by Anthony Trollope
This is the third of the six books in the Barchester Chronicles series. As far as I am aware (and I am about to find out) they can each be read alone. Certainly this is true of the present volume. The only overlap with the previous two books is the occasional mention of the Proudies, Dean Arabin and, mentioned slightly more often but not actually appearing, the Thornes of Ullathorne (to whom the Doctor Thorne of the title is distantly related).
It is also quite a long book – the longest or second-longest in the series. Since I planned to read it on my Kindle, I googled the book’s title to find out how long it is. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there is a TV dramatisation of the novel in preparation, adapted by Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey and Gosford Park renown). Another incentive, then, to read it – if one were needed.
The past two weeks have been a reading delight. The characters are almost all likeable, despite their various flaws – with the exception of Lady de Courcy and her daughter Alexandrina, both of whom feel the need to interfere and ‘guide’ the affairs of Lady de Courcy’s sister’s family, the Greshams. The story, whilst somewhat predictable, is nevertheless engrossing and ultimately pleasing. Most pleasing of all is Trollope’s great insight into human behaviour, and his ability to use this insight to develop and unravel situations which are utterly believable to the reader.
I will pause again before reading the next book, Framley Parsonage. I hope to complete the series by the end of May.