Residents at Framley Parsonage include the Parson, Mark Robarts, a young man on his way up; his loyal and sensible wife Fanny; and his younger sister Lucy who falls in love with Lord Ludovic Lufton, the local aristocracy. So, once again, we read of the difficulties posed when a high-born young man and a commoner fall in love. Once again, the marriage is opposed by the young man's mother. But Lady Lufton is a far more complex and sympathetic character than Lady Arabella Gresham of "Dr Thorne." She is indeed someone who wants to be in control, but she also acts out of love for her son and a very conventional sense of what is right in society. We watch as she thinks through the implications of her demands, changes her mind, forgives, and accepts. Trollope treats her with sensitivity and we watch and listen, as she develops and changes over time.
Another interesting and complex character is Mr Sowerby, an old reprobate, who manipulates Mark Robarts into financial embarassment. Minor plots re-introduce some of our old acquaintances from other novels in the Barchester series: the Grantlys, Miss Dunstable (who marries the man of her dreams), and Mrs Proudie, who is, I'm sure, far more fun to read about than to have known in person.
As in the previous installments of this series, Trollope shows himself to be a master of creating characters who come to life on the page (or in the ear), even if the plot is something of a rehash.
One of my favorite things about Trollope is his ability to make you squirm. You care about the characters so much that the reaction to their predicaments is physical. Thankfully, he always brings things right in the end, with lessons learned by all. It may not be realistic, but, boy, is it fun to read!
The character development and author's insight into and wit about the impact of social order on those with money and power, like the church and landowners; and those without, or who did not follow the social rules.
I recommend the entire series for those who enjoy character development stories about this period of English social and religious order.
He is excellent with all ages and characters. Tone of his voice is also very pleasing to listener.
Inside view into 1800 English church and rural social order.
book is informing and funny and sad all at the same time. Sad to be at the bottom of the social order, funny to hear the games played, and intriguing in character development as their stories/lives unwind in their little community.
Timothy West's reading of Trollope is exemplary. I have thoroughly enjoyed being transported back to the doings of the Barchester diocese with Mr. West as my companion.
You won't be disappointed by Framley Parsonage. I found it a bit slower start than other stories in the Barchester/Barseter series (I have read all 6), but eventually it picks up and presents the familiar Trollope chronicle of behind the scene clashes in ecclesiastical societies, including the clash of piety vs. prosperity among clerics. It also continues Trollope's theme of the triumph of true love over class. Trollope's books give a good fictional account of the breakdown in the British class structure even as that structure extended to the Church of England. I have enjoyed them all! Timothy West truly adds to the pleasure of the novel making the audio experience much richer than the printed books (which I have also read). He is perfect for Trollope's novels!
Timothy West makes all of Trollope's books special. As long as they are, he is such a professional in making every page and every voice interesting.