Though commendable for exposing children to the effects of war upon families within a small town, the novel reads like wartime propaganda. Even though Montgomery hints at a character’s fate in her earlier novels, the way it is achieved is rather idealistic and unnatural. This “ending” can be rather disappointing for a modern reader who has been exposed to many examples of realistic portrayals of the effects of World War I upon individuals and families. As well, the constant reinforcement of how the character’s fate is achieved is unrealistic as well, given the circumstances.
Also, the romantic elements of the story pale in comparison to the development of Anne and Gilbert’s relationship in the preceding novels. Like many wartime romances, the romance here somehow spontaneously manifests itself. While this inclusion is warranted, a few looks and brief exchanges over a handful of meetings and letters is simply not enough to convey to the reader a true meeting of kindred spirits.