The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope

Book Cover

Every time I finish a book by Anthony Trollope I have mixed feelings. Like Dickens he writes of Victorian times, like Dickens the man is wordy, unlike Dickens he is highly readable (not that Dickens isn’t but Trollope has a much more down to earth style). And, like when I finish Dickens I feel that I have completed a Herculean task, but am looking forward to the next time we meet.
Here we are with the 5th book in his Barsetshire Chronicles and he takes us into the world of how the upper classes of society work in England when it comes to love, courtship, etc. I must admit, Trollope has given us a host of unlikeable characters led by a few selfish sisters who just exude a high and mighty attitude and totally unbelievable actions and reactions. This book revolved primarily around the people who live in the small house at Allington and are the sister-in-law and nieces of the squire who owns the land. Everyone we come in contact with loves these young ladies (ages 19 & 21) and many want to marry them. One cousin (male), wants to marry his other cousin (Bell – female) and she turns him down. A friend of the male cousin proposes to the younger sister (Jill) and then she accepts, but after that he now has reservations as to how this will crimp his style in London because he is not rich. He quickly leaves and visits some aristocratic family in another area and within days he proposes to Lady Alexandrina and she accepts – yep, Mr. Crosbie is now engaged to two women. So we have this situation going on, all the while family friend Johnny Eames (he who is called Hobbledehooded throughout) loves Jill and keeps asking for her hand in marriage and she keeps refusing even after her 2-week engagement ended.
Lots to write about for all these characters and Trollope is never one to skimp on words! It is both a fascinating, as well as frustrating book for me in that everyone really is unhappy until the very end when 2 of the characters seem to have found happiness. One can only wonder, that if Trollope had todays computers how much he could write! The man can spin a tale and while this is not my favorite book in the series, it is still a quality effort that is worthy of the time and patience it takes to finish the book.

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