It is less plot driven than some of the other novels, but the characters are memorable and the insights moving. Towards the end, I found myself with the familiar, lingering sadness that comes from drawing to the end of a long and leisurely time spent among dear people.
A repeated theme at the end is that of class consciousness, and it is enlightening to see a character come to terms with how deeply rooted prejudice can be, even in the best of us.
I believe I've allus been the better for any trouble as ever I had to go through with. I couldn't quite say the same for every bit of good luck I had.
So says Rogers, a character in the book. It is a powerful thought, typical of MacDonald's work. If one can come to a place of trust in God, all things work for the good.
Perhaps the best word, saved for last, should come from MacDonald's pen, spoken by the narrator to Tom Weir:
If we only act as God would have us, other considerations may look after themselves--or rather, He will look after them. The world will never be right till the mind of God is the measure of things, and the will of God is the law of things. In the kingdom of Heaven nothing else is acknowledged. And till that kingdom come, the mind and will of God must, with those that look for that kingdom, over-ride every other way of thinking, feeling, and judging" (587).
Perhaps one way of learning how to recognize and acknowledge those judgments is through the contemplation of writings such as this one.