Framley Parsonage (Google eBook)
The fourth work of Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire series, this novel primarily follows the young curate Mark Robarts, newly arrived in Framley thanks to the living provided for by Lady Lufton. The ambitious if naive Robarts looks to advance his career by mingling with the higher class society around him, which leads to a test of his traditionally Victorian values as a gentleman. While Robarts is being compromised and even being brought to the edge of a social downfall, the love of his sister Lucy is challenged by the disapproving mother of Lord Lufton. Amidst this impressive description of English life in the 1800s, Trollope tells this story with consideration and his characteristically satiric humor, gaining for Framley Parsonage the general acknowledgement as his most popular work.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
It's been too long since my last dose of Anthony Trollope. In this fourth installment in the Barsetshire series, we meet a whole new set of characters headed by the formidable Lady Lufton. This lady, shrewd but unworldly, masterful but loving, is the linchpin of the novel and rules its events with gracious aplomb. It is she who brings young Mark Robarts, a friend of her son's, to the comfortable living at Framley where he has everything a man could desire... except that man desire political advancement and greater wealth. Mark, blessed with attractive personal qualities and an unspoken bent toward ambition, slightly chafes under Lady Lufton's loving rule and begins to associate with men who can help him make a name for himself in the world of political power. But it all comes at a price, as Mark finds when he begins to become entangled in debt and personal compromise. Standing against Mark as a foil to his weakness is his sister Lucy, who is so firmly committed to doing the right thing she will even sacrifice her own happiness to hold her head up before the world. It would be easy to write a paragon so perfect she is not human, but Trollope is far too wise for that. Lucy is one of his more vivid heroines, with a lively wit and a playful habit of making such fun of her most heartfelt confidences that her sister-in-law Fanny is sometimes at a loss to know when she is serious. She reminds me of Elizabeth Bennett quite a bit. I do love the scene where "insignificant" little 5'2" Lucy dominates Lady Lufton! But though the story is centered on the people of Framley, Trollope kindly allows us to visit with friends from the previous three books. Mrs. Proudie is back, feuding as ever with Mrs. Grantly. Miss Dunstable also is back, with a surprise for her fans. The Greshams have a cameo, as does Lady Scatcherd, Mr. Harding, and Mr. and Mrs. Arabin. Trollope—who reads as a mix between Jane Austen and Charles Dickens—has great fun satirizing the politicians of his day. He makes fun of them, to be sure, but his criticisms don't have Dickens' bitter edge and he seems more relaxed and humorous toward people's foibles. An example of this is Mr. Supplehouse, a newspaper writer whose tendency to vacillate should be evident from his name. Some characters hate him for his power, but others (like the redoubtable Miss Dunstable) indulgently say that he means mischief, but that's his function so it isn't something to get upset about. Trollope certainly has a fascination with lower-class (but very respectable) young women marrying up in the world, with the chief obstacle to their love being the family (or more specifically, the mothers) of the young men. Dr. Thorne, the Barsetshire novel immediately preceding this one, was all about the doctor's niece, Mary Thorne, who couldn't marry into the local nobility because Frank Gresham had to marry money. I wonder if Trollope ever wrote a story with a younger man of less-than-noble antecedents aspiring to the hand of a well-born young lady. Hmm. Trollope continues to be one of the more personable authors I've ever read, often pausing the narrative to ask the reader what he would do when faced by the situations of the characters, and frankly admitting his own proclivities toward comfort and the ease of unruffled custom. There was a point about 150 pages in where I almost didn't want to pick this back up... I hate reading about money troubles (especially self-inflicted money troubles) and it was so evident that things would take a bad turn for our young parson. But I persevered, and was rewarded: yes, things get bad for the parsonage, but not unrelievedly so. There are plenty of other characters and side-stories happening alongside these troubles, and I finished the last several hundred pages at a gallop during a long, quiet afternoon. I think Trollope always rewards his readers in the end. Recommended.
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Not quite as great as Barchester Towers, but better than Dr Thorne and the Warden. It's got a nice love story, like Thorne, but much more than that; whereas the plot of the earlier novel is focused on the future Mr and Mrs Gresham, here it's only one strand. The main storyline deals more with politics and money, which is obviously where Trollope's at his best. Also, a lot of characters from the earlier Barsetshire Chronicles show up, which is nice. I'm not sure if that means it's a great novel, or if it's just nice to see old friends. But it's definitely fun!