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Anthony Trollope was a prolific Victorian writer. Trollope's best-loved works were known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which center on the imaginary county of Basetshire. He wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts. First published in serial form in the Cornhill magazine, Framley Parsonage is the 4th novel in the Chronicles of Bars Anthony Trollope was a prolific Victorian writer. Trollope's best-loved works were known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which center on the imaginary county of Basetshire. He wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts. First published in serial form in the Cornhill magazine, Framley Parsonage is the 4th novel in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series. Mark Robarts is a young vicar newly arrived in the village of Framley in Barsetshire. Robarts is ambitious and seeks out the higher class society in his area. When he is asked to help with a loan he goes against his better judgment and offers the loan. There are serious consequences ahead.


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Anthony Trollope was a prolific Victorian writer. Trollope's best-loved works were known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which center on the imaginary county of Basetshire. He wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts. First published in serial form in the Cornhill magazine, Framley Parsonage is the 4th novel in the Chronicles of Bars Anthony Trollope was a prolific Victorian writer. Trollope's best-loved works were known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which center on the imaginary county of Basetshire. He wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts. First published in serial form in the Cornhill magazine, Framley Parsonage is the 4th novel in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series. Mark Robarts is a young vicar newly arrived in the village of Framley in Barsetshire. Robarts is ambitious and seeks out the higher class society in his area. When he is asked to help with a loan he goes against his better judgment and offers the loan. There are serious consequences ahead.

30 review for Framley Parsonage

  1. 4 out of 5

    P-eggy

    "They are being very patient." "Oh, the English generally are if they think they are going to get something for nothing." And I was very patient with this book. I kept losing track of the characters and the story but perservered hoping I would get something. But I got what the English hope they won't. Nothing. The book had both plot and romance but not enough of plot and the romance was boring and somewhat hackneyed. Nothing like as good as Barchester Towers or the Warden in the same series. It is "They are being very patient." "Oh, the English generally are if they think they are going to get something for nothing." And I was very patient with this book. I kept losing track of the characters and the story but perservered hoping I would get something. But I got what the English hope they won't. Nothing. The book had both plot and romance but not enough of plot and the romance was boring and somewhat hackneyed. Nothing like as good as Barchester Towers or the Warden in the same series. It is my least favourite Trollope who is one of my favourite authors.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    One can seldom go wrong by taking a Trollope novel on holiday. His style, his wit, and his psychological perceptiveness always delight and allow one to pick up the book in odd moments and be instantly transported. This novel, like several of his others and like the novels of Dickens – in comparison with whom I find Trollope to be gentler and less socially biting, or at least more subtly so – was serialized in monthly publications of the time, and each chapter is thus rather self-contained. Troll One can seldom go wrong by taking a Trollope novel on holiday. His style, his wit, and his psychological perceptiveness always delight and allow one to pick up the book in odd moments and be instantly transported. This novel, like several of his others and like the novels of Dickens – in comparison with whom I find Trollope to be gentler and less socially biting, or at least more subtly so – was serialized in monthly publications of the time, and each chapter is thus rather self-contained. Trollope is able skillfully to weave several subplots that are distinct although related, and chapters jump from one to another. He is not averse to interjecting editorial comments and paragraphs, all enhancing the ambiance of his times. Unlike Dickens and George Eliot, he writes about his contemporary society and its foibles rather than digging into the recent past. I find him particularly incisive in his understanding of late 19th-century British politics, a politics that is uncannily like our own in its stridency, pettiness, and venality; indeed, if historical details were hidden, there would be little that is unrecognizable today. In his novels, Trollope exploits issues of class and gender, issues that were under increasing question and pressure in his day, and his observations vividly portray the cusp of change that his society was experiencing. Thus, reading his work is not only a relaxing and delightful experience in itself, but it also provides a perceptive view into his life and times.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    Here's the frightening thing about this book. Gentle, wonderful Mrs. Gaskell wished it would go on forever and ever, because it was just so peaceful. Yet we can read it now and see the savagery just beneath the surface. A pastor is worried about hunting . . . not because hunting is all about murdering a small creature, but because it Just Isn't Done on Sunday. A woman sells herself coldly to a man she doesn't like or respect--but he's got the right title and bank account. People struggle silently b Here's the frightening thing about this book. Gentle, wonderful Mrs. Gaskell wished it would go on forever and ever, because it was just so peaceful. Yet we can read it now and see the savagery just beneath the surface. A pastor is worried about hunting . . . not because hunting is all about murdering a small creature, but because it Just Isn't Done on Sunday. A woman sells herself coldly to a man she doesn't like or respect--but he's got the right title and bank account. People struggle silently behind the facade of good manners, over greed, sex, hunger, anger. It's a fascinating book--and even more fascinating if one reads Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw then comes back to reread this one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Derek Davis

    Trollope starts slow, then goes slower and after a bit you wonder... where... exactly... is any of this... But then, almost without realizing it, you're deep into the often tedious lives of his characters. To this American (and probably most others), the types and concerns of these characters are petty, even ridiculous. The winding-down nobility of mid-19th century Britain were a damned silly bunch by any modern standard--isolated, divorced from reality, having no function except to "be in charge Trollope starts slow, then goes slower and after a bit you wonder... where... exactly... is any of this... But then, almost without realizing it, you're deep into the often tedious lives of his characters. To this American (and probably most others), the types and concerns of these characters are petty, even ridiculous. The winding-down nobility of mid-19th century Britain were a damned silly bunch by any modern standard--isolated, divorced from reality, having no function except to "be in charge," even when there was nothing left for them to be in charge of. Yes, they owned the land, but they seldom spoke it its inhabitants, were too congenial to cause them problems and would rather forget that they exist. And they saw their children only as the governess whisked them past. But Trollope somehow makes them into real, full human beings, deeply concerned and involved, even if what they are involved in is a kind of extended fantasy. His ability to examine the depths of motive is remarkable, as is his determination to avoid forced Dickensian pathos, even as he increases the power of the pathos that comes naturally from the tortured decisions they make. And, as in the best of novels, there's that one character who so dominates your thoughts that you're willing to wait 75 pages for her five-minute appearance. Lucy Robarts, the "short, dark, plain, insignificant" young woman is a masterpiece. The sister of central character, Mark Robarts, the vicar of Framley, she lives by a moral compass tate puts all the various arrayed clergyman who otherwise clog the novel to shame. She views her own life with an objective, explosive good humor that overcome her deepest, darkest torments. And, of course, she, like the other characters who matter, comes out right in the end. Trollope's own sense of humor is a joy, bubbling along underneath like a quiet teakettle, occasionally bursting out with a whistle of steam. He speaks to his reader directly in little chatty asides (which apparently greatly annoyed Henry James--well, good, anything that annoyed Henry James is fine by me), commenting on his characters as though he knew them personally. Which he obviously does. I just wish I understood how the Church of England worked at the time. It seems to have spewed clergyman across the landscape like a water cannon. What are the functions of all these vicars and curates and deans and deacons and even Bishops? Mostly, it seems, to worry about how they are perceived by the rest of the tattered nobility. And it does get a little tiresome that we're supposed to feel deep distress for the poor, bedraggled vicar down the road who (gasp!) can only afford one part-time servant.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    It is difficult to review Framley Parsonage without also discussing Doctor Thorne. The romantic half of the novel seemed to me a revision of the romantic plot of Doctor Thorne, though a far superior model. As with Doctor Thorne, Trollope leaves the confines of Barchester to look at the countryside. Here, too, he deals more with class issues and with the adjustments the aristocracy is slowly making to the many changes in the nineteenth century. He is moderately chatty, though not as much as in Bar It is difficult to review Framley Parsonage without also discussing Doctor Thorne. The romantic half of the novel seemed to me a revision of the romantic plot of Doctor Thorne, though a far superior model. As with Doctor Thorne, Trollope leaves the confines of Barchester to look at the countryside. Here, too, he deals more with class issues and with the adjustments the aristocracy is slowly making to the many changes in the nineteenth century. He is moderately chatty, though not as much as in Barchester Towers. While the romance is something of a retread, the motivations and actions of the characters are more comprehensible and nuanced. Lord Lufton and Lucy meet, become friends, and gradually realize how highly they value this friendship, making it much less necessary to insist on his status as a hero. Also, where the Lady Arabella was largely a one-dimensional nasty, making Mary's deference to her increasingly frustrating, Lady Lufton is someone whose good opinion is worth something. She may be overly conscious of her noble blood, but she's also kind, generous, and loving. Thus Lucy's hesitations make sense, even to a twenty-first century reader. All of the other characters benefit from greater depth and nuance in their characters, and there is plenty of interplay beyond and around the twinned main plots to keep things moving , if not at a racing speed (this is a Victorian novel we're talking about), at something approaching a good, brisk walking pace with plenty of stops to enjoy the scenery and plenty of scenery worth enjoying. The other half of the main plot, the financial and moral difficulties of Mark Robarts, is more difficult to read, not because Mark was unlikeable or unrealized, but because in some ways he is too well realized. His errors and embarrassments often had me wincing on his behalf, and I find it easier, as a reader, to share someone's sorrow than their embarrassment. All in all, Framley Parsonage was a worthwhile read. So far, I've enjoyed Trollpe's town novels more than his country ones, but all the same, I'm glad I'm reading the series. I'm getting more and more inclined to try the Palliser novels some day. A note on editions: I read the paperback Penguin Edition. It was well bound and easy to hold and came with a decent supply of endnotes. They are well-organized and easy to locate, but found myself wishing they were more detailed and frequent. For example, I could follow the progress of the bills Robarts signs well enough for the purposes of the plot, but I would still have liked a fuller explanation of the money-lending, interest, and bill selling going on behind the scenes. For those of you with ereaders, Project Gutenberg has several formats (almost certainly without notes). Librivox has a free audio version read by a number of readers. -- (1)I started my grand read-and-review of the Barsetshire Chronicles over at The Geek Girl Project. My review of The Warden   is up there, as is my review of Barchester Towers . My review of Dr. Thorne was on Bookwyrme's Lair last week. I will be posting a review a week there until the series' en. Note: This review was originally written and posted on my blog, Bookwyrme's Lair. There are lots more reviews there, plus photos, chatty asides, interesting links, and bits and pieces on crafting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    classic reverie

    It is official, I am loving the "Chronicles of Barsetshire"after finishing book 4 out of 6; and I cannot imagine not loving the rest, or really anything Trollope! If you have never read him before let me tell you what authors I think he is a cross between, even though all authors are quite unique styles, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Where Austin gives all the drama of the families and communities involved to perfection, Trollope does this plus adds his comments on society at large, as Dicken It is official, I am loving the "Chronicles of Barsetshire"after finishing book 4 out of 6; and I cannot imagine not loving the rest, or really anything Trollope! If you have never read him before let me tell you what authors I think he is a cross between, even though all authors are quite unique styles, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Where Austin gives all the drama of the families and communities involved to perfection, Trollope does this plus adds his comments on society at large, as Dickens has mastered. In "Framley Parsonage", Trollope adds more characters, as well as brings back characters from book 1 & 2, more so then in book 3, "Doctor Thorne". So we get a wonderfully fun mix of familiar and new faces. I loved this storyline as much as in "Doctor Thorne" and was quite surprised by a twist which I was not expecting in the least. This series is mostly about political religious society and their neighbors but in NO MEANS A RELIGIOUS SERMON! He shows the good, bad and ugly of human beings and especially exposes the religious society. Is this an anti-religious novel? Not in the least but shows us that people are not perfect but human beings, needing to deal with their faults! I find it interesting in this book and the previous, his not giving the villain, an all evil view but gives us a side of him that is not all bad, even though he is predominately inclined to be a rogue. Trollope acknowledges this and admits he feels he must show the whole character to us, readers. DO YOU HAVE TO READ THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES TO ENJOY THIS ONE? No, but you get so much more if you do, because even though Trollope tells a little bit about past storylines to keep a reader informed, you miss the nitty gritty which makes the story more enjoyable. The story- take three mothers looking to make matches and an opportunist looking to unload his burden to a "sucker" of sorts, is the brunt of this delightfully romantic read! I am reading Trollope on a Delphi collection of his works, where lots of highlights and notes are located for all his books, I have read so far, if interested in getting a taste of his books, without any spoilers. My only question is, I thought that The Grantly's had 2 daughters, I have a passage in book 2, which seems to imply another one.

  7. 5 out of 5

    K.

    So, I am seriously at a loss to express just how much I enjoyed this book. I am beginning to have a serious "thing" for Mr. Trollope. The very beginning was actually very slow and I had some doubts. I didn't feel the story really got going until about page 80 or so. The other drawback was the heavy political vein running through it. The problem with that problem is that I have no experience with British parliamentary process past or present, and don't really get it. I am sure it was highly amusi So, I am seriously at a loss to express just how much I enjoyed this book. I am beginning to have a serious "thing" for Mr. Trollope. The very beginning was actually very slow and I had some doubts. I didn't feel the story really got going until about page 80 or so. The other drawback was the heavy political vein running through it. The problem with that problem is that I have no experience with British parliamentary process past or present, and don't really get it. I am sure it was highly amusing and/or edifying for the intended audience of the time. Be that as it may, WOW. How can a book that actually seems fairly predictable still completely thrill the reader (and even get the reader to evince some stress about the outcome) when, like I said, you pretty much know what will happen in the end (just read the chapter headings!). The character's characters are completely fresh. At the outset one thinks some Victorian stereotypes will be had--NOT SO! I think every character surprised me. I so love Trollope's sense of humanity and that every person has many sides. Great points: * Absolutely fantastic husband and wife relationship--perfect example of what a loving wife should be when her husband has made a big mistake and asks forgiveness. * Smashing love stories (all of them, including the married parties--and particularly one (not the main one, either!)--but I won't give it away). * Great mother/son relationship * Great friendship between women relationship * Very gratifying and even touching themes of repentence, redemption, forgiveness, humility, pride, charity... * Surprising insight into women characters by a White, Male Victorian--sure he's give us the first "dumb blonde" (not my words, from the intro) but the others are real, intelligent, well-rounded and fantastically drawn women. I have also to say this about Trollope's women. He never dwells on their outward charms much--he could truly write a woman's soul. It makes me wonder about the women in his life. I don't have time to put in any quotes, but I hope I leave you with the impression that this series is incredible and SO worth spending time with. Can't wait to get on to the next one, and I will truly be sorry to say goodbye to Barchester.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    4.5 stars. Oh, how I enjoyed this book! For years, I thought Trollope was stuffy and dry. I don't know where I got this idea from, but it's the furthest from the truth. This is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire, and they get better and better as they go. I truly believe that I may never have tried this author if it weren't for Katie of Books and Things on YouTube. She loves Victorian literature so much, and has read all of Dickens, Austen, Gaskell, Hardy, and others (and has video 4.5 stars. Oh, how I enjoyed this book! For years, I thought Trollope was stuffy and dry. I don't know where I got this idea from, but it's the furthest from the truth. This is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire, and they get better and better as they go. I truly believe that I may never have tried this author if it weren't for Katie of Books and Things on YouTube. She loves Victorian literature so much, and has read all of Dickens, Austen, Gaskell, Hardy, and others (and has videos of each of those novels and many more on her channel)! If you enjoy the classics (and even if you don't, as she enjoys modern work too), you owe it to yourself to check out her channel. Her excitement is contagious, and I owe quite a debt to her for sparking my love for these beautiful works that take me back to a gentler time and place. Here is a link to her channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/thesilve... I can't wait to read "The Small House at Allington", which is coming up next, and is Katie's favorite book of this series. Trollope's writing is so smooth and easy to sink into, and I find myself smiling quite a lot. His characterization is wonderful and characters pop up from earlier novels in the series and we get to see how they're getting on. I want to add that Simon Vance's delivery of this book is superb in every way. He has a gift not only for choosing a voice to perfectly match a character, but to perform each line so that the listener feels she's watching a dramatic presentation. I love this series so much, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of Trollope's work in the future. Thank you again, Katie, and Merry Christmas to you and Nick! ❤️📚🌲😀

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    History records that Elizabeth Gaskell said: “I wish Trollope would go on writing Framley Parsonage for ever. I don’t see any reason why it should come to an end.” I’m inclined to agree with her, and I think that is because it has so very many of the things I look for in a Trollope novel done rather well: * Church and Parliament * Vicarages and Country Houses * New and Returning Characters * Town and Country * Financial and Romantic Intrigues At the centre of this book is a young man named Mark Robarts. History records that Elizabeth Gaskell said: “I wish Trollope would go on writing Framley Parsonage for ever. I don’t see any reason why it should come to an end.” I’m inclined to agree with her, and I think that is because it has so very many of the things I look for in a Trollope novel done rather well: * Church and Parliament * Vicarages and Country Houses * New and Returning Characters * Town and Country * Financial and Romantic Intrigues At the centre of this book is a young man named Mark Robarts. Mark was the son of a doctor from Devon, who shared a tutor with the young Lord Lufton. The dowager Lady Lufton was delighted with the friendship, and she guided Mark towards an excellent education, a career in the church, a comfortable living at the parish of Framley in the diocese of Barchester, and a happy marriage with her daughter’s lovely friend, Fanny. He was genial and likeable young man, but his passage though life had been so smooth that he hadn’t learned many important lessons, and that led him into trouble. Mark was drawn into the local political set, and he was persuaded to sign a bill for a significant amount of money. He knew that the man who made the request had a bad reputation, that Lord Lufton had already had unhappy dealings with him; but he didn’t know how to say no and it didn’t occur to him that any man wouldn’t do all that he could to meet his obligations and that he would be called upon to pay money that he didn’t have. He was, and so he signed another bill. He knew that he had done the wrong thing, and he couldn’t bring himself to tell his wife. It was maddening, it was understandable, it was utterly believable …. That’s the framework of the story – what you would read about if you looked up the book; but, as is almost always with Trollope’s big books, there was much more that he hung on that framework to make it a delight. (Consider a Christmas tree. A fir tree in its natural state is lovely, but when it has been adorned with a lovely mixture of old familiar and shiny new ornaments it is something else entirely …) When Mark’s father died he was heartbroken, but it occurred to him that a legacy might solve his financial problems. It didn’t, because Mark’s father believed he was well set up in life and that his siblings needed what little capital he had rather more; but it did bring him a lovely adornment to his home in the shape of his sister Lucy. She became one of my favourite Trollope heroines, with her lovely mix of intelligence, practicality and femininity. Lord Lufton was drawn to Lucy, and she to him, but she knew that his mother disapproved and so she tried to pull away. Though I often disagreed with her, I thought that the dowager Lady Lufton was a wonderful character. She was wonderfully active in her efforts to put the world to rights. She sent in a poor and pious perpetual curate, Mr Crawley, to try to draw Mark away from his unsuitable companions. He was not a character I could love, but his story was so well thought out that I could understand. She also promoted a match between her son and the lovely Griselda Grantly, daughter of the Archdeacon of Barchester. Lady Lufton was formidable, but she had the best of intentions, she only wanted her son to be happy, and she could also be humble when realised that she had erred. I was delighted to meet the Miss Dunstable, the wonderfully independently minded heiress again. She was close to the young Greshams and Doctor Thorne still, but she had been drawn into the same local political set as Mark. She was interested in politics, and they were interested in her as a matrimonial prize who would bring them a very fine fortune. I found the political set to be the weak link in this book, its members the least engaging of its characters; and I suspect that they were there to allow stories to play out as Trollope wanted them to, and not because he loved them for their own sakes. I so hoped that Miss Dunstable’s good sense would prevail. She was wonderfully entertained by Mrs Proudie and Mrs Grantly, as each lady wished to outdo each other socially, and as each lady had daughters to be married off. I was too, but I was disappointed that the Griselda Grantly was shallow and self-absorbed, and I really could not understand how the daughter of the archdeacon and his wife had turned out that way. She didn’t appreciate her grandfather, Mr Harding, but I was delighted that he was given a moment in the spotlight, and even more delighted that he was given the opportunity to talk about Barchester Cathedral and Hiram’s Hospital. There were so many wonderful moments, so many perfect details, that I really could feel that I was walking through a world that had a history that had begun long before I arrived and that would go on long after I left. Anthony Trollope made that world spin, he managed all of the characters and stories in that world wonderfully well. He seemed a little less chatty than usual; maybe because there was so much going on. I was caught up in the human drama from the first page to the last; and thought I had a fair idea where the story was going I wasn’t really sure until the very end. The resolution was magnificent, I was sorry to have to leave this world, but I plan to travel back there very soon.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The 4th Barchester novel, mainly re the vicar Mark Robarts, but also Proudies, Grantlys, Greshams, Dr Thorne and Miss Dunstable. A less pleasant read in some ways because you know Mark is doomed (in the medium term, even though he is probably rescued at the end), can see it all coming and wish he did too. Aspects of the plot are too similar to the immediately preceding Barchester (titled young man possibly marrying beneath him). Too much financial detail at times (though necessary for the plot) The 4th Barchester novel, mainly re the vicar Mark Robarts, but also Proudies, Grantlys, Greshams, Dr Thorne and Miss Dunstable. A less pleasant read in some ways because you know Mark is doomed (in the medium term, even though he is probably rescued at the end), can see it all coming and wish he did too. Aspects of the plot are too similar to the immediately preceding Barchester (titled young man possibly marrying beneath him). Too much financial detail at times (though necessary for the plot) and too much general pontificating about politics at times (less necessary - eg all the stuff about Titians and giants (and what's the difference?)).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Renee M

    Trollope takes on the trials of a young vicar, the disadvantages of co-signing a debt for a narcissistic friend, pride that hurts loved ones, the power of gossip, the vagaries of politics, and of course finding an appropriate mate. All while stirring the pot with characters from previous books.

  12. 4 out of 5

    booklady

    Framley Parsonage is a non-descriptive title for a fascinating place and one of Trollope’s best novels. It’s the fourth in his Barsetshire Chronicles and my favorite so far. It is the most intricate, not only from the standpoint of several plot lines but also the complexity of characters, ideas and values. You don’t get these types of situations and lessons presented in modern novels. More’s the pity. It is truly a wonderful thing when you can finish reading a novel and feel improved. I listened Framley Parsonage is a non-descriptive title for a fascinating place and one of Trollope’s best novels. It’s the fourth in his Barsetshire Chronicles and my favorite so far. It is the most intricate, not only from the standpoint of several plot lines but also the complexity of characters, ideas and values. You don’t get these types of situations and lessons presented in modern novels. More’s the pity. It is truly a wonderful thing when you can finish reading a novel and feel improved. I listened to this book, but it would be worth one’s time to read it, highlighting many of the excellent sayings which occur in the ordinary course of conversation among the characters. This has been true throughout the series, but I found it to be especially noticeable here, and yet, the overall story is in no way preachy, is full of wry humor and somehow the author managed to wrap things up to a very satisfying conclusion. Well done Mr. Trollope! November 12, 2018: Finished! Excellent! It may be my favorite of the series but I still have 2 more to go, so I shall have to reserve that award a little longer. It is funny too, because I remember the first time I read this series (almost 20 years ago) I did not appreciate the last four nearly so much at the first two. Perhaps hearing them read aloud is making the difference. Not sure. Review will be forthcoming... Already I am more interested in this story than I was in the previous two (in the series), as it focuses on something other than romance issues. And Miss Dunstable is back! Heiress of the level-head, seeing through suitors only after her money, and ability to express herself to both sexes w/o fear, whenever she appears in a scene, there is sure to be lively and interesting dialogue!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    Thoroughly enjoyable! I love the wit, variety and characterisation in the series and this wonderful book is no exception.

  14. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    ‘Framley Parsonage’, fourth volume in the Barsetshire Chronicles, is good. However, it is not my favorite in this series. Each successive novel in the series has had a slight loss of energy and bite. The author Anthony Trollope has settled for in this book what to me is a story which is primarily a romantic Victorian cozy about manners, morality, money and social class - there being either too much or too little of the four elements which causes moral/financial embarrassment (linked indubitably) ‘Framley Parsonage’, fourth volume in the Barsetshire Chronicles, is good. However, it is not my favorite in this series. Each successive novel in the series has had a slight loss of energy and bite. The author Anthony Trollope has settled for in this book what to me is a story which is primarily a romantic Victorian cozy about manners, morality, money and social class - there being either too much or too little of the four elements which causes moral/financial embarrassment (linked indubitably) and social tittering. What saves these books from ending up in my DNF shelf is Trollope's sly underlying disapproval and/or humorous affection for the lack of social consistency and subjective judgements of the characters - inevitably, each one personally commits moral sins (Victorian mores) which they justify to themselves in having done, while at the same time each righteously or sheepishly condemns the sins of other characters. I believe Trollope is very much smarter than many of his readers because he has a talent of feeding them what appears to be on the surface light romantic comedies of manners and marriage. Instead these novels of fiction are actually mirrors of real social and moral inequalities showing the ugly pretensions and vain silliness of most people, politics, and in the maintenance of social classes. ‘Framley Parsonage’, which can be read as a standalone (but do start the series with The Warden) has all of the typical elements of a genuine romantic Victorian novel - sweet and sour characters of all classes who attain upward mobility through marriage and political office and connections while maintaining - or not, secretly - the required standards of middle-class Victorian morality and social class correctness. However, genteel reader, Trollope undermines the humorous romantic musical-chair game struggles of various courting couples with small scenes about the serious consequences of class rigidity and financial disparities. Each novel in the series is about characters mentioned in every book in the series who live in or near Barsetshire county, but the focus changes to a different family which was previously of minor importance in the earlier plots. Time moves on, and another generation of upcoming parish employees of the Church of England is examined as they court and groom each other for love and advantage and politics. Whatever the loss of literary wit and social commentary which is slowly seeping out of the series from book to book like a leaking balloon, I am still entertained by the Victorian antics of the middle-class and aristocrat English villagers.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    The previous book of the Chronicles of Barsetshire is considered to be the best and the most beloved of the six, that's why this book that have read now has not satisfied me enough for me to put on the top rate, as I have done before. I have the feeling that somehow the author repeats himself, that some aspects of the story are not so interesting, that the book does not have the dynamics of the previous ones. On the other hand, however, the author takes a look at the politics of his time, satiri The previous book of the Chronicles of Barsetshire is considered to be the best and the most beloved of the six, that's why this book that have read now has not satisfied me enough for me to put on the top rate, as I have done before. I have the feeling that somehow the author repeats himself, that some aspects of the story are not so interesting, that the book does not have the dynamics of the previous ones. On the other hand, however, the author takes a look at the politics of his time, satirizing with his critical look at the political controversies of the time and the way they affect life in many areas, while making a reference to the far from right way that some representatives of the higher classes behaved in relation to money. There is also the romantic side with a very tender love story that is showing us again the difficulties that a love which goes against the expectations of family and society was facing at that time but also the very strict rules had to be followed by a young woman in the game of flirting. On the romantic side there are also some more love stories with a lot less passion, starring some of our acquaintances. Of course, as in the previous ones, the book in the beginning seems to be somewhat indifferent, when we know the characters better and the various stories unfold in front of us, things get better until a very satisfying ending. So in the end may can't say that I'm excited by this but it's definitely a very good book that have all these characteristics that have made me so much like the writer. Το προηγούμενο βιβλίο των χρονικών του Barsetshire θεωρείται το καλύτερο και το πιο αγαπημένο από τα έξι, για αυτό αναμενόμενα αυτό που διάβασα τώρα δεν με ικανοποίησε τόσο ώστε να βάλω και σε αυτό την άριστη βαθμολογία, όπως έκανα σε όλα ως τώρα. Έχω την αίσθηση ότι κάπου ο συγγραφέας επαναλαμβάνεται, ότι κάποιες πλευρές της ιστορίας δεν είναι τόσο ενδιαφέροντες, ότι το βιβλίο δεν έχει την δυναμική των προηγούμενων. Από την άλλη, όμως, ο συγγραφέας ρίχνει μία ματιά στα πολιτικά πράγματα της εποχής του, σατιρίζοντας με την κριτική του ματιά στις πολιτικές αντιπαραθέσεις και τον τρόπο που επηρεάζουν τη ζωή σε πολλούς τομείς, την ώρα που κάνει και μία αναφορά στον κάθε άλλο παρά σωστό τρόπο που κάποιοι εκπρόσωποι των ανώτερων τάξεων συμπεριφέρονταν σε σχέση με τα χρήματα. Επίσης υπάρχει και η ρομαντική πλευρά με μία ιστορία αγάπης ιδιαίτερα τρυφερή, που μας δείχνει ξανά τις δυσκολίες που είχε τότε να αντιμετωπίσει ένας έρωτας πού πήγαινε αντίθετα στις προσδοκίες των συγγενών και της κοινωνίας αλλά και πολύ αυστηρούς κανόνες που έπρεπε να ακολουθεί μία νέα γυναίκα στο παιχνίδι του φλερτ. Στη ρομαντική πλευρά ανήκουν και μερικές ακόμα ερωτικές ιστορίες με αρκετά λιγότερο πάθος, που πρωταγωνιστούν κάποιοι γνωστοί μας. Βέβαια όπως και στα προηγούμενα ενώ το ξεκίνημα το βιβλίο φαίνεται να είναι κάπως αδιάφορο, στη συνέχεια ενώ γνωρίζουμε καλύτερα τους χαρακτήρες και ξετυλίγονται μπροστά μας οι διάφορες ιστορίες τα πράγματα γίνονται πολύ καλύτερα μέχρι ένα ικανοποιητικό τελείωμα. Οπότε μπορεί στο τέλος να μη δηλώνω ενθουσιασμένος αλλά σίγουρα πρόκειται για ένα πολύ καλό βιβλίο μου έχει όλα αυτά τα χαρακτηριστικά στοιχεία που με έχουν κάνει να συμπαθήσω τόσο πολύ τον συγγραφέα.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    The book jacket tells us "These novels [are] the first serial fiction in English literature." That's just one more reason to read these in order, which I'm doing, and enjoying. I liked best, in "Framley Parsonage", Lucy Roberts standing up to all, and proving to all she has, and IS the "Backbone of Barsetshire": why, she literally kidnaps four children from a mother with typhus then, risking her own health, nurses the mother back from deaths door. (Not to worry, this is not a major plot point an The book jacket tells us "These novels [are] the first serial fiction in English literature." That's just one more reason to read these in order, which I'm doing, and enjoying. I liked best, in "Framley Parsonage", Lucy Roberts standing up to all, and proving to all she has, and IS the "Backbone of Barsetshire": why, she literally kidnaps four children from a mother with typhus then, risking her own health, nurses the mother back from deaths door. (Not to worry, this is not a major plot point and doesn't spoil the last fourth of the book). Trollope champions his women characters here, but the men aren't treated as well. For example, Trollope's description of Duke of Omnium is sensationally evil: he is "...a bachelor, a gambler...immoral in every way...a corrupter of youth...mothers feared for their sons, and sisters for their brothers...etc.". In other words, and Trollope rather makes this clear, the man everyone in Barsetshire dreams of befriending, but dare not admit it. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters are wrapped up in plots I either didn't believe or didn't enjoy. I did not believe the clergyman was stupid enough to sign his name to someone else's bills/invoices, deriving absolutely nothing for himself but allowing Trollope filler. I did believe a political party has split itself in half resulting in no party unity (very prescient to America of 2017!) but the many scenes which take us into London's Parliament felt like they belonged in a different book. Trollope likes all of his characters, as his writing has been called genial, and this series is perfect for younger readers who are hungry for their first "adult" novels. But for me, more of the Duke, and less of the political shenanigans, would have improved this book immensely. Still, the final few chapters are lovely, heartwarming, and perfect. And, absolutely, I'm going to read the next two in the series. Then I'll move on to other works by this very productive author. Trollope has been compared to Dickens, but I believe Trollope is funnier (in a very subtle Austen-like way) and presents to us, at least in this series, a world much easier to face, as opposed to some of Dicken's tough-luck shabbiness (which do, of course, lend themselves to great heroism as here in "Framley Parsonage").

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shiloah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was an excellent study on the human characteristics of pride. I always appreciate good works that show plainly the natural cause and effects of ill choices. However, there is the addition of human goodness and mercy that can change any circumstance, and this was beautifully illustrated within this work. As a mother of daughter number two who has chosen her eternal companion and we are preparing for her wedding, I see so acutely the feelings of Lady Lufton and her worries for her son in This book was an excellent study on the human characteristics of pride. I always appreciate good works that show plainly the natural cause and effects of ill choices. However, there is the addition of human goodness and mercy that can change any circumstance, and this was beautifully illustrated within this work. As a mother of daughter number two who has chosen her eternal companion and we are preparing for her wedding, I see so acutely the feelings of Lady Lufton and her worries for her son in choosing the proper companion for life. However, I’m grateful I have what Lady L. did not possess and that is faith in her grown child’s wisdom in choosing the companion that will satisfy all the good and proper needs he or she is looking for, as well as the guidance of the Spirit which brings the spirit of discernment and wisdom in what my proper part is as the parent. Lady L does figure it out, but she goes through quite a difficult ordeal in doing so. Great book. I’m thoroughly enjoying Trollope’s Barsetshire Chronicles series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Proustitute

    There hardly seems a fitting way to begin a review of any of Trollope’s novels without saying that one can never go wrong with him. One gets lost in his worlds of ecclesiastical politics, county politics, sexual politics, and the very astute way he has with getting inside characters’ minds so that the scoundrel figure (here, Mr. Sowerby) still comes across as sympathetic, and the romance plot—a slight reworking of the one in the preceding Barchester book, Dr. Thorne, whose characters recur here, There hardly seems a fitting way to begin a review of any of Trollope’s novels without saying that one can never go wrong with him. One gets lost in his worlds of ecclesiastical politics, county politics, sexual politics, and the very astute way he has with getting inside characters’ minds so that the scoundrel figure (here, Mr. Sowerby) still comes across as sympathetic, and the romance plot—a slight reworking of the one in the preceding Barchester book, Dr. Thorne, whose characters recur here, as do others in the preceding chronicles—is hardly sappy or melodramatic. There is high comedy here, as well as tragedy; but Trollope makes us see this as the extremes of life, with the middle ground being the aim—albeit never an easy aim or aspiration in modern life.

 Dr. Thorne, for me, is truly where the Barchester Chronicles begin to realize their potential as a series of books with interwoven stories and characters. Indeed, it is only in this book, Framley Parsonage, that meta-references occur back to prior books and some knowledge of prior characters (e.g., the Grantlys, Mrs. Proudie, Miss Dunstable, et al.) would assist a reader unfamiliar with the previous books. Still, as Trollope insists in his meta-comments and in his afterward to the series, these are truly standalone books, despite likely making more sense as their plots build and as his prowess and skill as a novelist grows to read them in order.

 Especially interesting here, as is usually the case in Trollope, are the interlocking threads of characters’ lives who are of very different social classes. There are Lady Lufton and her Lord son, of Framley Court; there are the Robartses, a vicor selected by Lady Lufton among her son's friends to lead “her” parish, his wife, and, to date, Trollope's most interesting young female character, Lucy Robarts, Mark's sister; and there is a Duke and a budding fop marquis and a nouveau-riche millionairesss and several shady MPs with whom Mark Roberts has dealings that taint his cloth and make him question his faith as well as his standing in his community. 
 To reduce any Trollope novel to one mere storyline or say that there is only one hero or one heroine would be to naively reduce the joy one finds immersed in the worlds he builds. I often wonder at times why reading Trollope’s novels takes me longer than reading denser, but equally long books, such as those by James. And I think it boils down to the fact that the worlds Trollope constructs for his readers are so rich and so real, it might take you 200 pages before you realize that you’re hooked; but, once you’re hooked, you’re stuck there until the end—and with his psychological acuity, the reader is right there along with the characters as they experience debt, heartbreak, conflict in their communities and families, and sometimes soul-wrenching crises of faith that, in Trollope’s prose, especially in the third and second Barchester books, is truly a forerunner to the intense psychological insights found in Eliot and in James a bit later on.

 Onward… The wonderful thing about finishing a Trollope is knowing that there are so many more into which one can dive. And, if you happen to be new to Trollope, I still stand by my recommendation that The Claverings is the best place to start.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beth Bonini

    This is my fourth Trollope novel - and also the fourth novel in the Barsetshire Chronicles. In some ways, this is the most satisfying to date - and a huge pleasure to read - although in another sense he is beginning to repeat himself. Trollope is a realist, not a romantic, and this is both his greatest strength and also a bit of a weakness when it comes to devising romantic plots. The marriage plot between Lucy Roberts and Lord Lufton bears far too much resemblance to the pairing of Frank Gresha This is my fourth Trollope novel - and also the fourth novel in the Barsetshire Chronicles. In some ways, this is the most satisfying to date - and a huge pleasure to read - although in another sense he is beginning to repeat himself. Trollope is a realist, not a romantic, and this is both his greatest strength and also a bit of a weakness when it comes to devising romantic plots. The marriage plot between Lucy Roberts and Lord Lufton bears far too much resemblance to the pairing of Frank Gresham and Mary in Doctor Thorne (the 3rd novel). I suspect that Trollope is poking gentle fun at these romances where a titled, handsome man falls in love with a pretty, spirited woman of lesser fortune and family. He ties up his marriage plots romantically, predictably, but somehow improbably. He is so perceptive, witty and dry in his commentary on other human affairs, that I can't quite believe in these happy-ever-afters - and indeed, the final chapter of this novel has a rather extraordinary passage in which Trollope comments on marriage being quite a separate thing from the drama of falling in love. But never mind. What I admire about Trollope is his understated wit and his incredible ability to speak the truth of human nature. Although the mid-19th century world of fictional Barsetshire may differ from 2017 England in many respects, I feel that his understanding of human behaviour is as relevant as ever. Money, not love, is the most interesting subject in this book. Mark Robarts - the young parson who been raised above his station by Lady Lufton, and then is tempted to think he can rise further still - is pretty colourless and uninspiring as a hero, but then this novel is all about ambition. I suspect it is more common than not for people to always want more, to not be contented with what they have. Mark's nemesis is Mr Sowerby of Chaldicotes, a man who is born to wealth, property and influence (for many years he holds a 'safe' seat in Parliament). Despite all of these worldly blessings, Sowerby lives consistently and extravagantly beyond his means; and he is almost entirely without conscience about entangling innocent others in his financial difficulties. Trollope made his own money and I get the sense he was always savvy about the financial ways of the world. If I remember anything at all, I think that I will remember this one moment where he comments on the fact that Sowerby - absolutely sunk up to his eyeballs in debt - still has a shilling to take a cab on a journey so short that he could have easily walked. Interestingly enough, Miss Dunstable - the heiress - is no fool, when it comes to men or money. Mrs Proudie aside, Trollope is actually harder on the men than the women in this novel - and the women, in general, seem far more sensible and understanding of what it is truly important in life and relationships.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cleo

    4.5 stars!

  21. 5 out of 5

    John

    Poor Mark Robart’s and his aspirations leading him on a perilous path by Mr Sowerby. Underneath the gentleness of Trollope’s story is an undercurrent of Jones versus the Jones. A great tale of a naive clergyman and his tribulations brought about by himself. Woven in is his sister’s Lucy and her courtship with Lord Lufton and whether it will happen or not. Through in a millionaire woman, Miss Dunstable and her wry humor and you have a wonderful entertaining story about class and people’s place in Poor Mark Robart’s and his aspirations leading him on a perilous path by Mr Sowerby. Underneath the gentleness of Trollope’s story is an undercurrent of Jones versus the Jones. A great tale of a naive clergyman and his tribulations brought about by himself. Woven in is his sister’s Lucy and her courtship with Lord Lufton and whether it will happen or not. Through in a millionaire woman, Miss Dunstable and her wry humor and you have a wonderful entertaining story about class and people’s place in society.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jersy

    Just as lovely as the others in the series. :) It always takes me some time to remember everyone I already know from previous books, maybe I shouldn't wait that long between books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Trollope and Dickens are often compared to each other, and usually Dickens is considered the better writer, but I am thoroughly enjoying this series. For me, the two writers are equally good, they just focus on a different segment of Victorian life. Another aspect that I like about Trollope is that Chronicles of Barsetshire really is a series. We encounter the same characters from book to book (at least so far, I have only read 4 of the 6), although we are introduced to new main characters in ea Trollope and Dickens are often compared to each other, and usually Dickens is considered the better writer, but I am thoroughly enjoying this series. For me, the two writers are equally good, they just focus on a different segment of Victorian life. Another aspect that I like about Trollope is that Chronicles of Barsetshire really is a series. We encounter the same characters from book to book (at least so far, I have only read 4 of the 6), although we are introduced to new main characters in each book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elinor

    Every time I read the next book in the Barchester Chronicles, I think: "THIS is my favourite so far!" Each of the six novels in the series stands alone, but carries forward several familiar characters. There is a separate love story in each novel, and sometimes more than one couple are grappling with some obstacle to their marriage, but that makes it all the more interesting. This is the fourth book in the series, and the central lovers are Lucy and Ludovic. I find it the perfect escape to sink Every time I read the next book in the Barchester Chronicles, I think: "THIS is my favourite so far!" Each of the six novels in the series stands alone, but carries forward several familiar characters. There is a separate love story in each novel, and sometimes more than one couple are grappling with some obstacle to their marriage, but that makes it all the more interesting. This is the fourth book in the series, and the central lovers are Lucy and Ludovic. I find it the perfect escape to sink for a few days into Victorian country life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maan Kawas

    Another great novel by Anthony Trollope! I found this novel so engaging and entertaining. The novel addresses various themes and points, such as class, social status, morality, family, marriage, and friendship.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tricia Culp

    Ok, if you are a fan of Jane Austen or Dickens or Louisa May Alcott and have not tried Anthony Trollope, you must pick up the Chronicles of Barsetshire! This one is the forth book in the series (the second one I’ve given 5 stars to) and it is absolutely delightful. But you can’t start here. You could skip the first one, in my opinion, but you must read 2 and 3 before this one. And tell me how you like it!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan in NC

    I'm (slowly) making my way through Trollope's Barsetshire series - I find I have to be in the mood. I read somewhere that a contemporary of Trollope's said they hoped the serialized "Framley Parsonage" would never end, as they loved it because nothing ever happened! That's a bit harsh, but the novel really is about what I consider the timeless, intimate details of life, relationships, property, and responsibility. The main character is country parson Mark Robarts, who has pretty much always had I'm (slowly) making my way through Trollope's Barsetshire series - I find I have to be in the mood. I read somewhere that a contemporary of Trollope's said they hoped the serialized "Framley Parsonage" would never end, as they loved it because nothing ever happened! That's a bit harsh, but the novel really is about what I consider the timeless, intimate details of life, relationships, property, and responsibility. The main character is country parson Mark Robarts, who has pretty much always had things handed to him by one patron or another; his head is turned by the desire to keep up socially (and financially) with the local aristocracy. Along with the main plot of Robarts' struggle against temptation and eventual redemption, we meet Trollope's usual assortment of county families, aristocrats great and small, and clerical characters with their attendant charms and foibles. One of my favorite plot lines throughout this series is the ongoing, vicious (and rather un-Christian) social and political warfare waged by the rightly-named Mrs. Proudie and pretty much every other clerical wife or fond mama she runs across. The account of Mrs. Proudie's "conversazione" is priceless, and Miss Dunstable serves as a fine foil for her pompous piety and hypocrisy. Trollope manages to portray the flaws and humanity of his characters with insight and gentle yet sometimes sharp humor - but he's never snarky or malicious; that's why I love his novels and will continue to slowly but surely work my way through them!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This marks the final book of the Barsetshire series for me, and I regret that I did not read it in its proper sequence. Oh well. There is a certain languid pace in his novels, but the pace is enlivened with very insightful psychological insights into the human character. One enjoyable aspect Trollope's novels is the fact that he is able to craft every character with both strengths and weaknesses. His characters are, therefore, more real, more believable. Take Mark Robarts, his sister Lucy and hi This marks the final book of the Barsetshire series for me, and I regret that I did not read it in its proper sequence. Oh well. There is a certain languid pace in his novels, but the pace is enlivened with very insightful psychological insights into the human character. One enjoyable aspect Trollope's novels is the fact that he is able to craft every character with both strengths and weaknesses. His characters are, therefore, more real, more believable. Take Mark Robarts, his sister Lucy and his wife Fanny. Each character is totally believable, each character rises from the page and greets the reader face on. We as readers are drawn to them not because they are perfect, or because they are heroic or flawed, but because they are human. Trollope's style of interpolations are subtle in this novel. I, for one, enjoy this style. To be reminded of what we have read, where he intends to go next in his narrative and the quirky comments on what he thinks about the fictitious characters he is drawing are stylistic traits that are uncommon, but not unappreciated. His subtle style, his cotton-like satire and his incisive commentary on the class system and their oft-times eccentric rules are a delight. At one point he describes a woman as "excellent ... But not one formed by nature to grace society of the highest order." There are so many ways to interpret these few simple words. Trollope is a joy to read. Sit back and enjoy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andie

    This is the fourth novel in Trollope's Barsetshire series, and is the most satisfying so far. Trollope focuses this novel on the Rev. Mark Robarts, a young man to whom everything has come way too easily. He has the living at Framley and is earning 1000 pounds/year - quite an income for a young man in his twenties - has a lovely wife and the patronage of Lady Luftons, the mother of his boyhood friend, Luderick, Lord Lufton. Mark aims to further his ecclesiastical career, and, unfortunately in his This is the fourth novel in Trollope's Barsetshire series, and is the most satisfying so far. Trollope focuses this novel on the Rev. Mark Robarts, a young man to whom everything has come way too easily. He has the living at Framley and is earning 1000 pounds/year - quite an income for a young man in his twenties - has a lovely wife and the patronage of Lady Luftons, the mother of his boyhood friend, Luderick, Lord Lufton. Mark aims to further his ecclesiastical career, and, unfortunately in his despite to mingle in higher society, falls prey to the unscrupulous Whig Member of Parliament, Mr. Sowerty and signs his name to a "bill" meaning he takes responsibility for the man's debts. This situation could be likened to being entrapped today by a payday lender as even though Mark pays, he seems to owe more and more until the bailiffs appear at his door to foreclose. Meanwhile there are also romantic sub-plots involving Mark's sister, Lucy and Lord Lufton and Griselda Grantley and Lord Hartletop. As always, Trollope deftly portrays class divisions, politics of the day and ecclesiastical mechanizations in a thoroughly entertaining way. These books are long, but they are a great escape into another time and place.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arpita (BagfullofBooks)

    3.5 stars

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