Okay, it's partly my anachronistic reading as a twenty-first century feminist, but it's also the strain of being over eight hundred pages long when it only could support around two-thirds that length: I loved this book at the halfway mark, and kind of resented it by the end. Initially I found the central Trevelyan conflict interesting but those two characters the most flat and dull, and I was very interested in the fates and doings of all the novel's many single ladies, who seemed more interesting and more carefully drawn; by the end, that feeling had reversed and I'd lost interest in those other characters but was finally impressed by Trollope's rather nuanced depiction of one man's mental illness. So yes, his tiresome efforts at satire and much else in this novel did drag on way too long, but while it didn't live up to its initial promise on the whole I enjoyed this book and do plan to give Trollope another try.
I have said elsewhere that Trollope does a better job with women characterizations than most male authors, especially those 19th Century authors I have read. It was with this knowledge that I read: The post used to come into Nuncombe Putney at about eight in the morning, carried thither by a wooden-legged man who rode a donkey. The one-legged man who rode his donkey into Nuncombe Putney would reach his post-office not above half an hour after his proper time; but he was very slow in stumping round the village, and seldom reached the Clock House much before ten.I enjoyed this, but it's hard to equate it with some of his best known works, especially with either of the best of his two series.
In addition to the Trevelyan family, the novel is filled with sharply drawn characters, including some of Trollope's best women: the spinster Miss Stanbury, her sharp-tongued niece Priscilla, and Emily's sister Nora Rowley, who refuses to give up the man she loves in spite of the threat of poverty.
This is a great story from the first page to the last! Louis Trevelyan is the first character introduced and his story is the main theme throughout. The two set off for England and marry, and settle in on Curzon Street, a nice, comfortable life, good society. Ah, Curzon Street, where life is beautiful all the time and Ill be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats . Aha, a good friend of Emilys father appears at Trevelyans front door, a gentleman by the name of Colonel Osborne. Colonel Osborne, a man in his 50s-- a few years older than his good friend Sir Marmaduke Rowley, visits the newlywed couple to see Emily after many, many years. He introduces a few female characters from America, one of whom is a true womens rights activist Miss Petrie. But, when a woman and a man fall in love, how can you tell them it is not to be just because the money is not proper. As I mentioned above, there are love encounters within this story. I felt anger in parts of this book in favor of Louis Trevelyan, and rooted for him throughout this story.
Osborne is very aware of the problems he is causing between Louis and Emily and he decides to play on their emotions and delights in the game.
If this were a 20th century book, I'd be telling the heroine "divorce the sucker, lady." Plus any book who can present the sanctimonious, self-righteous, obnoxious bully Miss Stanbury in a half-positive light deserves to be one-starred to oblivion, in my humble opinion, anyway.
Opening lines: When Louis Trevelyan was twenty-four years old, he had all the world before him where to choose; and, among other things, he chose to go to the Mandarin Islands, and there fell in love with Emily Rowley, the daughter of Sir Marmaduke, the governor.
Its not good if I like the subplots better than the main plot of a novel!
Some say this is Trollope's greatest novel.
I was much more engaged in the lives and affairs of all of the novel's other characters.
Anthony Trollope became one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era.