Plot Summary: [from goodreads.com] “…Doctor Thorne is the compelling story in which rank, wealth, and personal feeling are pitted against one another. The squire of Greshamsbury has fallen on hard times, and it is incumbent on his son Frank to make a good marriage. But Frank loves the doctor’s niece, Mary Thorne, a girl with no money and mysterious parentage. He faces a terrible dilemma: should he save the estate, or marry the girl he loves? Mary, too, has to battle her feelings, knowing that marrying Frank would ruin his family and fly in the face of his mother’s opposition. Her pride is matched by that of her uncle, Dr Thorne, who has to decide whether to reveal a secret that would resolve Frank’s difficulty, or to uphold the innate merits of his own family heritage.”
My Book Review: I highly enjoyed the second in the Barchester Chronicles series (“Barchester Towers”) about ten years ago, and always meant to return there. But I wasn’t sure if the characters would be the same and I wasn’t ready for more of Mrs. Proudie! It turns out, this book isn’t connected very much to the first two Barchester books, except by way of general vicinity. It could easily be read as a standalone novel.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a book over 400 pages and I was afraid of getting stuck halfway through this one. However, I have been experiencing somewhat of a revival in my reading life and didn’t have a problem, though it took me longer to get through. Nevermind,– I was just proud of myself for completing it!
Fortunately, Mrs. Proudie stars in only a small cameo appearance. But we meet other interesting characters, and Lady Arabella and her sister Lady de Courcy take the place as “women who rule the roost”.
I was looking forward to some great Trollope quotes, but alas this story wasn’t as peppered with the same wit as BT. This story features a sweet love story between two young characters, but the suspense wasn’t enough to really hold fast my attention. I felt it dragged on a bit too long and I started to become antsy to finish and be on to another book.
Although, I have to say that it makes for wholesome reading, especially in a day and age when couples often prove fickle, take no thought for each other’s future or well being, and do not prove constant. I think readers will find a wonderful role model for young ladies (or anybody) in the character of Miss Mary Thorne. Virtues such as faithfulness, sacrifice, and genuine love never go out of style.
I cannot wait to watch the Julian Fellowes’ new film version of the book! Has anyone watched it yet and what were your thoughts?
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