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Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood

George MacDonald

Book Overview: 

This delightful story begins in a little town called Marshmallows, where a young man, the new vicar, Harry Walton, has just arrived. As he begins his work Harry realizes that everything is not quite 'right' in his little parish and it all seems to center around Oldcastle Hall. As he wins the affection of the people secrets begin to unfold, and Harry Walton attempts to free them from guilt of the past, help them overcome pride and while he is at it, he falls in love with a woman whose past is the most mysterious yet, and whose tyrannical mother is the mistress of Oldcastle Hall.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . ., and cursing and swearing that it's awful to hear. It's my belief that swords will be drawn afore long."—"Tut!" says I, "William, it will come the sooner if you don't give them what they want. Go and get it as fast as you can."—"I don't a'most like goin' down them stairs alone, in sich a night, ma'am," says he. "Would you mind coming with me?"—"Dear me, William," says I, "a pretty story to tell your wife"—she was my own half-sister, and younger than me—"a pretty story to tell your wife, that you wanted an old body like me to go and take care of you in your own cellar," says I. "But I'll go with you, if you like; for, to tell the truth, it's a terrible night." And so down we went, and brought up six bottles more of the best port. And I really didn't wonder, when I was down there, and heard the dull roar of the wind against the rock below, that William didn't much like to go alone.—When he went back with the wine, the captain said, "Wil. . . Read More

Community Reviews

George MacDonald's novels are often a mixture of sermon and story, and usually quite devotional. In this book the sermons were more interesting by far than the story.

I would describe this novel as part Jane Austen (exploring relationships in a small country parish), part gothic romance (creepy old ladies, mysterious old buildings, people of unknown origin), and part Unspoken Sermons (sooo much biblical and spiritual insight from MacDonald sprinkled throughout).

Full of spiritual wisdom and the life of Christ, even more than most others by MacDonald that I have read. It is somewhat like taking Baxter's The Reformed Pastor, and casting it into fiction. My dear friend Len Pine, pastor of the Bible Presbyterian church in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, read it upon my

I read most of the book. At about 70% into it, I got impatient with the Vicar and the plot and skipped to the last few chapters. The book was published in 1876 and I guess it is amazing that it is still of interest. I can sense the autobiographical elements in that MacDonald left the church to becom

I think my version (edited by Dan Hamilton) was abridged and took out a little more content than it should have, as the plot was jumpier than I'm used to expecting in a MacDonald book. Still, some enlightening material.
Most memorable segment: “and between the dances I read two or three of Wordswort

Pretty good. The story held my interest and I feel like the author had a good understanding of people. He is a bit too preachy. I love wise tidbits, but when you start copying out whole sermons into your novel... Well, maybe it's time for a bit of careful editing.

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