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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

The first of six in Trollope's series of the Chronicles of Barsetshire introducing the fictional cathedral town of Barchester and the characters of Septimus Harding, the Warden, and his son-in-law Archdeacon Grantly.

The Warden concerns the moral dilemma of the conscientious Reverend Septimus Harding, who finds himself at the centre of a bitter conflict between defenders of Church privilege and the reformers of the mid-Victorian period.

His daughter's suitor, John Bold, is a political radical and passionate reformer who launches a campaign against Harding's management of the financial affairs of the charity, thus shattering the atmosphere of the once tranquil town of Barchester. The scandal is not improved when Harding's indelicate son-in-law, Archdeacon Grantly, leaps to his defence.

The audiobook is a charming social comedy and love story that portrays life in an English cathedral town whilst looking at the larger social and political issues.

The Warden was Trollope's first literary success which paved the way for him to later leave his career as a Post Office Inspector and become a prolific and much-respected author of the Victorian era. He eventually published 47 novels, many of which are still popular and well-loved today due to their timeless quality and parallels with contemporary society.

Narrator Biography

Timothy West is prolific in film, television, theatre, and audiobooks. He has narrated a number of Anthony Trollope's classic audiobooks, including the six Chronicles of Barsetshire and The Pallisers series. He has also narrated volumes of Simon Schama's A History of Britain and John Mortimer's Rumpole on Trial.

Timothy West's theatrical credits include King Lear, The Vote, Uncle Vanya, A Number, Quarter, and Coriolanus and his films include Ever After, Joan Of Arc, Endgame, Iris, and The Day of the Jackal. On television, Timothy has appeared in Broken Biscuits (BBC), Great Canal Journeys (across 3 Series), and the regular role of Stan Carter on EastEnders (BBC).

Public Domain ©2008 BBC Audiobooks LTD; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

The Old Man & His Terrific and Single Daughter

Along with some romance, this is a broadside of satire directed at the gentlemen of the press and of the law. Anthony Trollope beards the lion in its den with this story of the power of a self-important press to inflict great damage on individuals and institutions. Under the guise of public interest reform, a newspaper runs stories which result in the resignation of a decent and kind old man Mr. Harding, as well as the virtual shut down of a charitable, well run, old folk's home. While these are matters of no moment to the newspaper editor except as sensational stories which sells papers, there is real pain and damage inflicted on the innocent. One might conclude from this book: doing what is lawful is not always the same as doing what is right or just. I just love the way this gentle, easily guided, old man takes matters into his own hands and overturns the apple carts and plans of those who considered themselves better suited to guide him than his own principles.

Timothy West's performance of this work cannot be praised enough. He somehow manages the trick of capturing Trollope's brand of humor and subtle jabs and making it accessible to the listener.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Marvellous Book

The book is simply beautiful and the narration is perfect. A sheer joy from start to end.
If you like Trollope, you must read this book and the others in the series. Timothy West is the perfect reader for this work. Brilliant!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 01-24-13

A witty Story

This book was written in 1852. I was unaware of A. Trollope until I read a comment about him in a book I recently finished "The Invisible Women" about Ternan and Dickens. I looked him up on Audible and read the various reviews by readers and decided to give him a try. The book is a beautifully written satire. I enjoyed the more flowery language of the Victorian age and I also got side tracked noting the societal change that have occurred since the 1850s. The story is of Reverend Septimus Harding who got caught up in the conflict between defenders of church privilege and the reformers of the Victorian age. Enjoyed the repartee between the characters. Timothy West did a great job narrating the story.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Read All Barchester Chronicles, Beginning Here

I just finished a five-month long romp through the entire set of Anthony Trollope's Barchester Chronicles. Each one builds on the last, with earlier characters forming the background for the protagonists of the day. The final book (The Last Chronicle of Barset) is perhaps the best, as he has rounded out his style and he does not give everyone a happy ending. The Warden contains a good bit of social commentary about the power of the press, and in particular the power of a celebrity op-ed columnist. As with all of the books in this set, the characters are vivid and their conversations wonderful.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Hooked!!

I had not read any of Anthony Trollpe's books previously and now am hooked and working my way through them all... In my opinion, much better than Dickens. A thoroughly enjoyable "read" and Timothy West is outstanding. Recommended highly.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A jab at the hierarchy of the Church of England

This was an interesting book but the satire is lost on modern readers. You had to know that The Jupiter newspaper was really The Times and that various characters were swipes at Charles Dickens and other authors and journalists for it to be amusing or even to make sense.

Timothy West does an excellent job as a narrator and I enjoyed the book enough to give the next in the series of the Barchester Chronicles a go but its not really grabbed me ... yet!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Short for Trollope; just as good

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! Timothy West is one of the best readers I've ever heard (going back to "Books on Tape")! Stories are leisurely and engrossing, and I both read AND listen. So much of mid-19th century events and culture resonate with today's world, and I see why Churchill is said to have always had a book by Trollope on hand. New to me, but so glad to have discovered his books. Get a feeling for them with the BBC movies or TV adaptations, then go to the books. <br/>For me right now, Dickens has just a bit better writing, but stories are darker and more intense. Trollope has so many valid insights into different characters' personalities, a few laugh out loud moments, and vivid characters. I like reading them in order, and this is the first of the Barchester series and is one of his shorter novels.

What did you like best about this story?

Trollope descriptions of place and character are detailed enough (too much so, some say) to make you feel you're right there even though it's a long time ago. I liked this story especially because of the conflict with a newspaper and the "power of the press". Also, the dynamics of a small town and the relationship between church and its people is interesting.

Which character – as performed by Timothy West – was your favorite?

That's what's so great about Timothy West: he alters his voice just enough so that each character is distinct. He almost always reads as if he is finding it just as interesting as you will.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Too long for one setting, but because Trollope issued them in periodicals (as did Dickens), he recaps just a little of the previous chapter so you can continue easily where you left off.

Any additional comments?

I wish Audible would make it possible to find the BOOK'S chapters rather than the so-called chapters (really sections of the download because it was a long book). It's hard to find where I was or to find a previous chapter if I want to hear it again.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent and Enjoyable Classic

This is my second book by Trollope and definitely not the last. Each sentence is beautifully written and frequently witty. I find myself fascinated by the ability of this author to put in words the human condition with all it's excentricities and weaknesses as well as strengths. I often find myself smiling while listening when he not so subtlely describes a character's feelings, weaknesses, fears, whatever. He cuts to the chase and says it like it is but does so in the most beautifully written way. I just love listening to Timothy West. I believe he is reading these novels exactly as they were meant to be read. I intend to continue interspersing these books in between lighter reading of mystery, murder and mayhem!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa
  • Corona Del Mar, CA, United States
  • 02-21-12

An enjoyable listen

I enjoyed the prose and style of this novel quite a bit. The reader gave good voice to the characters and I especially liked his bombastic style for the newspaper articles and political pamphlets. His characterization of the warden and his son-in-law were just perfect.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyable solid literary stuff

Took me a little while to get into. For some reason I've never read any Trollope. It was a gentle book, and I was drawn into the story after a few chapters. Well narrated, although there were slightly strange gaps between chapters.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Philadelphus
  • 02-17-09

Volume one in a perfect series

It's hard to explain just how good Timothy West's readings of Trollope are. The authorial voice is humane, wise, and various and overcomes Trollope's prosiness and repeated turns of phrase. The characters are all wonderfully done - lively and distinct without caricature. This is how audiobooks should be done - a reader who enhances the books rather than, as so many are, being an obstacle to be endured in order to get at the book behind. Bliss.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 10-08-09

A delight

A beautiful reading of a tremendously touching novel. Timothy West is an outstanding narrator.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • kerrymay
  • 05-04-12

Beautiful

The combination of Timothy West and Trollope has got to be my very favourite Audible experience.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • 08-25-13

Wonderful classic!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Warden to be better than the print version?

I really do believe that listening to this version of the audio book has been a better experience than reading the printed edition. Having loved the tv series some years ago it was easy to visualise the characters.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Warden?

Each scene that contains Dr. Grantley are moments to savour. The humour in how he displays his Victorian Christianity is legendary. The insights that Trollope gives us into the behaviour of the press in the 19th century demonstrates that little has changed in 150 years.

What does Timothy West bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Timothy West reads this story majestically. He brings the characters alive, makes the 19th century language easily understandable and his voice is comforting and confidential. So many books can be spoiled by the narrator but I would buy any narrated by Mr. West.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The Warden is the sort of tale that makes you smile a lot rather than laugh out loud. It certainly makes the listener consider the behaviours and attitudes of the 19th century communities - so little difference from today.

Any additional comments?

Usually I listen to my books in bed and very often fall asleep but with The Warden I didn't want to miss one word of this entertaining story (even though I already know it). I have savoured it over a full month. Trollope and West together are really that good in my opinion. Buy and enjoy. Excellent!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Judy Corstjens
  • 05-27-15

Enduring appeal

The key moral dilemmas of this novel (church sinecures giving undeserved wealth to fortunate insiders) belong to the nineteenth century and could seem a bit remote today. However, the way that this undeserved money affects the protagonists, their different reactions, the guilt, the temptations and family relationships is universal and timeless. Perhaps a bit goody-goody for today's tastes, a touch sentimental. I enjoyed it, nonetheless, as a gentle summer listen. A holiday in the pleasant surroundings of a Cathedral Close in the 1850s.

Timothy West delivers Trollope's elegant sentences with the skill of an actor. Some books are better on the page, but I think this little jewel sparkles more brightly as an audiobook.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-30-17

Fabulous!

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Warden. I highly recommend it to anyone new to Trollope, as I was. Timothy West is the perfect narrator.

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  • sora
  • 05-14-16

Enjoyable and relevant - brilliantly narrated

I really enjoyed this. It is read very well by Timothy West and jogs along at a good pace except for one or two sections when Trollope has a bit of a rant about the press or the church. It is noticeably lacking in dramatic tension at times, for example when the Warden spends a day killing time in London and...nothing much happens! But somehow it doesn't matter because you have spent time in the company of the warden and his ethical dilemmas and human scruples, his cowardice and his courage. The conclusion of what happens to the hospital is a bit conservative for me but not too improbable. Although the focus here is on the power and wealth of the church, the conflicts are not a million miles from today's debates about inequality, tax avoiders and the 1%.

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  • Philip
  • 05-10-16

West is a Wonder!!!

What made the experience of listening to The Warden the most enjoyable?

Timothy West's narration is a joy, with great characters and a spot-on portrayal of the novel's historical context. West's recreation of Trollope's Victorian England has made this great writer so much more accessible for me. Highly recommended!

Which character – as performed by Timothy West – was your favourite?

The blustering self-righteous archdeacon, Dr. Grantly, is particularly well portrayed.

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  • eatough1999
  • 12-17-15

Loved it!

First foray into the literary charms of Trollope and I was entranced, despite the slow start whereupon I thought I would not take to it at all It is incredible that such a story can be founded upon the premise of the morality of a source of income,. and the wiles and motives of the main characters surrounding it and the perceived need of right and personal rights. On asserting one's own right does this impinge on another's?. The narrative makes you think about this which I find quite satisfying..a work of fiction that has the charms of a good storyline yet with the underlying need to think about the content. I think this would be an excellent choice for a book club to discuss.

The narrative was flowing and flowery brought to life by West. I found him so easy to listen to and his pronunciation was excellent.

I can well imagine that this book will not suit all tastes, having just finished a Margaret Dickonson novel also a first for myself The Warden was a completely different literary experience and took time to switch into the prose. The antiquated language may for some be a struggle and not suit the modern listener.Yet it is worth persevering with as there is richness in its tone.

Onto the next book in the series

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  • Pete Lachaise
  • 12-16-15

A good read

Never read a book by Trollope before but really enjoyed the prose and the story.

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  • Alexander Emslie
  • 03-01-15

Absorbing. Masterful.

The word picture painting and the language are the work of a true craftsman. Timothy West imparts a further beauty. He is a magnificent narrator. I am now firmly avowed to continue reading the remaining volumes and choosing the editions in which Mr. West tells the tale.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 07-10-16

The Reading

The use of words to express and convey the intricacies of human nature is exceptional.
rich descriptions with a dry wit makes for such an enjoyable book.