
* AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents: [[spoiler:Doc Redfern, a loud, tacky patent medicine quack, is clearly this for Barney.]]
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: [[spoiler:Barney gets in a good one at the end of the novel, as he's trying to convince Valancy to come back to him.]]
* AnxietyDreams: After she learns that she [[spoiler:tricked Barney into marrying her.]]
* ArousedByTheirVoice: Barney's voice "might become caressing or wooing with little provocation".
* BadassGrandpa: Roaring Abel. At one point he throws one of Valancy's pompous relatives into an asparagus bed for insulting him.
** Valancy's unconventional grandfather, Amos Wansbarra, who shocked the clan by giving her her unusual name. Valancy tells her relatives that he was practically the only decent person she had ever known.
* BasedOnADream: InUniverse, Dr. Redfern dreamt up the formulae for his inventions.
* BeautifulAllAlong: Valancy, like many Montgomery heroines, is unconventional-looking, and only attractive in certain moments to certain people.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Cousin Olive, who only associates with friendless Valancy to make herself look charitable.
* BlackSheep: To the Stirlings, Valancy would certainly qualify, but Valancy is really more of a WhiteSheep to everyone else.
* BrokenBird: Oh, Cecily. First she winds up pregnant by a boy who only saw her as a summer fling, then the baby dies, and by the time of the novel she herself is dying.
* CanadaEh: [[spoiler:Barney's father]] talks like this.
* CelebCrush: Valancy on her favorite writer, John Foster. [[spoiler:Also known as Barney Snaith.]]
* ChangelingFantasy
* ChivalrousPervert: Roaring Abel.
* ChristmasCake: Poor Valancy suffers a lot from this at the beginning of the novel.
* TheClan: The Stirlings.
* TheCobblersChildrenHaveNoShoes: Roaring Abel is a carpenter, but his own house is falling apart. [[spoiler:Dr Redfern is another example: he sells treatments for hair loss and rheumatism, yet he suffers from both. They ''are'' implied to work solely on PlaceboEffect, though.]]
* CuteKitten: Barney's cats, Good Luck and Banjo.
* DamselInDistress: Valancy foolishly goes to a dance where some drunken men harrass her. Fortunately, Barney arrives in time.
* DeadpanSnarker: Valancy blossoms into one after the news from the doctor, much to her family's dismay.
--> '''Aunt Isabel:''' "Doss, you are horribly thin. You are ''all'' corners. Don't you ever try to fatten up?"
--> '''Valancy:''' "No. But I can tell you where to find a beauty parlor in St. Lawrence where they can reduce the number of your chins."
** Barney has his moments, too:
--> '''Benjamin:''' "You - you pup!"
--> '''Barney:''' "Why be so unoriginal?"
* DisappearedDad: Valancy's father died of pneumonia when she was a baby, possibly because of his neurotic wife's rule about not lighting fires before October 21st.
* DefiledForever: Subverted. The entire town sees Cecily as this, but Valancy refuses to buy into it, especially since Cecily is a sweet, shy girl who was previously well respected. Later when telling her story, Cecily admits that she didn't even know having sex would lead to pregnancy, and that she refused her boyfriend's dutiful proposal because she could tell he'd fallen out of love with her. She thought trapping him into a loveless marriage would be worse than dealing with the pregnancy by herself. Note that this book was written in the 1920s.
* DontFearTheReaper: Valancy is not afraid to die, just angry that she's never really lived.
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: Shortly after Valancy decides to stop deferring to her family, she ditches her outdated pompadour for stylish low puffs. An even more drastic change comes later when Barney bobs her hair.
* ExtremeDoormat: Valancy at first. [[spoiler: She decides to stop letting others push her around when she mistakenly diagnosed with angina pectoris.]]
* TheFirstCutIsTheDeepest: [[spoiler:Barney lost all faith in friendship and love after he learnt that his first love was only interested in his father's money.]] Of course, he ''had'' had to go through a lot before that incident, and it was the last straw.
* FourthDateMarriage: A slightly unusual case. [[spoiler: Valancy proposes to Barney after a rather short acquaintance, not only because she's falling for him, but to have a place to live after Cissy's death. Barney, knowing about her heart disease, accepts her out of pity and because she's a good chum, but comes to fall in love with her later on.]]
* FriendlessBackground: Valancy [[spoiler:and Barney]].
* GoldDigger: [[spoiler:Ethel Traverse, Barney's first love, whom he dumped after finding out she only wanted him for his father's money. This was the real cause of his leaving home to travel and settling in a tiny cottage in Ontario.]]
* GoodShepherd: Mr. Towers.
* GossipyHens: The Stirling family.
* GrandeDame: Mrs. Frederick Stirling, Aunt Wellington, Aunt Isabel, quite a few in the Stirling family.
* HappyPlace: The Blue Castle.
* {{Hypochondriac}}: Cousin Gladys with her "neuritis".
* ImpoverishedPatrician: [[spoiler:Barney's first fiancee]]
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: Cissy Gay refuses the proposal by her baby's father because she didn't want to trap him in a loveless marriage. [[spoiler:Valancy also leaves Barney when she realises that she isn't dying, for the same reason.]]
* IWasQuiteALooker: Aunt Alberta. Also Roaring Abel, who was a real TheCasanova in his youth.
* IncrediblyLamePun: Uncle Benjamin just loves these.
* InfantImmortality: Sadly averted with the death of Cissy's baby son.
* InHarmonyWithNature: Barney, and eventually Valancy
* KidsAreCruel: As experienced by Barney and Valancy.
* KindheartedCatLover: Valancy. Her unsympathetic mother and Cousin Stickles, however, dislike cats.
* LackOfEmpathy: All the Stirlings, with the possible exception of Cousin Georgiana.
* LikeYouWereDying
* LadyLooksLikeADude: Valancy as a child is mistaken for a boy by Dr. Stalling who is furious that she is wearing a hat in church.
* LonelyRichKid: [[spoiler:Barney, also a frequent target of bullying.]]
* LoveEpiphany: [[spoiler: Barney has one when Valancy's life is threatened.]]
* TheMakeover: Valancy, whose mother has been dressing her in thick layers of brown, gray and black, spends her first housekeeping wages from Roaring Abel on a short-sleeved, drop-waisted, collarless green dress and a lacy nightgown.
* MakeUpIsEvil: Everyone knows Valancy is dull so thoroughly that a rumor that she wore rouge is not enough to sink her reputation, which it would have done for any other girl.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Her mother sulks after a quarrel, which means she does not discover the letter that said she was dying. Valancy regards it as providential.
* MenAreBetterThanWomen: When Valancy as a child is bullied by an older male cousin who later denied hurting her, the Stirling clan take his side because the family rule is that boys are trusted more than girls. Also, Valancy's mother was very disappointed that Valancy wasn't a boy.
* MissingMom: [[spoiler:Barney's mother died when he was a baby, just like Valancy's father.]] Cissy's mother died young as well.
* [[spoiler:MistakenForDying: Valancy's doctor, panicked by the news of his son's car accident, mixes up Valancy's letter with one to a dying old woman. She accepts the diagnosis because consulting another doctor would require telling her family (because she can't drive and Dr. Trent is the only one in walking distance) which would result in so much fuss and bother that Valancy's plans for a happy last year would be entirely spoiled.]]
* MisunderstoodLonerWithAHeartOfGold: Barney, and this suits him just fine.
* MyOwnPrivateIDo: [[spoiler:Barney and Valancy.]]
* MysteriousPast: Barney
* NatureLover: Barney and Valancy
* NeatFreak: Valancy, in spite of herself, due to her upbringing. Her mother takes it to an extreme.
* {{Never Live It Down}}: An InUniverse example. The Stirlings never let Valancy forget that she stole some raspberry jam when she was eight and lost one of her aunt's silver teaspoons.
* NotWithThemForTheMoney: [[spoiler: Valancy in regards to Barney]]. Her family, not so much.
* ObliviousToLove: Barney is oblivious to his true feelings towards Valancy, up to a point.
* OrderedApology: Valancy is forced to apologize to Olive when she had done nothing wrong.
* ParentalMarriageVeto: Family disapproval led to Olive giving up her second romance. (Not, whatever those outside the family say, the way the Bad Boy was losing interest in her.)
* PlaceboEffect: Dr Redfern's medicines work using this effect, according to Barney.
* PrecisionFStrike: [[spoiler: In the last chapter, Barney follows Valancy to her mother's house and pleads with her to come back to him, telling her all about his childhood and Ethel Traverse. When Valancy refuses, thinking he's only pretending to care, he exclaims "Damn!", jumping to the conclusion that she's embarrassed by his tacky NouveauRiche father. This, of all things, finally convinces Valancy he loves her - knowing her husband only loses his temper when he cares deeply about something. They make up and live happily ever after.]]
* PungeonMaster: Uncle Benjamin, who often uses this trait to tease Valancy about her lack of a love life.
-->'''Benjamin:''' "What is the difference between a young girl and an old maid?"
-->'''Valancy:''' "One is happy and careless, the other is cappy and hairless. You have asked that riddle at least 50 times in my recollection, Uncle Ben. Why don't you hunt up some new riddles if riddle you ''must''? It is such a fatal mistake to try to be funny when you don't succeed."
* PurpleEyes: Barney.
* PygmalionSnapback: [[spoiler:Oddly enough, after finding out that she isn't dying after all, Valancy's newfound confidence completely evaporates. She leaves Barney, goes back to her mother, and takes a lot of convincing to realize that he wants her back. It makes sense when you realize how downtrodden she's been all her life, and that her confidence was really due to a belief that her actions wouldn't have any serious consequences. The point is for her to learn that they ''do'', and to be confident anyway.]]
* RailroadTracksOfDoom: Valancy's shoe is caught in the tracks once.
* ReclusiveArtist: [[invoked]] John Foster.
* TheReveal: Quite a lot of them are piled up on top of each other in a space of a few chapters: [[spoiler: Valancy isn't really dying; the doctor sent her the wrong letter. Barney is the son of a millionaire Dr Redfern (whose products have been mentioned several times before). Barney's backstory is also partially revealed. Oh, and he's also John Foster, the author of nature books Valancy adores.]] In an earlier chapter, Cissy Gay reveals the details of her tragedy.
* SceneryPorn: What else would you expect from L.M. Montgomery? Except this time it's set in Muskoka, Ontario, instead of Prince Edward Island.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: [[spoiler: All of Barney's seemingly random questions about money ("Would you be happier if you had a million dollars?") turn out to be his way of assuring himself that Valancy is not another Ethel Traverse and does, in fact, love him for himself.]]
* SelfMadeMan: Dr. Redfern
* SheCleansUpNicely: Valancy and Barney
* SilentTreatment: Valancy's mother's preferred method of punishment.
* SinisterMinister: Dr. Stalling, but only in Valancy's eyes. Roaring Abel (and the reader) sees him as simply pompous, narrow-minded and rather stupid.
* SuddenlySuitableSuitor: To the Stirlings, Barney becomes a perfect suitor for Valancy when they discover his real last name.
* TermsOfEndearment: Barney calls Valancy "Moonlight".
* ThickerThanWater: Cousin Stickles admonishes Valancy with this.
--> '''Valancy''': "But who wants water to be thick? We want it to be thin - sparkling - crystal-clear."
* ThroughHisStomach: Barney is much taken with her cooking.
* TrueLoveIsExceptional: Olive's romances have been variable.
* TheUnfavorite: Valancy, which is made all the more remarkable by the fact that she's ''an only child.''
* VictorianNovelDisease: Played tragically straight with Cecily.
* WhyCouldntYouBeDifferent: Mrs. Stirling is disappointed in Valancy for being female (she wanted a boy) and unattractive.
* YourDaysAreNumbered: Interestingly played with Valancy, who actually finds the prospect much easier to bear than a long, dull life of spinsterdom and social pressure with her family. [[spoiler:When the doctor reveals his mistake, as is traditional for this trope, Valancy is ''not'' happy to live out her life with Barney as one might expect. She's heartbroken, believing that Barney will accuse her of tricking him into marriage. It doesn't even occur to her that Barney might have grown to love her and want to keep her - not until the aforementioned Precision F Strike, at least.]]
** Cissy is another example. She, too, is content to die - she feels she has nothing left to live for.
* YouNeedToGetLaid: The Stirlings, not knowing about the heart disease, blame this trope for Valancy's rebellion: "Old maids are apt to fly off on a tangent like that. If she had been married when she should have been, none of this would have happened."
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