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George MacDonald is mainly known for his fantasy works and fairy tales such as At the Back of the North Wind and The Princess and the Goblin. However, during his life he was more famous for many more realistic novels. . . among them the somewhat autobiographical Ranald Bannerman’s Boyhood. This story of a young motherless boy growing up with his brothers in a Scottish manse is full of delightful characters. There is Kirsty, an enchanting Highland storyteller, Turkey, the intrepid cowherd, the evil Kelpie, and the lovely Elsie Duff. Throughout the twists and turns of his escapades and adventures Ranald learns from his father the important lessons of courage and integrity. When Ranald Bannerman’s Boyhood came out in 1871 the New York Independent praised it as “full of sweetness, full of boy-life and true goodness”. Perhaps, but it is also a good story, from the master of storytellers.
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