by Laurel Boone
Lucy MAUD MONTGOMERY lived in penury -- actual or impending -- until she got free of L. C. Page, her avaricious American publisher, in 1919 and began to reap the benefits of Anne of Green Cables.
Six of the 19 stories collected by Rea Wilmshurst in Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side (McClelland & Stewart, 310 pages, $24.95 cloth) were first published in 1921 or later, and they are the only ones with any degree of plot complexity, characterization, and emotional or ethical ambiguity. The other 13 are fairly pedestrian examples of popular magazine fiction, even when they are "spooky" or mention vice.
As a book to be read for its own sake, Among the Shadows is not very interesting. However, with the other volumes in Wilmshurst`s series, it will be useful to scholars. It`s too bad the stories aren`t in chronological order. Mingling strong stories with weak ones may keep some readers` attention, and grouping uncollected stories by subject may stimulate the tourist market. But the strategy conceals the facts that, in her stories at least, Montgomerys artistic development and freedom of imagination grew along with her fame, and that her liberation from the narrowest editorial constraints coincides with her financial independence.