Sunday, January 25, 2009

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope - 12/81

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope, new author category

The death of the bishop of the fictional town of Barchester sets in motion a pitched battle of religion in this book by Anthony Trollope. One one side is the new bishop, his domineering wife, and his ambitious new chaplain, Mr. Slope. On the other side is practically every other member of the clergy in the town, from the dean, the archbishop, and the entire chapter.

Entangled in the dispute is mild Mr. Harding, formerly warden of the Barchester hospital, providing bed and care for 12 worthy aged men. A scandal forces him from his position and threatens to split the town in half. Mr. Harding's widowed daughter Mrs. Bold is another focus of the story, this time providing the romance. With three eligible men seeking her hand - or is it her fortune - she remains oblivious until her hand is almost literally forced.

I was surprised to find myself really enjoying this book. The beginning was rather rough, started as it does with solely ecclesiastical matters. I know nothing at all of the organization of the Anglican church and was bewildered by the politics involved. But once the personalities behind the offices began to emerge, I was really hooked. The style is rather old-fashioned, but not so much that I couldn't read it quickly. Highly recommended - lots of fun.

8/10 stars

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