Through a combination of naivety and social ambition, Robarts is compromised and brought to the brink of ruin.
Trollope tells his story with great compassion, offsetting the drama with his customary humour. Like all the Barsetshire novels, it is an extraordinarily evocative picture of everyday life in 19th-century England.
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Timothy West did a great narration bringing out all of Trollope's subtle humor, sly jabs, the winks and nods. Lawyers, newspapermen, financers and churchmen come under a broadside from Trollope's heavy guns. He unloads his full wicked wit on the whole disgusting tribe. It was an excuse for writing a perfectly lovely comedy of romantic entanglements. The cunning back-stabbing political and match-making schemes, as well as shadow cat fights are exquisite. For instance, the extremely rich, not particularly lovely, older heiress Miss Dunstable seemed to attract only offers which pass as corporate mergers. I think her first appearance was in "Dr. Thorne" where the financially embarrassed Greshams tried merging her with the family heir. The poor girl is bombarded with proposals or should I say get rich schemes for the proposers. I love the conclusion of her numerous courtships having forgotten it was in this book. Miss Dunstable's is not even the best romance in this story; in best one, I won't even tell you what the girl made the suitor do. It is agonizingly perfect. Psst, it has something to do with what his haughty disapproving mother has to do. I think that Trollope believed that overzealous attempts of mamas and papas to bring about the marriage of a son or daughter generally had contrary and often humorous effects. At least that is what happens in his books including this one. What I really like about Trollope is he generally doesn't lead the reader on then pull the rug from beneath one's feet at the conclusion. As an example of rug pullers I give you Mary Ann Evans a.k.a. George Eliot, "The Mill on the Floss" or that gosh awful woman, Edith Wharton. Most probably disagree with me but hey, I read them but still growl. Another thing I like about Trollope is his partiality for the unsuited but worthy lover very much on display in "Framley Parsonage". This is a totally satisfying story from a great writer.
A great, long, engaging book read by one of the best! A recording to be savored!
Every word written by Trollope and every word uttered by West.
Oh, I love them all even the bad ones, as Trollope did I'm sure.
My only complaint about Trollope is that he only wrote 46 novels.
I am facing a very nasty situation in that I have listened to nearly all Trollope novels narrated by Timothy West. Sadly, Trollope is now deceased and will never write more, but could not West be held captive in a Venetian palacio or English country mansion until he has recorded EVERYTHING.
Whether it's the author or the amazing narrator, Timothy West, I have fallen in love with the novels of Anthony Trollope. "Framley" is the fourth I've listened to. I began with "The Warden" and agree with other reviewers who suggest it's a good place to start.
In Framley Parsonage Anthony Trollope returns us to familiar characters, and wraps up some of their stories -- Martha Dunstable, for one, finds a disinterested (in her money) true love at last. New to us is Lucy Robards, one of Trollope's most fetching and feisty heroines. All grown up is Griselda Grantley, whose peculiar suitability for high society will remind readers of our own time's Gwyneths and Tinsleys. And back again are two of Trollope's most appalling and astonishing characters: Mr. Crowley, on the side of the angels, and Mrs. Proudie, from the other place. And, as always with this author, money and finance are characters in their own right, in a way that is truer and more realistic than any other author I can name. It's a bit of a transitional book -- on its way to the final Barchester book -- but a tightly plotted, satisfying read from start to finish.
Trollope is an incredibly good writer and his words are brought to life by the incomparable Timothy West, who may be the best audiobook performer I've heard. I've read all 4 books in the series and now, less than an hour after finishing Framley I'm off to Allington.
Framley Parsonage was Trollope's first big success, and you can see why. It's a perfect example of his great gifts of characterization, setting, humor and sympathy. This audiobook, narrated by the brilliant British actor Timothy West, captures every facet of Trollope's narration, the depths of his characters and the marvelous humor and insights that Trollope always brings to his tales of flawed human beings. I can't recommend this enough. And if you'd like to truly treat yourself, Timothy West has narrated all of the Barsetshire and Palliser novels. What a gift Trollope (and Timothy West) gave us.
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.
The twists and turns of the plot (or plots) of Framley Parsonage make this a highly entertaining tale. As always, Trollope provides the romantic struggles of at least one couple as a unifying thread, and their trials and tribulations are especially witty and ironic here in Framley Parsonage. His cast of characters runs the gamut, from the sublime to the absurd; Lucy Roberts, her too easy-going brother, Mark, Mark's nemesis, Sowerby, the wealthy and raucous heiress Miss Dunstable, the statuesque beauty, Griselda Grantly, &c. Trollope has a gift for imbuing his villains with likable, or at the very least, sympathetic, personalities. Haven't we all known an engaging knave, like Sowerby? Yet, in spite of the rich complexity of plot and character, Trollope keeps hold of the reins throughout and brings all to a satisfying conclusion.
The series is developed in this story. Human fragilities abound and philosophical problems are presented and examined. Marriage as a love match and an economic and practical matter are found in this and other Trollope novels. Manners and social gender roles are described and this adds to the story. A delightful addition to a fabulous series.
"Everything an audiobook should be"
Timothy West is one of the best audiobook readers. His narrator is humane, wise and engaging, despite Trollope's prolixity. His characters are beautifully realised - distinct and alive without exaggeration. More please.
An absolutely brilliant reading. Timothy West reads with real feeling and expression, and gives each character their own unique and recognisable style and voice. Buy this audio book. You will not be disappointed. Timothy, please let's have some more!
This was the fourth Trollope/West audiobook I have listened to with such pleasure. Mr West is a superb reader: clever, clear, delicious.
"Another excellent Barchester novel"
This novel continues the story of the Barchester folk Characters from the earlier novels in the series reappear and many 'loose ends' are tied. As ever, Timothy West's reading brings the tale alive. His characterisations are superb. I would recommend this story.
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