By Anthony Trollope
Published by Norilana Books
Copyright: © 2007
Original Copyright: © 1858
Anthony Trollop was a successful English Victorian novelist with a bibliography that stretches to almost ninety novels and short stories plus numerous articles, letters, and a couple of plays. Before he obtained fame as a writer, he was unsuccessful in about everything else including politics, prostrating himself for a seat in the House of Commons in which he came in fourth in a field of, well, four.
His first major success as a writer came with his fourth novel in 1855, ‘The Warden’, the first book in the Barsetshire series, a collection of novels that made him famous and what he is most remembered for 125 years later. The series, which are loosely connected and can be read in any order, consist of six novels set in the fictional English county of Barsetshire. The county was a fictional composite recollection of his travels into the English countryside observing the bucolic, but poor life of the peasants juxtaposed with the landed gentry and nobility of 19th century England. The Chronicles of Barsetshire as the series came to be known deals almost exclusively with the Church of England clergy and landed gentry with peasantry narratives sporadically thrown in for local color. The gentry were a class below the British peerage but due to ownership of land were occasionally above them in wealth if not status.
Doctor Thorne is the third novel in the Barsetshire series and is considered the best of the six. The novel revolves around the lives of Squire John Gresham’s of Greshamsbury family and their physician, Doctor Thorne, and his niece Mary. Gresham is slowly selling off his estate to pay debts, leaving little for his oldest son Frank to inherit in the years to come or for the family to live on in months to come. The only solution is for Frank to marry money. Frank loves Mary but Mary has no title or money. The story progresses as expected but the read is a romp anyway.
A fictional Map of Barsetshire – After Trollop – drawn by Spencer Van Bokkelen Nichols in 1925, painted by George Frederick Muendel.