Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope, 3/5
This serial novel’s slow development and sappy, rushed ending evince few of the qualities that made me love the first and second books in the Barchester series. There is plenty of potential in Framley Parsonage‘s several storylines, the most important of which portrays a vicar’s uncharacteristic pecuniary indiscretions and their aftermath. The reader is also given insight into the romancing of the vicar’s sister by the local lord (much to his mother’s horror), the unfortunate Mr. Sowerby’s self-inflicted decline into poverty, and, less interestingly, metaphorised commentary on the political machinations of the day. Fun characters from previous books, such as Barchester’s most eligible spinster–the fabulously wealthy and unromantic Martha Dunstable, Mr. and Mrs. Arabin, and the off-putting Grantly and Proudie families raise this novel above the previous one in my estimation. But, despite the introduction’s depiction of an astoundingly popular, respected work of literature, I felt that Framley Parsonage was pretty standard 19th-century fare that certainly diminished my excitement to finish the series.
[Why I read it: I enjoyed the first two books in the series (The Warden and Barchester Towers) so much that I’m determined to read the remaining four books.]