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Adela Cathcart

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Adelia Cathcart has an illness of the spirit -- perhaps an illness of the soul. No one can scry the secret of her malady. Until someone notices Adelia seems for a moment to come back to life as someone tells a story. We should read her stories, he says. Beautiful, beautiful stories. And these are the stories that bring Adelia back from her deathbed: stories like the tale o ...more
Hardcover, 450 pages
Published October 1st 1994 by Johannesen (first published 1875)
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Bryana Joy
Oct 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Novel about a sickly and psychologically weary young woman who is restored to health through the efforts of a group of acquaintances who form a storytelling club. The plot is rather thin, and some of the stories are annoyingly sentimental, but a few of MacDonald’s classic short stories are also included in this volume, such as The Light Princess and The Giant’s Heart. Overall, I have read better things by MacDonald and expect to read more of them in the future.
Misha Michelle
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Be ye warned: it's a long book. But not monotonous.

The book follows young Adela Cathcart's journey through something very like depression. In an effort to revive her spirits, her friends and family tell a series of varying stories to Adela, and as they do so, she finds purpose in life and falls in love.

This book is fascinating to me for several reasons: it documents depression (or something very like it) as an actual malady: rare for it's time.

It gives you a beautiful scope of the story-telling
Jason Shuttlesworth
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When 21-year-old Adela suffers from depression, or some other type of malaise, a group of friends forms a story-telling society in which each night somebody tells a different story around the fireplace. Along the way, a young doctor (one of the story-tellers) and Adela fall in love though they try to hide their feelings towards one another. I'll leave it to the readers to decide what cures Adela...falling in love or hearing the stories, but I will say this is a highly recomended book.
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
A collection of stories framed within a story about 21 year old ill Adela Cathcart as told by her uncle. It is modeled after Canterbury Tales but with a difference; the premise is that stories can be used to bring healing. At the end Adela has recovered. Some of the stories are well known outside of this framework like 'The Light Princess' , others are not and some were tedious to read.
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've read some MacDonald before, though none of his adult novels, I think. He's always an original writer in the sense that he does what he does and you take it or leave it. Nevertheless, Adela Cathcart is a most odd book. It hangs on a threadbare frame of a story about a girl with a psychological illness who is apparently 'cured' by the stories told by a group of her family and friends. Whether the cure comes about because of the stories or because she falls in love with the local doctor or bec ...more
Kilian Metcalf
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
The romance in this novel is merely a framing device for some of MacDonald's charming stories, including one of my favorites The Light Princess. I owned a delightful edition with illustrations by Maurice Sendak that was one of my treasures until I lost it in a move. The invalid Adela is treated, under the direction of the handsome young doctor, by causing her to listen to a series of stories told by the various members of the house party. The stories range from children's stories to Gothic horro ...more
Aharon Zorea
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book with a wide variety of stories contained within. It is set as a single narrative about a man who is visiting a friend, but the man sets up a story telling club and MacDonald uses that device to be able to incorporate a couple dozen short stories within the single narrative. It is not fast moving insofar as the later story is being carried along through a host of smaller stories, but each of the smaller stories are quite good -- even of they often have less relation to th ...more
Erika RS
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Rambling and sincere. This novel is built around the device of a story telling group got up to improve the spirits of the depressed Adela. This worked well in parts, but oftentimes, it seemed that MacDonald mainly cared about the containing story in so far as it provided a structure for the inner stories and poems. This would have been more reasonable had the stories not been so varied in quality.

Overall, this book is something more to be appreciated by those who enjoy George MacDonald's philos
Nathan Wesson
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
George MacDonald has a way of using stories inside of stories to create a cathartic experience in his readers. A Great story, but greater stories within the story make this novel one that is set apart in creativity and wonder.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
ⓒ 1864. The second of three volumes, although I didn't know this when I started it. One of MacDonald's earlier works. I enjoyed it but not as much as some of his others.
Kori Johnson
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
This book wasn't too bad, but it was definitely not what I expected. I had read an excerpt from this book that made me think it was going to be really, really good, so I was somewhat disappointed.
Bruce Baker
not bad. I got into it eventually.
Lynda Newman
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
A really enjoyable Romance (in the classic sense) that both stands on its own and functions as a vehicle to offer up some of MacDonald's more inventive short fiction.
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George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.

He was educated at Aberdeen University and after a short and stormy career as a minister at Arundel, where his unorthodox views led to his dismissal, he turned to fiction as a means of earning a living. He wrote over 50 books.

Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, MacDonald inspired many authors, such

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