When Marilla Cuthbert and her brother Matthew send for an orphan boy to help Matthew on the farm, Anne Shirley, a skinny, red-headed girl who never stops talking, arrives instead.
From the beginning, Matthew's heart is captured by this "kindred spirit" and he decides he wants to keep her. Marilla reluctantly agrees to this, but eventually finds herself absorbed by Anne's chatter, amused by the scrapes Anne gets herself into, and frustrated with Anne always having her head in the clouds.
As Anne grows, Marilla finds her a "genius for getting into trouble." Yet, as Anne says, "have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla? I never make the same mistake twice." Despite her many predicaments, life at Green Gables is happy.