Rate and Review: 4/5
This is one of these books that I -personally- would classify as solid 5/5.
I only gave it a 4/5 for a single reason. MacDonald is not a typical writer. He was a priest, or, in the words of Wikipedia, a Christian minister.
Why’s that of importance? Because, the folk and the shepherds may use the same language, but not in the same way.
The reader of this magnificent, allegoric, deeply religious fairytale will need to arm himself/herself with tones of good will to push onwards when the sentences become tiresome and exhausting.
This is not something that the reader will realise halfway through the story. The very first paragraph reads: “I was impressed as if some ancient and altogether admirable and shining family had settled there in that part of the land called Concord, unknown to me,–to whom the sun was servant,– who had not gone into society in the village,–who had not been called on”. You get the point.
However, the story is impeccable. The characters are ever changing. The plot is masterfully weaved. This is indeed a fairytale of faith or a work of fiction, or fantasy, on religion. It is so much in fact, that not unless you take the time to read it, will you realise the depths and the widths to which this novel extends.
Even calling this a novel hurts its true nature.
Parallel words, creatures, embodiments of notions, respectable axioms, believed vices, valuable ethics… You need to savour this story to get to grips with what a truly holistic view of faith can produce.
You can read the entire novel for free, online. There’s a number of outlets where you can find it, pagebypage is only one of them.