By coincidence, before reading "The Small House...", I read "Sense and Sensibility", by Jane Austen. Then I found uncanny similarities between both books, basically the difference in character between the two sets of sisters. If, in S&S, Elinor represents "sense" (which serves her best), and Marianne represents "sensiblity" (which causes her a lot of trouble, embarrassment, and heartbreak, something very similar happens with Bell, whose sense renders her both rich and married to the man she deserves, while Lily's sensibility leaves her embarrassed, alone, and in delusional love to an underseving man, the same fate that seemed to have awaited Marianne.
The difference, of course, is that Austen gives in to a happy ending for Marianne, while Trollope avoids the temptation and leaves Lily alone and infatuated.
As for "Hard Times", I read it twice, first in Spanish when I was a boy, and then in English. I like it well enough, but certainly is not one of my favorite Dickens's novels. I have read all except "The Old Curiosity Shop", "Barnaby Rudge", and "Martin Chuzzlewit". I've found that all his novels are worth reading.
I will also read "The last Chronicle" beofre the end of the year, and I would certainly like to read the Palliser series.
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