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Alec Forbes and His Friend Annie (MacDonald classics for young readers) Hardcover – June, 1990


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

George MacDonald (1824-1905), Scottish poet, preacher, novelist, and mystic, was one of the most original and influential writers of Victorian Britain. His books have sold in the millions of copies, and he was one of the most popular authors of the day on both sides of the Atlantic.

Drawn to the pulpit early, MacDonald eventually left to pursue his writing. Numbered among Dickens, Trollope, and other giants of the age as a novelist, MacDonald ended his career with over fifty books ranging from fantastical literature, to children's stories, to critical essays, and numerous novels. In addition to writing, MacDonald lectured extensively.

MacDonald's fiction combined the man's immense spiritual understanding with his innate storytelling ability. His works have influenced writers like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and many others.

Michael Phillips is an author, editor, publisher, and bookseller. He's written nearly 50 books, including many best sellers, and his current total book sales have capped five million.

He's also the editor of 25 books by 19th-century author George MacDonald (Bethany House). Sales now top l.5 million copies. Plus, he's the founder of Sunrise Books, which issues leather-bound editions of MacDonald's original works. At age 45, Phillips is responsible for nearly 100 titles that today circulate in the Christian marketplace.

This output stems from the printed page's greatest influence on Phillips' life. Besides the extensive library in his office, seven volumes perch in a place of honor on top of his desk. Each book represents a significant growth period in Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, MacDonald, and Richard Foster. A key element in his work has been editing MacDonald's writings. "MacDonald has been a spiritual mentor for me," Phillips says, "exactly as he was for C.S. Lewis.

A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelley, launched Phillips' career in bookselling. While in college preparing for what he thought would be a physics career, possibly with NASA, he read Kelley's book. "It had such a profound impact on my whole spiritual being, I began giving copies away," he says.

While searching for inexpensive ways to purchase this book, Phillips created a small bookstore in one corner of his student apartment. This small venture grew, but after a few years in bookselling, Phillips found his interest in books leading him to write.

Phillips has also co-written five best-selling Bethany House fiction series with fellow Eureka, CA resident Judith Pella: the HIGHLAND and two STONEWYCKE series set in Scotland, THE JOURNALS OF CORRIE BELL HOLLISTER, and THE RUSSIANS. The Phillips/Pella titles are now approaching 2 million in sales.

His most recent books, Wayward Winds, Book 2 in the SECRETS OF HEATHERSLEIGH HALL series, and Legend of the Celtic Stone, Book 1 in his monumental new CALEDONIA series, continue his fine tradition of bringing history to life with compelling plots and intriguing characters.

A versatile author, he's had 14 books named finalists in the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's Gold Medallion award competition., and in 1993 he had the distinction of being the author of two of the top five fiction books- The Crown and the Crucible (Bethany) and Pinnacles of Power (Moody).

Phillips' life is a constant juggling of multiple objectives&operating a bookstore, a publishing company, and a home-school; writing some of the best-selling books in the industry; and maintaining a high level of confidence and enthusiasm for all God has given him to do&with family priorities on top of everything.

Phillips identifies his secret as focus: the capacity to keep his vision clear on a particular project in the midst of many vying for his attention.

Michael and Judy Phillips live in California. They have three grown sons.

size : 5.4 x 8.3
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Product Details

  • Series: MacDonald classics for young readers
  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Pub; Revised edition (June 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556611404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556611407
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,131,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is the exact same book (same editor, even same forward) as 'The Maiden's Bequest'.
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By R. Andrea on November 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Real story telling. Most modern authors don’t develop their characters or their plot with the intensity—yet the subtlety—of the nineteenth century masters: among whom George MacDonald should stand in the front rank. This version, modernized (and some may feel bowdlerized) for young readers, is if anything better than the longer tales, if only because much of MacDonald’s preaching has been omitted. Oh, there’s still enough that no reader could miss his unique Christian point of view. (I like MacDonald’s spiritual reflections, but will put many a reader—young or old—to sleep.)

A major plot thread (Alec’s misadventures at university) is largely omitted, though the aftermath was skillfully woven into the thread of Annie's tribulations and ultimate triumph. For young reader’s the tale of his temptation and ruin at the big city may be inappropriate. The full tale can be read in The Maiden's Bequest.

Which raises the interesting issue of the titling of this story. MacDonald wrote it in 1865 as Alec Forbes of Howglen, of which at least one modern version has been published. When Michael R. Phillips, the modern editor, included it in A Scottish Collection: The Maiden's Bequest, the Minister's Restoration, the Laird's Inheritance: Three Novels in One Volume, he re-titled it as The Maiden’s Bequest. Now this young reader version is called Alec Forbes and His Friend Annie. And it is well that Phillips emphasized Annie in the title, for this version slashes Alec’s role. In fact, most of the story is told from a close universal perspective focused on Annie, not Alec. (Perhaps giving Alec top billing was a ploy to entice young male readers.)

Regardless, highly recommended to young reader’s of all ages (ten and up). My second favorite MacDonald tale, after Wee Sir Gibbee of the Highlands, also available for young readers. Or as "The Baronet’s Song" in The Poet and the Pauper.
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By Ron Braxton on July 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
good book
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have read other books by George MacDonald, some of which were translted by Micheal Philips, and this one is by far the best, though they are all great! Micheal Philips translates George MacDonald best out of the translaters that I have come across. George is the best author I've ever came across.
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