Story Review

George MacDonald: At the Back of the North Wind

At the Back of the North Wind is the last of my three George MacDonald story reviews, and I am so excited to share it with you. It centers around the adventures of a boy named Diamond and especially his many adventures with the North Wind, who is an allegorical semi-divine character in the story.

At the Back of the North Wind is much longer than most of MacDonald’s stories because it was originally published in several installments in a magazine “Good Words for the Young” in 1868. This makes this book perfect for families to take their time with and to enjoy in bite-sized pieces, or for older readers to enjoy on their own!

Diamond is the quintessential pure-hearted character who is considered by many to be “too good for the world.” In addition to his adventures with North Wind, Diamond’s story involves his family facing financial stress, Diamond’s friendship with a street-child, facing sickness, and traveling to a mysterious country at the back of the North Wind. Throughout the main plot arc, MacDonald takes his time with musical poems and stories within the story, told by other characters. This means the book itself has lots of variety!

One overarching theme MacDonald confronts is the question of suffering, death, and the problem of evil. This is not a theme that is typically addressed in a story for children, but MacDonald is able to ask and explore these questions with genuine, substantial hope without cheapening it by trying to deliver full resolution.

If you find your family enjoys the mysterious and playful stories of George MacDonald, At the Back of the North Wind is a must-read!

Thanks for exploring George MacDonald’s best hidden gem stories with me. I am excited to introduce some wonderful new authors next!

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