This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.

I’m pretty sure that if you don’t like Anne of Green Gables then we can’t be friends, or should I say “kindred spirits?” Okay, maybe we can be friends, but will we really understand each other? I’m not sure. 

how to read the anne of green gable series

All joking aside, if you’ve never read Anne of Green Gables, pause this blog post and put it on your TBR right now. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.) 

Ok. Now that we have that over with, here’s the thing about this book . . .  

  • First, I seriously think Anne of Green Gables is one of those rare books that can be enjoyed by all age groups beginning from about 10 years old and on. Why? The main characters include a young child with older caregivers, which makes it easy for a wide range of people to find someone they will relate to. 
  • Second, Anne is just so dang endearing. Anne does not have a great life, in fact it’s rather hard. But she’s the queen of turning lemons into lemonade because I think that’s her survival mechanism for making it through some really dark days. 
  • Third, all the characters are human. All the characters in this book are flawed human beings who make stupid mistakes just like we do, which only makes you want to root for them more. 

BUT, there’s more to the Anne books than just Anne of Green Gables. If you’ve read the first book, you probably want to read more, but you may not be sure which book to read next. If this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place. 

Let’s dive in!

Anne of Green Gables Books in Order

One of the things that can be confusing about the Anne of Green Gables book series is that the order in which they should be read does not match up with the order in which they were published. 

You see this with other series, too, such The Chronicles of Narnia

I will go over both options and explain the pros and cons of each. 

The Anne of Green Gables Books in Publication Order

The advantage of reading the books in this order is that this is the order the original audience would have read the books. That means that you will get the same experience they had when the books were first published. 

If you want to read the books in publication order, this is the order you will read them: 

  1. Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  2. Anne of Avonlea (1909)
  3. Anne of the Island (1915)
  4. Anne‘s House of Dreams (1917)
  5. Rainbow Valley (1919)
  6. Rilla of Ingleside (1921)
  7. Anne of Windy Poplars (1936)
  8. Anne of Ingleside (1939)

The downside to reading them in this way is that the timeline skips around a bit. Book number six actually is written from the point of view of her children, and the following two books return to Anne and her marriage. 

The Anne of Green Gables Books in Chronological Order

Here are the books in chronological order. While this is not the order in which the books were originally published, this is the order that Montgomery recommended reading the books. 

While you may think it makes sense to read the books in the order they were published because that’s the way the original audience would have read them, when an author recommends reading them in a different order, there may be a good reason for that. 

Typically, it means that there’s information that the author decided to include earlier in the story that he or she thinks is important for understanding the later books. 

In this case, it will also create a more cohesive reading experience. 

In both lists, the first three books are the same, the variations come in the last five books. 

These are the books in chronological order:  

  1. Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  2. Anne of Avonlea (1909)
  3. Anne of the Island (1915)
  4. Anne of Windy Poplars (1936)
  5. Anne’s House of Dreams (1917)
  6. Anne of Ingleside (1939)
  7. Rainbow Valley (1919)
  8. Rilla of Ingleside (1921)

Additional Books

There are also additional books Montgomery wrote about the characters of Avonlea:

  • Chronicles of Avonlea (1912). Fun short stories about the quirky community of Avonlea. 
  • Further Chronicles of Avonlea (1920). This is a sequel to the Chronicles of Avonlea and follows in the same vein as that book. 
  • The Road to Yesterday (1942). Completed before the author died, this book comprises 14 entertaining stories about the small village of Glen St. Mary where Anne and Gilbert Blythe settle down.
  • The Blythes Are Quoted (1942). This book contains the same stories as The Road to Yesterday, but it also includes some poems. 

Do You Have to Read the Books in Order?

There are two options for reading the Anne of Green Gables books: in publication order or in chronological order.

Montgomery recommended that the books be read in chronological order as they follow a more linear timeline that will be easier to follow and don’t jump around as much as they did when they were first published. 

Who Are the Main Characters in Anne of Green Gables?

While there are many characters in the Anne of Green Gables books, here is a brief description of the main characters::

  • Anne Shirley. Anne is the quirky orphan who comes to live at Green Gables with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. 
  • Marilla Cuthbert. Marilla lives at Green Gables with her brother Matthew. She is very strict with Anne, but her softer side starts to show through as the story develops. 
  • Matthew Cuthbert. Matthew is 60 years old when the story begins. He is Marilla’s brother. Together, Matthew and Marilla adopt Anne. Anne and Matthew have a very sweet relationship. 
  • Gilbert Blythe. Gilbert becomes Anne’s rival who she swears to never speak to after he teases her for her red hair. The rivalry cools by the end of the book. 
  • Diana Barry. Diana is Anne’s best friend who lives on the farm next to Green Gables. 
  • Rachel Lynde. Rachel also lives in a house near Green Gables. She is the town gossip. Marilla treats her with respect, but keeps her at a distance. They develop a friendship that is sweet but with a fair amount of strife. 

How Many Books Are in the Anne of Green Gables Series?

There are eight books in the Anne of Green Gables series plus additional collections of short stories and poems. 

Anne of Green Gables Books in Chronological Order

Below you will find summaries of the Anne of Green Gables books in the chronological order. 


Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables begins with Matthew Cuthbert going to pick up an orphan that he and his sister have decided they want to adopt. Their understanding is that they are pickup up a boy who can help Matthew on the farm since he is getting older. When Matthew goes to pick up the orphan, he is surprised to find a 12-year-old girl,

who he brings back to their farm, Green Gables, which is near the town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. I think it’s safe to say that by the time that Matthew gets home with her, he is smitten with her, but Marilla wants to send her back because they needed a boy. The book is the story about how Anne becomes the orphan they decide to keep.

You know how God sometimes gives us what we need, not what we want, but in the end we look back and are so grateful that it turned out the way it did. This is that story. I love found family stories, and I think that’s one of the reasons I love this book so much.

Anne is one of those characters that is flawed in so many ways but simultaneously so delightful. In this book, you will find a “kindred spirit.” 

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

Anne of Avonlea

Anne of Avonlea details Anne’s life five years after Anne of Green Gables ends when Anne is getting ready to start the job of teacher at her beloved Avonlea school. With great anticipation coursing through her veins, it is a year of adventure. She finds herself confronted with the tough task of earning the trust and admiration of her students.

With her typical Anne-determination, she works to create a nurturing educational environment. At home, Marilla decides to take in two orphan twins, who bring both joy and challenges. Her relationship with her once rival Gilbert Blythe also starts to blossom into more. There are also several happenings going on in and around the town of Avonlea throughout this novel. 


Anne of the Island

Anne of the Island is about Anne leaving Avonlea to Redmond College where she has copious adventures and surprises. She receives a marriage proposal from someone unmarriable, she sells her first story, and she faces a painful tragedy. Anne and her friends find joy in an ornery black cat that lives at a house where Anne and her friends move into.

In the meantime, Gilbert Blythe is making moves to court Anne, and she finds herself trying to figure out if this is something she’s ready for. Some readers describe this book as their favorite in the series. One reader wrote that: “The book captures the wistful sorrows which come with growing up, but also retains all of the wonder which makes the Anne books so special.”


Anne of Windy Poplars

Anne gets the job of principal of Summerside High School in Summerside where she soon finds out she was not the first choice of all of the residents there, especially the Pringles who are considered “the royal family of Summerside.”

However, she does have some wonderful allies where she lives at Windy Poplars who help her navigate the town and people there. She slowly starts to win over the hearts of some of her worst critics. Anne and Gilbert Blythe keep their long-distance relationship going through lots of letters while he finished medical school.

While fans still like this book, they miss the familiar characters of Avonlea. It’s important to note that while this book is fourth chronologically, it was the last book Montgomery wrote in the series.


Anne’s House of Dreams

In the fifth book in the series, Gilbert finishes medical school, and  it finally happens — Anne and Gilbert get married, and they start their life together. They move into a house near Glen St. Mary on Four Winds Harbor where they have new friends and new neighbors and all the problems and surprises that come with those changes.

One fan describes this book as “the most personal of the Anne books” and “the most romantic book.” Another fan described it as “a beautiful tale of the beginnings of marriage and family life for Anne and Gilbert.”


Anne of Ingleside

Anne is a devoted mother, managing a lively home with her five children. Despite the bustling household, her excitement is multiplied as she anticipates the arrival of a new baby. However, her joy is slightly dampened by the presence of her less-than-welcome Aunt Mary Maria, who seems to have overstayed her welcome.

While Anne loves her life in Ingleside, there is a hint of concern that creeps into her mind as she wonders if her husband, Gilbert, still holds the same affection for her. After all, she may have aged a bit, but she’s still the same Anne of Green Gables.

Determined to rekindle their love, Anne embarks on a journey to make Gilbert fall in love with her all over again, igniting the same passion and devotion they once shared.


Rainbow Valley

This seventh book focuses more on Anne and Gilbert’s six children, who stumble upon a special and secluded place, a haven of their own. Little do they know that their lives are about to be enriched by the arrival of a peculiar family in the nearby old mansion — the Meredith clan, comprising two boys, two girls, and a runaway named Mary Vance.

Their father is the new Presbyterian minister John Meredith. The Merediths become fast friends with Anne’s children, and they unite in their secret hideout with the goal of rescuing Mary from the orphanage, to bring happiness to a lonely minister, and to safeguard a pet rooster from the threat of becoming soup. One fan said that “the whimsical world of the children’s minds were enthralling.”


Rilla of Ingleside

In this final book in the series, Anne’s children are approaching adulthood, except Rilla. With her bright hazel eyes and infectious smile, she effortlessly wins hearts. At nearly fifteen years old, Rilla’s thoughts revolve around simple joys like attending her very first dance at the Four Winds lighthouse and anticipating her first kiss from the dashing Kenneth Ford.

However, she is also faced with unexpected challenges. Rilla is soon faced with trials she could never have imagined when the peaceful world of Ingleside becomes endangered by a distant war. As her brothers are called to fight in the first World War, Rilla finds herself taking on new responsibilities.

How to Buy: Anne of Green Gables Boxed Sets

While you can certainly purchase each volume individually by using the links above, there are also several beautiful boxed sets that are worth purchasing if you’re planning to read the entire series or you’re looking for a nice gift for an Anne of Green Gables fan. 

Something to pay attention to is whether or not the set includes all eight volumes because not all sets do. 

Here are some of your options:

Great on Audio!

If you love audiobooks, then you will love this version of Anne of Green Gables read by actress Rachel McAdams.

Anne of Green Gables TV and Film Adaptations

We can’t talk about Anne of Green Gables without also talking about the TV and film adaptations. 

If you love the books, you will also love some of the film adaptations, which I think are very well done. 

When it comes to adaptations, you have a lot to choose from. There are films, radio dramas, television series, miniseries, stage productions, audio dramas, and web adaptations. You can find an exhaustive list here

While the first adaptation was created in 1919 and there were several others created after that. I’m going to primarily focus on the more recent adaptations. 

Anne of Green Gables TV Mini-Series (1985)

The most popular Anne of Green Gables adaptation is the made for television mini-series that was first aired in 1985 on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), PBS, and The Disney Channel. This rendition stars Megan Follows as Anne Shirley and Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe.

The adaptations includes the following series:

The same producer (Kevin Sullivan) that created the original TV adaptations, also created a spin-off series called Road to Avonlea, which is also based on some of Montgomery’s other books and short stories, including the following:

Anne of Green Gables (2016)

This rendition of the story features Ella Ballentine as Anne Shirley, Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert, and Sara Botsford as Marilla Cuthbert. 

There were also some sequels created: 

Anne With an “E” (2017-2019)

Anne with an E

Netflix and CBC released “Anne with an E” in 2017 starring Amybeth McNulty as Anne Shirley and Lucas Jade Zumann as Gilbert Blythe. I think this adaptation offers a bit more of a realistic version of what an orphan would be like in those days while still remaining faithful to the books. 

Three seasons were released before the show was canceled, even though the series was widely popular. 

You can still watch the series on Netflix. 

Who is L.M. Montgomery?

Canadian author L.M. Monthgomery, Lucy Maud Montgomery, lived from 1874 to 1942. She was raised in Cavendish on Prince Edward Island, Canada by her maternal grandparents after her mother died and her father left her in their care. 

Prince Edward Island is located north of Nova Scotia and East of New Brunswick. It’s also where the fictional town of Avonlea is located. Avonlea is reportedly based on the town of Cavendish, and Montgomery’s work draws on her own experiences in many ways.  

Anne of Green Gables farmhouse in Cavendish
CAVENDISH, CANADA – The Green Gables farmhouse is located in Cavendish. There is a museum in the house.

There are several parallels between Montgomery’s own life and Anne Shirley’s: she was raised by an older couple and she learned to use her imagination to keep herself entertained through nature, writing, and reading books. 

She published her first poem in a Prince Edward Island newspaper in 1890 titled, “On Cape LeForce.”

Montgomery went into teaching school and taught for a brief time before deciding to do additional coursework in English literature at Dalhousie University from 1895 to 1896. It was very rare at that time for women to pursue higher education. It was also during this time that L. M. Montgomery  started getting paid for writing.

In 1898, Montgomery moved back to Cavendish to take care of her grandmother after her grandfather died, where she lived for 13 years. But it was also during this time that her writing career began to flourish as she began to publish poems and stories in magazines in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. 

She wrote her first novel, Anne of Green Gables in 1905, but it was rejected by all of the publishers she sent it to. She decided to try submitting it again in 1907, and Page Company of Boston, Massachusetts decided to publish it. It was published in 1908 and was a bestseller right away. 

Montgomery married in 1911 to Rev. Ewan Macdonald and had three boys. One was a stillborn. They lived in Ontario where her husband was a pastor and Montgomery continued to write.

She died in 1942 in Toronto but was buried on Prince Edward Island. 

[Source: L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island]

What Anne of Green Gables Book Are You Going to Read Next?

I would love to hear what Anne of Green Gables books you’ve read, and which books you plan to read next!

Reading Through the Decades Challenge

Free Download

Join the Reading Through the Decades Reading Challenge!

Similar Posts


  1. Wow! That is an incredibly in depth article! I love it. I listened Anne of Green Gables for the first time last year. I loved it! Looks like I need to get busy on the rest of the series. Thanks for the article.❤️

  2. I loved watching the series Anne of Green Gables. I have never read the books so thanks for putting this in order. I think this would be a great read since I loved the series. I also saw Annie with an E.

  3. I just love the Anne series so much! I came here to suggest that folks who love the Anne series might also love the prequel Marilla of Green Gables. It isn’t written by Montgomery, but is written with great care to match the style and care of Montgomery. It’s by Sarah McCoy. It just gives you a little more of a beloved story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *