Literary Swoon, Day Five: Cynthia Hand

February 10, 2012 2012, author interview, cynthia hand, literary swoon, Wendy 35

Photos courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt and Cynthia Hand

If you’re a fan of Unearthly, it should come as no surprise that Cynthia Hand loves the Anne of Green Gables series. Tucker calls Clara “Carrots,” after all, which is what Gilbert Blythe called Miss Anne Shirley! Anne took this to be a torment, and only later discovered that Gilbert meant it affectionately–and that he only teased her because he liked her. Not unlike that other literary couple that we love.

When we asked Cynthia to tell us her favorite romantic book scene for our Literary Swoon feature, she made us tear up a little bit with her choice. If you’ve ever felt the agony and despair of recognizing a missed opportunity when it’s too late, you just may tear up, too.

(As always, please be aware that there will be a spoiler below.)

Cynthia Hand’s Favorite Romantic Book Scene

My favorite romantic scene is in Anne of the Island, from the Anne of Green Gables series. 

I sniffle just thinking about it, where Anne thought Gilbert was dying. Sigh.


Anne stood quite silent and motionless, looking at Davy. Her face had gone so white that Marilla thought she was going to faint.

“Davy, hold your tongue,” said Mrs. Rachel angrily. “Anne, don’t look like that — don’t look like that! We didn’t mean to tell you so suddenly.”

“Is — it — true?” asked Anne in a voice that was not hers.

“Gilbert is very ill,” said Mrs. Lynde gravely. “He took down with typhoid fever just after you left for Echo Lodge. Did you never hear of it?”

“No,” said that unknown voice…

Anne gently put Mrs. Lynde’s arms away from her, walked blindly across the kitchen, through the hall, up the stairs to her old room. At its window she knelt down, staring out unseeingly. It was very dark. The rain was beating down over the shivering fields. The Haunted Woods was full of the groans of mighty trees wrung in the tempest, and the air throbbed with the thunderous crash of billows on the distant shore. And Gilbert was dying!

There is a book of Revelation in every one’s life, as there is in the Bible. Anne read hers that bitter night, as she kept her agonized vigil through the hours of storm and darkness. She loved Gilbert — had always loved him! She knew that now. She knew that she could no more cast him out of her life without agony than she could have cut off her right hand and cast it from her. And the knowledge had come too late — too late even for the bitter solace of being with him at the last. If she had not been so blind — so foolish — she would have had the right to go to him now. But he would never know that she loved him — he would go away from this life thinking that she did not care.

Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of Unearthly and Hallowed. If you missed our epic interview with her last month, you can read it here and here, or join the ongoing Hallowed discussion here! Keep up to date with Cynthia’s latest book and tour info via her blog, GoodReads, and Twitter. The third and final book in the Unearthly series will be out in 2013.

Check out the rest of the Literary Swoon series! 

Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls
Gail Carriger, author of Soulless
Rebecca Lim, author of Mercy
Deborah Cooke, author of Flying Blind
Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly
Shirley Marr, author of Fury 
Lauren Oliver, author of Delirium

Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood
The Midnight Garden Bloggers

35 Responses to “Literary Swoon, Day Five: Cynthia Hand”

  1. Enbrethiliel


    I haven’t had the chance to read this far into L.M. Montgomery’s Anne series; and for fear of spoilers, I didn’t read the excerpt. But I want to comment anyway to say that Gilbert and Anne are one of my favourite romantic couples of all time! <3

  2. The Sagacity Quest

    AHHH. I have the first 6 books in the Anne of Greene Gables series but I’ve yet to read them. I think this will be my motivation to pick them up. Thanks for the post, Wendy.

    • Wendy Darling

      I hope you get a chance to read them soon, Sagacity! Talk about romantic swoon. :) Look forward to hearing what you think when you get around to them.

  3. Rachel

    I never read Anne of Greene Gables but I did watch the movie version. I remember loving it but I can’t remember anything about it. Lovely scene. :)

  4. ashelynn hetland

    Sniffle, Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books and I still choke up when I think about this scene! Thanks a lot, Cynthia and Wendy! ;P

  5. Natalie (Mindful Musings)

    I just had to reread Anne of Green Gables for my YA Lit. class, so my interest in reading the sequels has been renewed! I definitely have to finish this series. Anne is such a fantastic character!

    On a side note: I just started Unearthly! :)

  6. Melliane

    it’s a nice excerpt, but I still didn’t know about this book. (yeah I know I’m such a lost case lol). thank you so much for sharing this one with us!

  7. Bookworm1858

    I loved this part so much, especially because of what came after for Anne wasn’t too late! I definitely swoon for Gilbert ;)

  8. A Canadian Girl

    Anne of Green Gables! I remember reading Anne of the Island and getting really worried that Gilbert would die. He was one of the first fictional guys I fell in love with :)

  9. Julie@My5monkeys

    Ah this is one of my fave childhood stories and I too fell in love with Gilbert and Anne.
    I noticed that her series also mentioned Carrots :)

  10. pagesunbound

    Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books! Hand’s choice made me more excited about Unearthly than I already am. I still need to read Hallowed, though!

  11. elena

    Awww, I have never read Anne of Green Gables but I really really want to. This definitely is a romantic scene and Cynthia picked well! I was excited to see her name attached to this event, haha. x

  12. Missie, The Unread Reader

    Slay me why don’t you! I think Gilbert might have been my first literary crush, if you don’t count Christoper Doll (and please forget I even mentioned him).

    Yes, that is such an emotional scene! Now I want to race home and read book one.

  13. Mimi Valentine

    CYNTHIA HAND! <3 It's not an understatement when I say I'm in LOVE with her books, so I'm really happy that she's the feature for Literary Swoon today! :)

    And oh my gosh, Gilbert is dying??? I haven’t read these books before so I don’t know what happens but my heart is already breaking for Anne. I NEED to read these books so I can find out what happens! What an amazing yet heartbreaking romantic pick! <3

  14. Amy

    I loved Anne of Green Gables as a girl. I should revisit them soon! These posts are so great!

  15. Sam

    I’m loving these Literary Swoon posts. Each one is so different! Cynthia’s choice sounds like sweet romantic tale. I am definitely going to have to check it out soon. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh Sam! Anne of Green Gables is so lovely, I hope you have a chance to read them soon. If you enjoy classic literature, they’re must reads for sure.

  16. starryeyedjen

    Oh, how I loved Anne of Green Gables when I was a girl. I should pick that series up again for a re-read. I am seriously swooning all over again. :)

  17. Jenny

    What? Does he die? I haven’t read this books, SOMEONE MUST TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS TO GILBERT! These have been such fun posts, I could read them everyday:)

    • Wendy Darling


      Gilbert is very, very ill and almost dies…but yes, he does recover. :) As to whether he and Anne get together, though, you’ll have to read the books to find out!

  18. Rebecca

    Well,*wipes eyes* at least this post had a bit of warning. I do love Anne!
    Wendy this Literary Swoon idea was excellent!!!