"The Blue Castle" - L.M. Montgomery - 1926

Don't you just love how book covers change over the decades?  The bottom one is classic, still as elegant today as it was when published.  It would make a great screen print, wouldn't it?  Our library had that unfortunate copy which makes Valancy and Barney look like they're reenacting a scene from Dirty Dancing!  

First things first, I read "AoGG" as a kid, and I loved the movie adaptations, especially 'Anne of Avonlea" - I vividly remember renting double VHS sets, in fact, I think the library still has those copies...  
"The Blue Castle" is regarded as her most mature work, as in not specifically for young adults, but my copy says YA and I found it right in with the "Anne" books in our library.   

When we meet Valancy, she's a tragic spinster, age 29, brow-beaten into submission by her overbearing family.  The first section of the novel is painful to read.  Every member of her family ranks higher than her, widowed aunts, bombastic uncles, and especially her younger, prettier cousin.  Every day is the same, the same jokes, the same insults, and always directed at Valancy.  They don't even recognize her as an adult, insisting on calling her by her childhood nickname, "Doss." They consider themselves better than most citizens of their small town, while living in fear of their opinions.  She rebels in her heart and head - her rank may be lower, but her intelligence is higher than that whole family put together.  

Valancy decides to visit a non-family doctor to check on the heart palpitations she's been having, and this one act of rebellion sparks a chain of events in motion that leads her to the life she deserves.