Before We Begin
Before we return to our normal book review, it is my pleasure to wish Mr. Bilbo Baggins (the hobbit) a very happy birthday. I enjoy knowing that his is the day before mine. :) Check out my review of The Hobbit, in which Bilbo is mainly featured, here.
In celebration of his birthday, I have posted the first verses of his poem The Road Goes Ever On, and a brand-new trailer for Peter Jackson's upcoming movie adaptation of The Hobbit.
The Road Goes Ever On
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
And now, back to our regular scheduled programming. :)
Since My Lady Bibliophile launched earlier this year, we've reviewed many books--fiction and non-fiction, Christian and secular. Most were ones I have read and recommend. A few were ones that I found lacking. Some of them are casual favorites I enjoy upon occasion, while others are very close to my heart.
Today, in celebration of my birthday weekend, I would like to review a couple of books that are very dear favorites of mine. They have to be reviewed together because they are companion volumes, and more than that, they belong to each other. They embody the very spirit of the Scots, and the very heart of God's love: in the form of a simple fisherman, young Malcolm MacPhail.
I introduce to you The Fisherman's Lady and The Marquis' Secret, by George MacDonald.
Griselda Campbell had been a little-known and even lesser-understood enigma who had lived the past twenty years of her lonely life as a virtual recluse with a distant relative. Her passing in the very prime of life was greeted by those few who knew her not so much with mourning as with curiosity. Griselda's life was shrouded in mystery. But hers was not the only past kept carefully shielded from would-be intruders. As she had long ago withdrawn into the seclusion of her inner thoughts, so had several others. And now it seemed the secret which bound them all together would go quietly to the grave with poor Griselda. For she alone had held the missing piece to the puzzle without which none of the others would ever know the full scope of the truth...
The Fisherman's Lady
Upon the laird's death, Malcolm vows to protect the Lady Florimel any way he can. But that's no easy thing to do. She goes to town with some rich cousins, and though she accepts him as her groom, she has a much cooler attitude towards him than she had when her father was alive. Malcolm watches her blunder over the love of a poor painter in favor of a scamp of a laird, and eventually determines to take matters into his own hands. With the help of his fellow fisherman and a friend of Florimel's he persuades her to spend some time away from her cousins at a friend's little estate by the sea. There he and the Lady Clementina discuss many spiritual matters while Florimel sits by and listens. But she is unaffected, and when they all return to town, Malcolm realizes that more must be done. Added to this is the fear that he may never see the blind piper again, for when the old man finds out who Malcolm's family is, he disappears leaving no trace behind him. When the midwife Bobby Catanatch tries to poison him, and Florimel sinks deeper into the clutches of the young laird, Malcolm implements a bold scheme that, if successful, will rescue her and enable him to take up his destined position. But Florimel remains unmoved, and if he cannot persuade her, he may lose a woman very dear to his heart.
Full of gentle drama and classic humor, both books are excellently written by the Scottish preacher George MacDonald. Read it for the tale itself. The moral lessons will sink in along with the gentle wash of Port Strathy waves and Malcolm's Scottish brogue. The first book contains dozens of laugh-out-loud moments, many of which are occasioned by Duncan's stubborn Scottish logic. With tender poignancy, The Fisherman's Lady and The Marquis' Secret drift through quiet mystery and gentle romance that you will not want to miss.
Those who love Spencer's Fairy Queene (which I have not read) will enjoy MacDonald's tribute to his work in The Fisherman's Lady with the name of Malcolm's love interest, Florimel.
I do use white-out here and there.
I read these books about every year and a half, they are such favorites of mine. This week I am enjoying them to the gentle lap of waves on the shore, and the bright scent of pine trees while our family takes a vacation together. I count Malcolm as an old friend of mine, and delight to spend a week of comradeship enjoying his adventures. George MacDonald writes with a combination of the gentle sentiment of Gene Stratton-Porter, and the all-out drama of Charles Dickens. His stirring adventures twine themselves around your heartstrings and deepen your faith in a loving Creator. Two wonderful books to read when curled up with a cup of tea or cocoa, in the darkness of an Autumn evening.