First: I totally agree with you in that this one is different, since there is no moral dilemma at all. If, in the first and third installments of the "Barsetshire Chronicles", the main characters face hard moral dilemmas, choices between two evils, and the second is the depiction of intrigues and intertwined power struggles, the fourth focuses on the road to perdition of Mark Robarts, a young vicar with wife and children.
Lady Lufton is not really a villain such as Mrs. Proudie, but a very class-conscious woman with a golden heart (if you submit to her totally).
For me, the best, the most complex character in the novel is Sowerby. He reminded me a lot of a friend I used to have: charismatic, smart, fun to be with, yet a guy who has swindled, stolen, committed fraud against each and everybody, including his closest friends and family.
Lucy Robarts is attractive as a character, certainly, as you say, a woman acting much out of pride, and possibly a difficult wife (but let's not spoil the romance).
I also enjoyed meeting again many of the previous novels' characters, especially the ineffable and wonderful Miss Dunstable, one of Trollope's most enduring creations, and the good Dr. Thorne, an admirable man.
My day job is concerned with public affairs, and therefore I tend to enjoy political aspects of novels, but just as you I found the whole thing with the Titans, Giants and Gods impossible to follow and undecipherable.
All in all, Trollope's novels are always good fun, good literature, and a wonderful stroll through the world of XIX Century's rural England which I always like.
What do you think of Sowerby, the Duke of Omnium and the liberal crowd?
: Guillermo, you posted on the other thread but
: not here. Did you not realize that I've
: finally finished it? LOL
: --Previous Message--
: I knew it would take awhile, but I finished
: last night. I enjoyed it, but my initial
: impression is that it is the least of the
: four Barsetshire novels that I've read,
: principally because no one has an
: interesting ethical dilemma. Lucy's issue
: seems to be pride. She will not endure the
: scorn of others for the sake of her love.
: Lady Lufton's issue is that it seems as
: though her son is cavorting with the hired
: help, since she sees her local parson as a
: member of her estate staff.
: And that's the Marriage Plot, the more
: interesting one. Mark's foolish desire to
: be accepted by the "cool kids"
: (it really does remind me of high school)
: leads him into deep financial difficulties
: and disgrace. The moral seems to be a Nancy
: Reaganish, "Just say no." And the
: political chapters were completely boring.
: I could not even keep straight whether the
: whigs were "gods" or
: "giants," and none of it seemed to
: matter much.
: On a brighter note, I was happy to see so
: many of the characters from earlier novels
: featured in this one. (The lack of them was
: a bit of a disappointment in Doctor Thorne.)
: Miss Dunstable (excuse me, Mrs. Thorne) is
: truly a treasure. She is a creation that
: almost ranks with the matchless Signora
: What did you think, Guillermo?
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