Introduction to Avonlea and its Characters



The Town: Avonlea is a small, fictional village created by L. M. Montgomery. It is situated on the North Shore of Prince Edward Island, Canada. It is probably located in King's County. The Island is noted for its red, iron-rich earth and maritime industry. The Ward family (from which Janet King is descended) is believed to be the oldest founding family still living in the area. The town has one main street which includes a general store, bank, post office, doctor's office, boarding house, blacksmith shop, newspaper office for the publishing of the Avonlea Chronicle, and a few other unamed buildings and businesses. The Dale Cannery, recently engulfed in a raging conflagration, was crucial to the commerce of the town, but farming is the main means of subsistence. The ocean and the luxurious White Sands Hotel attract tourists to the area, and tourism is another important industry. Evergreen and maple trees populate the encroaching forest.

The Population: The King family is the most prominent in the town. Other notable surnames include the Ward, Pettibone, McEwen, Bugle, Potts, Gillis, MacDonald, and Lynde families. Anne and Gilbert Blythe of the original "Anne Stories" live in Four Winds Harbor in another part of the island with their six children. The ethnic make-up of Avonlea's citizens is almost exclusively English, Scottish, and Irish. The only church in the village is of the Presbyterian denomination and so are virtually all of the people as far as anyone can guess. There has been some mention of Methodist residents and the French chef of the White Sands Hotel is possibly Catholic.

The Climate: The coastal situation of the town protects it from some of the harsh extremes of weather of the mainland. The winters are long and snowy, but not too severe. During the summer, ocean breezes cool the island, but the water stays unusually warm until late in the season.


Alec and Janet King are pleased to welcome you to Avonlea!

Important Characters

The King Family


Alec and Janet King with their children, Felicity, Felix, Cecily, and Daniel

Henrietta (Hetty) Euphemia King: (b. August 26, 1859) Hetty is the head of the family and self-proclaimed judge of what is best for it. She is the eldest of her siblings and therefore the oldest living King anscestor in Avonlea. When her mother died, she took over the upbringing of her younger brothers and sisters. Their father died ten years later, leaving Hetty in charge. She was an excellent student as a girl and went on to graduate from Queen's Teachers College. She presided over the town's one-room schoolhouse for an indefinite period of time. She is proud, dominating, and demanding. She protects her vulnerability with her sharp-tongued remarks and avoidance of emotional display. Although she is intelligent and industrious, her eccentric and often rude behavior, her biting sarcasm, and her icy manner rate her low on the list of Avonlea's favorite citizens. She is quite thin with dark brown hair which is always neatly pulled back and her clothing is usually crisp and impeccable.

Alexander (Alec) Abraham King: (b. January 7, 1863) Alec is the second child and eldest son of Abraham and Elizabeth King. He was married to Janet Ward in 1889 and they have four children. As the eldest son, he has posession of the prosperous King Farm and the main house. He loves his children very much, but was and is often too easy on them in their upbringing. He is known to be indulgent with all of them and does not believe in whipping them as most parents of the time do. He works hard on the farm and has a great love for farming and the land. He tries his best to raise his children the right way and be a good father, but gives in too easily to their faults and vices. His wife also has a great deal of influence on him at times, though he does make some decisions for himself. He is not a large man, but he is not tiny and slender, either. He has thinning gray hair which was once dark brown like his sister's. He is clean-shaven and often reveals his emotions through sighing and unusual eye and eyebrow expressions. One of his gifts is a fine singing voice.

Janet Mary King: (b. October 17, 1868) Janet King is Alec King's wife. She is enthusiastic, energetic, and passionate. Like Alec, she dotes on her children (especially Felix) and worries about them like any good mother. She is a capable homemaker and prides herself on her household skills. She is often sad because her children are growing up so fast and she wants them to be her babies forever. She hasn't had much education, but she has knowledge of experience. She can be silly at times and she is very talkative and outgoing. It is very important to her to be useful and helpful. She is plump and friendly-faced with light hair and a warm, ruddy complexion. She is also about the same height as her smallish husband and can be domineering when she wants to be.

Felicity Janet Pike: (b. July 28, 1891) Felicity Pike is the eldest daughter of Alec and Janet King and was married to a former sailor named Gus Pike in 1912.  She is very much like her aunt, Hetty, in terms of her personality. She is controling of her younger siblings, is given to sharp remarks, and was an excellent student in school. She once pursued a career as a physician, but she gave it up and then got married instead. As a young girl she was considered very beautiful and she still tends to be vain and proud. Etiquitte, first impressions, and personal achievement are very important to her. She is definitely "Daddy's Little Girl" and aimed to please her parents when she was a child through her scholastic achievement. Felicity's talents include an aptitude for all household tasks (cooking, sewing, etc.), intelligence, and the ability to play the piano. These are counterbalanced by her arrogant and occasionally malicious behavior. Felicity is quite slender and always has everything in place. She is very fashionable, as well. Her hair is a color somewhere between a light brown and a golden color. She has large eyes and her appearance could never be described as common.

Felix Alexander King: (b. September 30, 1894) Felix is the eldest son and second child of Alec and Janet King. He has grown more industrious with age, but he is always looking for ways to "get rich quick". He also tends to make big plans that never seem to work out. Felicity teased him mercilessly as a child, as he was a chubby little boy who did not share her passion for academics. He chooses carefully what he wants to put his mind and energy into. Despite the discouragements of his older sister, he was known to be a fairly cheerful and unabashed boy and as he has grown older, he has found it easier to ignore her comments. His childhood friend, Izzy Pettibone, has held his romantic interest for about two years and on the day of Felicity's wedding, he announced his decision to join the Navy. At the beginning of this book, Felix has outgrown his stodginess and become much taller. He is also endowed with an attractive combination of brown, wavy hair and blue eyes.

Cecily Margaret King: (b. May 7, 1896) Cecily is the third child of Alec and Janet King. She was a quiet child with a sweet disposition and a charitable outlook toward others, but could at times be a tattle-tale. She is sensitive, but much more talkative and more willing to share her ideas than she was when she was younger. She loves animals, but is not very adept at performing domestic tasks. At age thirteen, she was admitted to a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients and returned home a little over a year later. Since then, she has been readjusting to life at home. She will graduate from school late, but she does not receive too much criticism from Felicity. Cecily is a friendly-faced girl who looks more like a Ward than a King. Her hair is a very light blonde color and she has blue eyes like her brother.

Daniel Abraham King: (b. February 12, 1906) Daniel is the fourth child of Alec and Janet King. His personality is not clearly defined as he is still very young and does not have many lines or appearances in the television series. He is blonde and blue-eyed like Cecily, and that is about all one can say about him.

Roger Andrew King: (b. December 11, 1866) Roger King is the third child of Abraham and Elizabeth King and is an almost unknown entity. He appeared in one of the earlier episodes when he returned to Avonlea to take his son home. He is a geologist whose deceased wife has left him a single child.

Andrew Michael King: (b. January 18, 1890) Andrew was a precocious child who came to live at the King Farm for nearly two years while his father went on a geologic expedition in South America. While staying in Avonlea, he established himself as a serious and prudent scholar with a talent for hockey. He has not been seen for six years, but when he was last in Avonlea, he was an average-sized boy with sandy brown hair.

Ruth Elizabeth Stanley: (b. December 11, 1867) Ruth Stanley was the fourth child of Abraham and Elizabeth King. She was married young and travelled all over the world with her husband, Blair Stanley. She gave birth to one daughter in 1893, who is said to look exactly like her, and died three years later of consumption. Her husband died ten years after that.

Sara Elizabeth Stanley: (b. March 9, 1893) Sara began as the main character of the Avonlea television series, but left the show before the final two seasons. She occasionally visited on episodes as a guest star during this time. Sara was brought up in luxury before moving to Avonlea and moving in with her aunts, Hetty and Olivia. She is still attached to the upper class and is heir to her father's fortune. At the beginning of the book, she is attending college in Europe and pursuing a career as a writer. As a child, Sara was a bit of an actress and her cousin Felicity was insanely jealous of her privileged lifestyle. The two of them seem to have solved their differences as they have grown older, but it is sometimes evident that Felicity would like to have some of the advantages that Sara has. Sara is a very tiny girl, in terms of appearance. She is short and thin, with light, wispy blonde hair and light blue eyes.

Olivia Josephine Dale: (b. April 22, 1872) Olivia King is the fifth and last child of Abraham and Elizabeth King. She has recently moved to England with her husband and two children. She was practically raised by Hetty and led a very sheltered and controlled life until she began working for the Avonlea Chronicle. Once timid and immature, she has become self-sufficient and confident. She married Jasper Dale in 1906, against her sister's wishes and later operated a lobster cannery with him. When Sara first came to live with her aunts, Olivia was understanding and compassionate and she tried to protect her from Hetty's sharp tongue. Olivia can also be very emotional and still cries like a small child. In terms of appearance, she is a beautiful woman who seems younger than her forty-two years. Her hair is brown, but lighter than Hetty's, and she wears it more stylishly.

Jasper Thomas Dale: (b. March 25, 1865) Jasper Dale is married to Olivia, but he appeared on the series in the first season, prior to their marriage. He is an awkward, absent-minded man who is always inventing things. He has finally received a position with the Royal Society in England and this was the basis for the move. Jasper is intelligent and kind and he adores Olivia. While living in Avonlea, he was often ridiculed by the townsfolk who saw his scientific experiments as a waste of time. Jasper is a fairly tall man, but he tends to stoop over and bumble around as he works on his projects. He has light hair and always wears a pair of small spectacles which accentuate his scientist role.

Montgomery Thomas Dale: (b. September 8, 1907) Montgomery is the only biological child of Jasper and Olivia Dale. He, like Daniel King, has not yet established much personality for himself. Montgomery is a very handsome little boy with light brown hair.

Alicia Cooper Dale: (b. February 17, 1912) Alicia was left to the Dales by a girl named Lottie Cooper who was staying with them. They have never seen her father. Alicia was given her name at Olivia's suggestion-it was Jasper's mother's name and would have been Montgomery's if he was a girl. Alicia has no personality at all, so far. She is just a baby at the beginning of the book.

The Pettibone Family


Arthur, Morgan, and Izzy Pettibone

Clive Arthur Pettibone: (b. October 2, 1858) Clive Pettibone moved to Avonlea in 1907 to teach at the Avonlea school during Hetty King's sabbatical. He is a retired colonel who lived in India for several years with his wife and three children. After his wife's death, he moved to Canada.  At first, the residents of Avonlea mistook his firm, military manner for hostility, especially Alec King who threatened to remove him from his position if he did not change his teaching style.  Once he became friends with Hetty King and discovered that the two of them were secret novelists, he gained new insight into the world of civilian education.  He soon earned the respect and appreciation of his students, eventually being promoted to the position of Superintendent of Schools.  He has three children:  Arthur, Morgan, and Izzy.  Conflict between himself and his eldest son was the subject of a few episodes, but they have recently been able to settle some of their differences.  He was remarried in December of 1910 to Muriel Stacey.  Clive Pettibone appears to be fairly tall (it's hard to tell) and has craggy features.  He also enjoys horseback riding, checkers, and studying military history.

Muriel Anne Pettibone: (b. December 19, 1859) Muriel Pettibone is a former schoolteacher and Superintendent of Schools who now runs the Avonlea General Store.  She was both friend and rival to Hetty King when they were young, graduating from teacher's college in the same year and both teaching at the Avonlea school at some time.  Muriel, however, has lived the adventurous life that Hetty never dared to, travelling to Europe and India, going on an archeological expedition, and working for various organizations.  She is also much more friendly and likeable and made Hetty jealous of her popularity with the children when she came to work as a substitue teacher in her absence.  She is a wise woman with black hair and bright, cheerful eyes.  After years as a spinster, she has finally met her match in Clive Pettibone.

Arthur William Pettibone: (b. May 11, 1888) Arthur is the eldest son of Clive Pettibone.  He is a young veterinarian who was romantically interested in Felicity at one time.  His "modern ideas" did not sit well with either her or his father and when forced to make a decision, she chose Gus Pike.  Arthur has held a grudge against his father ever since his mother died; he blamed Clive for her death and was infuriated by his frequent absences when she was alive.  They get along better now, although Arthur does not share Clive's love of the military.  Arthur is tall and thin, with high cheekbones and very dark hair.  

Morgan Charles Pettibone: (b. August 8, 1893)  Morgan is the least-seen Pettibone child and he has even been played by two different actors who don't really look alike.  (Cecily's character was played by different actresses, but their appearance could still be described in much the same way.)  He went off to military school when he was fifteen, which pleased his father.  Then he was expelled three years later, which did not earn him the same praise.  He finally stood up to Clive, telling him that he would never return to the military and that he was going to college to become a teacher.

Isolde (Izzy) Jessica Pettibone: (b. October 10, 1895)  Izzy is the youngest child and only daughter of Clive Pettibone and his first wife, Jessica.  When she came to Avonlea as a young child, she was a tomboy who became good friends with Felix King.  As she got older, he began to see her in a different light and the two of them (slowly and after many quarrels and tears) became a couple.  Izzy can be very dramatic, moody, and difficult...she set her father up with Muriel and when they got serious, tried to sabotage the relationship.  She is of average height, with long brown hair and almost elfin features.  She looks a lot like her mother, but with lighter hair.

More characterizations to come! 

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