I can always count on George MacDonald to write a thought provoking story. His books are not quick reads – not at all – one needs to reflect, and savor the words of George MacDonald.
George MacDonald was born December 10, 1824 and passed away September 18, 1905. He was a minister of the Gospel, author and poet.
In “There and Back,” he tells the story of the Lestrange family. An interesting family, to be sure.
The baronet was a cantankerous old coot, but I did like him for some reason. At times he was verbally brutal, but he was interesting. As a baronet, he owned property and didn’t do anything except, well, be cantankerous.
Grandfather was a blacksmith and I thought it was fascinating to read about his work. I want him to be my grandfather. 🙂 The author went into some detail to explain the blacksmith profession. Although Grandfather thought blacksmithing was man’s work, he didn’t seem to opposed to teaching others, whether male or female, his craft. Grandfather and Richard taught Barbara how to shoe a horse. I don’t think I have ever seen a blacksmith at work. How unfortunate!
Barbara was my favorite character. Early in the story she climbs trees and sits up in the branches until she desires to come down. I always thought of her as a woodland fairy. She had a wonderful horse she loved, a mare, and she enjoyed riding her. She was free in the sense that society never shaped her with their rules, guidelines and requirements for ladies.
The story really centers around Richard, a young bookbinder. A trade which I enjoyed reading about. Again, the author went into some detail about the profession of book binding. And once again, another art that seems to be rare indeed. But, all of these characters and several more come together in a fascinating story.
Barbara and Richard have a lovely romance. Richard quotes a poem to Barbara at one time in the story and it is my favorite chapter in the book. I was totally enthralled in the quoting and discussion of the poem. When the chapter ended I came away with such a satisfied feeling.
*****5 stars! Enjoy!