Framley Parsonage

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Framley Parsonage
by Anthony Trollope
This is the book that started the whole readalong. After reading and loving Jo Walton’s “Tooth and Claw” I found out that it’s a retelling of Framley Parsonage using dragons. The entire Chronicles of Barsetshire readalong was started because I was curious how the original novel compared to the dragon-filled version and I’m OCD, so obviously I had to read the first three books in the series before getting to this one.
There are two main plots in the book; the first revolves around the young impetuous clergyman, Mark Robarts and a shady financial decision. He guarantees a bill for an untrustworthy man, which puts his own future in jeopardy. The second plot regards his sister Lucy and the wealthy Lord Lufton who falls for her. Lufton’s mother is opposed to the marriage and Lucy feels that to accept the Lord without his mother’s approval would be wrong.
The strength of the novel lies in its characters’ sincere struggles. We feel for Lucy as she wrestles with her feelings. Our hearts break for Mark Robarts even though we know he made a stupid mistake. Trollope has built a fascinating world within the Barsetshire society and now four books into the series we recognize characters and remember their stories from previous books.
**A few of my favorite SPOILERY scenes:
When Fanny Robarts finds out about her husband’s financial ruin she is beyond kind and patient. She makes it clear to him that no matter what happens, she is on his side. He already feels ashamed and sick for what he’s done and nothing she could have said would have made him regret his actions more. Choosing to show him love and forgiveness in that situation was such a demonstration of strength and compassion. 
I was absolutely giddy over Doctor Thorne’s sweet romance with Martha Dunstable. They were not young, but with the help of his niece they both realized how happy they would be together. His honest-to-a-fault love letter was too funny. It’s never too late to find love. 
BOTTOM LINE: I so enjoyed this one, but I will say I couldn’t help comparing it to “Tooth and Claw” throughout the book. Both are great, but adding dragons to the mix adds a special layer of fun. I love that this novel has more depth and a few additional side plots that the retelling skipped. Mark Robarts character was particularly good, since in “Tooth and Claw” he becomes a straightforward villain. After Doctor Thorne I think this is my favorite of the series so far.


Lisa said...

I find it almost impossible to pick a single favorite Trollope, but this has to be in the top two or three, for all the reasons you mention. I am also a big fan of Dr. Thorne, one of the best fictional uncles ever. Reading Tooth and Claw made me want to read it again, and so does your post!

o said...

I've started it, but I got side-tracked by a Proust novel (was curious about it, didn't expect to love it so much, and it's about 700 / 800 pages so quite demanding!). After it I'll go back to it. Didn't quite manage to get into it, but you've given me hope!

Obviously I've skipped your spoiler bit - I'll return to this post when I've finished reading :)

Anonymous said...

I read the spoilers and now I'm REALLY excited to read it!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Lisa - Doctor Thorne is my favorite so far I think, but this one is a close second. I just love this series so far!

o - Side-tracked by Proust, I love it! You're going to inspire me to read him!

figandthistle - I'm so glad we stuck with it! The Warden was so slow, but these later ones remind me of Jane Austen's novels.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I think I might have to read Tooth and Claw by Walton! I read most of one Trollope novel when I was in grad school and I think I should give him another chance. All I remember was that the book was SO long (Eustace Diamonds). But Dragons! Those are exciting!

o said...

Melissa, just been hunting for some quotes about Jane Austen from Virginia Woolf and I came across this in her letters (to Hugh Walpole, 28th Feb 1932) -

I think the Small House at Allington perhaps the most perfect of English novels along with Jane Austen - I cant explain now why.

I must get on with Framley Parsonage so I can get to Small House :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Trish - I'm realizing he works really well on audio because his books are so long, but they're character driven, so they're easy to follow and get into.

O - Oh my goodness, I love that quote! I'm reading Small House now and so far I love the character of Lily Dale.

o said...

I need to catch up! Nearly finished Proust, will start FP next! :)