Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium and former Prime Minister of England, is widowed and wracked by grief. Struggling to adapt to life without his beloved Lady Glencora, he works hard to guide and support his three adult children. Palliser soon discovers, however, that his own plans for them are very different from their desires. Sent down from university in disgrace, his two sons quickly begin to run up gambling debts.
His only daughter, meanwhile, longs passionately to marry the poor son of a county squire against her father’s will. But while the Duke’s dearest wishes for the three are thwarted one by one, he ultimately comes to understand that parents can learn from their own children. The Duke’s Children is the final volume in the 'Palliser' novels.
©2006 Anthony Trollope (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
One of Trollope's more domestic novels in which he focuses on characters we already know from their regular appearances in the Barchester novels. Action revolves around "Planty" Palliser, the Duke of Omnium, who tries to cope with the emergent independence of his three willful children after the death of his wife. Trollope lets the dynamics of the central personalities be the story. Simple motifs become engrossing through the author's great gift for drawing the reader into the motives and emotions of each character.
The Duke's Children is the last of the Palliser sequence, and probably the weakest as an actual novel. For those who have been following the adventures of Plantagenet Palliser, his family and friends from the very beginning, this final instalment immediately suffers a major blow with the premature death of Palliser's inimitable wife, Glencora, Duchess of Omnium. Over the course of a long and prolific career as a novelist, Trollope created many memorable characters, but the flighty Glencora is surely his masterpiece; so fully realised and full of life that it seems almost as incredible to the reader as to to her devastated widower, that she is dead. Always a distant, if worthy parent, Palliser suddenly finds himself like a ship without a rudder, and a virtual stranger to his three children. As his daughter and two sons enter adult life without their mother he finds himself totally ill-equipped to handle the social and emotional crises into which they precipitate him.
With Glencora gone, the burden of the plot falls mainly on her children who seem to resemble her more than their father. All of them, are shadows of their mother, and because there are three of them, the storyline sometimes lacks focus. The heir, Silverbridge, a rather limited but well-meaning young man, overly given to expensive and dubious exploits on the turf, appals his father (a former liberal prime minister) by deciding to enter politics on the Conservative side. His brother Gerald is an irresponsible university student. Their sister, Lady Mary, horrifies her father by engaging herself to a most unsuitable young ma. This makes her admittedly better than her brother, who manages to propose to two different girls at the same time, but her engagement becomes even most distressing to Palliser when he discovers that his late wife not only knew about, but encouraged the relationship. Unfortunately, none of the children are as entertaining as their late mother, and Silverbridge's bumbling forays into politics lack the incisive interest of his father's. This is not to say that The Duke's Children is a bad novel; on the contrary it is reasonably entertaining and anyone who has read the others will want to read this one. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to feel that Trollope was running out of steam when he wrote it.
As always, a brilliant reading by Timothy West.
I am just hoping that I won't develop post-Palliser depression! Timothy West is as one with the words.... simply sublime. I so loved this series. The final sentence is one of the most brilliant in literature. Profoundly pleasurable. Thank-you.
The sixth book in the Palliser series is essential listening. To have followed the fortunes and misfortunes of all the characters, makes this last book so satisfying in that we know what happens to everyone. It is interesting to see how Trollope makes us aware of the changing times in the late 19th Century through the lives of all those who inhabit these wonderful books.
Finally, The Duke's Children, the last book in the Trollope's Palliser series, is on Audible! Unfortunately, Audible still does not have The Prime Minister, which precedes this final book in the Palliser series. Although it is not necessary to have read (or listened to The Prime Minister) to enjoy this story, for true fans of Trollope and the Palliser series, it would have been helped. Although I thoroughly enjoyed Trollope's story about the Duke of Omnium and his three children, "The Duke's Children" is not one of Trollope's "great" novels in the Palliser series, especially the ending, which I found flat and unsatisfying. However, what is so deliciously interesting about this novel, and makes it a must read, is Trollope's portrayal of the utter hypocrisy of the aristocracy in late Victorian England, through the character portrayal of the Duke of Omnium, the titular head of the Liberal Party. This juxtaposition and tension between the Duke's Liberal politics and conservative personal beliefs in the plot via the Duke's aspiration's for, and then treatment of his children, especially his daughter, Mary, are timeless themes and are as true today as it was over 100 years ago when Trollope wrote this novel!
Photo is of my portuguese water dog, Sheila!
it was nice spending the time with anthony trollope, once again. i'd give this one a 3, or 3 1/2 stars since i don't think it ever really got off the ground. characters a bit two dimensional ... parts about parliament and hunting more interesting (although these are not subjects that generally keep my attention). so, on balance, an average trollope read, which, to his fans, is good enough reason to use an audible credit!
I HAVE NOT READ THE PRINT VERSION
THE CHARACTERS WERE ALL VERY INTERESTING.
TIMOTHY WEST IS A WONDERFUL NARRATOR AND BRINGS THE CHARACTERS TO LIFE.
The Duke's Children is the last of the six books in the Pallisers series. Audible has each of the first four volumes but does not have the fifth book--The Prime Minister-- available for purchase. Accordingly, you cannot currently listen to these books in order. Audible has been advised of the problem for some time but as of now the penultimate book in the series remains unavailable.The Prime Minister is available to purchase from AudioGo.uk in cd format.
As with the other Trollope novels, I liked the transformation of Silverbridge from the prospective suitor of Lady Mabel to the fiance of Miss Bon Kassen (I hope I spelled that right; This is audible you know). I almost forgot the gradual coming around of the Duke of Omnium to reconcile himself tothe chosen mates of his children. Then, of course there is the steadfastness of Mary to Silverbridge which matches the steadfastness and loyalty of Mary to Frank in Doctor Thorne. There is nothing really new in this novel, though I never get tired of Trollope and his keen insight of human character, male and female.
I liked Silverbridge the best. He is frank and direct which is a refreshing change from the convolutions of Lady Mabel and the other scheming members of the upper class, especially the females who must catch a titled and wealthy man. On the other hand, I guess Silverbridge is born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth which makes it easy for him to be so honest and forthcoming.
Timothy West goes with Anthony Trollope like cream cheese goes with jelly. By the way, he doesn't imitate female voices which seems to be very awkward for a male voice. Simon Vance is also excellent but I don't like his female voice imitations. West's narrative is smooth and his reading of Silverbridge and the Duke of Omnium would be non existent if I had just read the book. Timothy West is supeb in all his Trollope readings and this is no exception.
I can't say the book was a thriller of that sort. Rather, it was like good wine which I want to sip. I knew the plot from the Masterpiece Palliser series. Like all the Trollope books it stresses characterization and you feel like you are mixing with the cream of English society, though some of them can be scoundrels and liars like Lady Eustace in Lady Eustace's diamonds. For the lower classes you will have to go to Dickens though the heroes and heroines remain in both the upper and lower classes.
If you love this series the final volume seems wistful. It takes up the next generation where some changes are in store. Not quite as complex as some of the others in this series but absolutely worth a listen. The reader for this series is marvelous!
"Trollope and Timothy West perfectly matched ..."
... as usual.
But why has this book appeared in Audible's list before "The Prime Minister"? Glencora is mysteriously gone (it wouldn't be a mystery if we had "The Prime Minister" and Plantagenet is a single parent not making a very good job of it. But he learns. I do enjoy his reaction to the slang of the time and Trollope is very good at the interplay between generations, and between British and American characters.
If you know the Palliser series you might not mind hearing this next after "Phineas Redux". Or it would work as a standalone novel. But if you are following the series for the first time in order then badger Audible for "The Prime Minister" before listening to this.
I wish there were more to come.
Good book. Thanks to Audible for having this in store! I enjoyed listening to it.
"A complete delight"
The narration of this book made it quite spellbinding with hours passing as the story unfolds, refolds and unfolds again. One can listen attentively but also do something else at the same time, and not necessarily just a mundane task, as the reading seems to give events such a natural and intriguing course.
The charming developing character of Silverbridge made for many memorable moments; each time he encountered Lady Mabel Grex then Isabel Boncassen their changing relationships made it very difficult to decide who's "side" to be on. The tragic character of the Major with his insecurities, the terrible choice he made causing his inevitable downfall, made a truly salutary case.
Timothy West has the ability to develop each character so that they are instantly recognisable each time they reappear. However, sometimes I felt I could hear him (TW) actually reading; maybe sobbing as a woman wronged or suffering anguish as the fine but austere Duke himself, and I found that these made very lovely interludes. I was being read to by a wonderful actor in the most friendly manner.
The final fall of Lady Mabel Grex was heart rendering. Twice she suffered tragic interviews with her previous lovers, but the events that led up this sad end were not her fault but caused by harsh circumstances which coloured her conduct.
I shall now work my way through all of Trollop's books as they are not only an acute social statement of their time, but have broader themes that face all of us each day. Wherever possible I shall be choosing Timothy West's reading. My sincere thanks and congratulations for giving hours of such pleasure.
Dear Lynn (of Newquay): I think you found this book when The Prime Minister had been removed for correction (3 out of 4 parts were missing). I deliberately didn't listen to this until The Prime Minister had been restored, and it has been well worth the wait. Timothy West's narration is first class once again. I did find the end rather abrupt - but that may be because I coudn't believe the journey had finished - I found it rather moving to have to say goodbye to the Pallisers after all this time.
I have now heard Timothy West read the whole Palliser Saga and feel privileged to have heard him narrate them. The books can so sometimes be repetitive and long winded but he makes it work and paints a wonderful picture in the mind to the extent that you are hardly aware of the narrator. I am sad to hear no more of the Pallisers and their circle but am grateful for this insight into mid Victorian politics which often reflects the doings of today although the social life reflected in it is very different. There is in any case a nice balance between the two and as in life there are always a few losers.
"A pleasure to hear"
As with the other Palliser novels, this one is beautifully read by Timothy West. His voice brings out the splendid language and suits the expression of the nineteenth century aristocratic sentiments which are so fastidious and exacting and so very different from today's social mores. It is a fascinating view into this past.
"The Last Book"
Oh how I will miss the Pallisers! They have been my constant companions during the last few months - ironing, walking, driving. Never without them.
"mellow and enjoyable"
This is the first Trollope I have listened to. It's was an easy listen with enough to keep my attention. I enjoyed immersing myself in the period and imagining the backdrops for each little subplot. There wasnt anything shocking or particularly unexpected but there was enough in the way of little events to keep me interested. I also enjoyed the historic information about parliament and the rules of aristocracy. I won't get political but you can clearly see how the past is still influencing parliament now.
"Trollope and West - the perfect match"
yes, this is already my second or third time, I love it.
Any other of Trollope's novels, read by Timothy West. Pure escapism
His lovely voice, inflection and pronouncement is perfect. He doesn't give female characters silly voices. He is perfect and brings the characters to life wonderfully. Listening to audiobooks continuously as I do, I can only recommend it to everyone.
laugh constantly, Trollope was such a clever and witty writer. This novel did not have any real sad bits.
Find more of Trollope's novels that have not yet been recorded. But it has to be Timothy West as narrator.
"Trollope should be available on prescription from the NHS!"
A joyous world of amazing insight into the human condition which provides the perfect antidote to life
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