Monday, April 5, 2010

The Laird's Inheritance

Everyone who knows me well knows that I love George MacDonald. MacDonald, the Beloved Storyteller of Scotland, has been, for many years, a model for me in my writing and an encouragement and challenge in my walk with God. However, it had been some time since I had read one of his novels, and when I picked one up again last summer, I made little headway and put it down for over half a year! Last week, however, I picked it up again and found, as usual, a gem.

The Laird's Inheritance, written by George MacDonald, was originally entitled Warlock o' Glenwarlock, and soon after changed to Castle Warlock. It was first published in 1881, and was one of MacDonald's longest novels, at 714 pages! In the 1987, it was edited by Michael Phillips and reprinted by Bethany House Publishers.

The description on the back of the book reads:


Beautifully set in the proud culture of the Scottish Highlands, The Laird's Inheritance introduced the readers to a young boy, Cosmo Warlock, the last in a long line of landowning "lairds" of the Castle Warlock. His family once wealthy, Cosmo now grows up in poverty as piece after piece of the Laird's land is sold or mortgaged away to keep the creditors at bay.

This moving account of the loss of an earthly inheritance has become a vivid word portrait from the pen of Scotland's master storyteller to display the eternal inheritance of a heavenly kingdom.

As is the case with all MacDonald's books, The Laird's Inheritance served as more than mere entertainment for me, though the story is indeed compelling and enjoyable. More than that, however, it etched its way deep into my heart, shining light upon the areas of my life that needed to change, and encouraging me on to a deeper walk with the Lord. It challenged me, in particular, to not allow any earthly thing to come in between me and God, but to allow Him to be the most important treasure in my life. The laird's conversations with his son were especially convicting and challenging, as he encourages Cosmo to set his heart upon God and his mind on things above, to "do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God."

I had a very few quibbles with the book. Cosmo's character at the beginning was, to me, a little bit annoying, as it was very much like several of George MacDonald's other heroes, and as the story went on and he grew older, his personality began to grow on me and I liked him a lot better. The storywriter in me also could see ways that the story might have come together a little better so that the storylines ran more parallel and built on each other more. This is just a petty little opinion of mine though. :-) The Scottish dialogue has been slightly "toned down" to make it easier to read, though in some places I had to slow down and glance back at the introduction a couple times to get the right sense of what was being said.

Overall, it was a wonderful book, though. The story was engaging, the spiritual message was convicting, and I was reminded of why I love George MacDonald so much! I highly encourage you to get a copy of this book from your library or from You can also read the original, unabridged version at

1 comment:

Teddy said...

I must needs read this Mack! How good you made it sound. A good George MacDonald is priceless...or at least very near it. :) Isn't it funny how the characters grow on you? YOu start off totally ticked at them and end up loving them by the end. :)