In Spring 1905, Montgomery read a faded entry in her notebook: "Elderly couple apply to orphan asylum for a boy. By mistake, a girl is sent to them." The entry inspired her to write Anne of Green Gables, the classic tale of the imaginative red-haired orphan Anne Shirley who is sent to live with Mathew and Marilla Cuthbert. The setting of Avonlea and Green Gables was loosely based on locations in Cavendish.

Published in June 1908, Anne of Green Gables was an instant success, selling 19,000 copies in its first six months. “I candidly confess that it was to me a proud and wonderful and thrilling moment,” Montgomery wrote in her journal after receiving her first copy. “There, in my hand, lay material realization of all the dreams and hopes and ambitions of my whole conscious existence."

Since the publication of Anne of Green Gables in 1908, the work has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 36 languages.  The work has many film adaptations, made for television movies, and musicals and plays.