Where this prequel does score, though, is in the inking of those details of rural Canadian women's lives which could be only hinted at in the original. According to Wilson's version, the first woman for whom Anne slaves is battling domestic violence from an alcoholic husband (in Montgomery's original, Mr Thomas is simply referred to politely as "a drunkard"). In the same way, Anne's second employer's astonishing production of eight children within five years (including three sets of twins) is explicitly linked to her husband's inability to curb his sexual needs. This is a world of spoiled hopes, aching backs and endless dirty "diapers" which the tiny orphan-drudge is obliged to scrub day after day. Against this desolate landscape, the prattling world of make-believe which Montgomery created for her heroine starts to seem less like a charming quirk and more like the psychological defence of a damaged - even abused - child.