5 Books With Heroines Like Anne Shirley (ANNE OF GREEN GABLES)

Have you ever wondered what Anne Shirley would be like in modern times?  Or are you like me and find yourself in the character of Anne?

Let’s face it:  It’s hard to be a girl like Anne in this day and age.  You know how we are.  We imagine ourselves on a boat just like in that famous scene, slowly weaving downstream as we recite “The Lady of Shalott” in all its glorious, romantic splendor.  Other girls head to the mall to find the latest designer jeans while we dream of the PUFFIEST of puffed sleeves.  

And, obviously, TWIRLING in those dresses with puffed sleeves is a must.  Especially at 2 AM when no one is watching.

Ok, fine, that’s my personal addendum.  But I think Anne would approve, don’t you?

We don’t really belong in this time, girls like you and me.  Yet, even though it CAN be hard, we navigate the modern age best because of our imaginations.  The grumpy cashier at the local supermarket could be a kindred spirit.  That autumn leaf drifting down to fall on an abandoned park bench definitely looks like a lost remnant of Fairyland.  Our favorite pair of jeans would be best if entwined with rose vines, even moreso if those roses glittered like the starry night sky.

Forget the woods.  Or particularly the sea.  We could revel in those for days on end. 

That’s exactly why you, like me, may not get the current trending thought that Anne was simply ahead of her time.  It feels like a convenient, surface-level version of our Anne, doesn’t it?  Really, she was outside of time.  Anne didn’t just look toward the future; she rejoiced in the stories, the world, of the past . . . just like we rejoice today in hers.

Sometimes we keep these thoughts tucked away in our hearts, like that one Anne quote.  They seem too precious to share.  But we yearn all the same to share them, to find kindred spirits in the here and now.

Or perhaps within the context of a new story.

As such, a list of young adult books with protagonists similar to Anne Shirley is provided below.  Whether classic or contemporary, speculative or realistic, each work has at its center a poetic, imaginative, and wholesome heroine who demonstrates that "old-fashioned" is not out of date.  In some instances, the novels also share a kinship with the themes and style of Lucy Maud.  May you find bosom friends within their pages!


1.   Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery

While there are many books by the author of Anne of Green Gables filled with kindred spirits, the Emily series is especially perfect for Anne fans.  Once again, readers are treated to works of lyrical beauty and depth and introduced to a writer-orphan with the poetic heart of a dreamer.  Emily may especially appeal to the quieter "Annes" of the world who are more cryptically pensive than effervescently contemplative in their reflections.  The picturesque setting of Prince Edward Island dear to our hearts also takes its place here.  It has been said that one should never write about the same subject twice, but Lucy Maud proves such skeptics wrong.  Each series is wonderfully unique and distinguishes itself as a collection of notable works of literature.  Indeed, it is incredible how an author might pen two series starring characters with similar dreams and backgrounds . . . and yet with entirely different results.  While the Anne series helped define my childhood, I read the Emily books, which are a bit more brooding and intense, in my early teens.

2.  The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman

If you are looking for relatable characters and a contemporary storyline with a fairy tale twist, Doman’s novels are likely to appeal.  Readers will meet two sisters who, while very different, both delight in a literary world of old.  It is likely that Rose and Blanche would have been friends with Anne had their times been allowed to intertwine.  The romanticism of Rose, whose story continues in the novel Waking Rose, stands out in particular as a notable connection.

3.  The Veritas Chronicles by Gina Marinello-Sweeney

Shameless self-plug:  If the introduction to this list felt like “you,” my novels may capture your interest.

Rebecca Veritas is the modern-day Anne.  She revels in a world of Poetry, her imagination never leaves her, and she loves fiercely with all her heart.  Her “bosom friends” mean the world to her. 

She meets a mysterious young man from Canada, and their journey begins. 

Lucy Maud Montgomery references are sprinkled throughout the series, a tribute much like the homeland of Peter, that aforementioned young man.  You’ll see that especially in the final volume of the trilogy, which takes place in his world and quite possibly contains a significant “Lady of Shalott” mention or two.  Or three.   Here are a few thoughts from readers on that topic:

"[Marinello-Sweeney’s] talent for poetic descriptions of nature is reminiscent of the Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, as well as her characters who are "kindred spirits.""

"Very reminiscent of L.M. Montgomery's writing in the best way, as any reader of Marinello-Sweeney's is bound to know."

You may access Rebecca’s world by clicking on the book landscape photos above . . . which is kind of like entering Narnia through that painting in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Only not.

(Did I mention that Rebecca is also exceedingly random?)

4.  Cress by Marissa Meyer

If you are an Anne fan who also enjoys science fiction, the title character in Cress, the third book in The Lunar Chronicles, may become a favorite.  While the story connection may seem tenuous at first, the romantic heart, vivid imagination, and ingenuity of Cress invites the image of an Anne in space.  Or, at least, that of a kindred spirit.

5.  A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle

Did you know that Madeleine L’Engle, the author of A Wrinkle in Time, was a huge fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery? 

Perhaps this is best seen in her novel A Ring of Endless Light, where we are invited into the life of the introspective poet Vicky Austin.  She is, in a sense, a girl apart from her time, yet with a deep understanding beyond her years.  Her poignant, thought-provoking exchanges with her grandfather, who shares her heart and helps her grow in her journey, are especially noteworthy.  While the approach and focus are different, the dolphin-related storyline may also remind readers of the interplay between Lucy Maud’s writing and the beautiful mystery of the sea.

Readers may be advised that a tissue box should be available when reading this novel, which explores difficult themes and situations. 


Reading is a very immersive experience.  As such and in line with the #bookstagram trend, I would like to provide links for the sort of aesthetic you may crave when reading these novels.  Each item is taken from the website of Sullivan Entertainment, known for its marvelous adaptations Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea (aka. Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel) with Megan Follows, as well as the beautiful TV series Road to Avonlea (simply Avonlea in the U.S.), based on the world of L.M. Montgomery and inspired by her books The Story GirlThe Golden RoadChronicles of Avonlea, and Further Chronicles of Avonlea.

Anne-Inspired Jewelry and Hairpieces To Wear When Reading:

Anne of Green Gables and Victorian Music To Listen To When Reading:

"White Way of Delight" and Other Anne-Inspired Tea To Drink While Reading:

Kindred Spirits Mug for Said Tea:

Anne-Inspired Journals to Write Down Your Favorite Quotes & Literary Reflections:

And finally:

Avonlea Illustrated Map Tote Bag for Your Books:


I hope you enjoy these booksas well as, perhaps, some of the supplemental items above!  But it is also my desire that this website may become a network for kindred spirits.  “Girls Like Anne” is a blog for all of us.  So, with that in mind, please leave a comment with an answer to the following question:

What Girls Like Anne topic would you like me to cover in my next blog post?

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