The fourth of the Chronicles of Barsetshire, Framley Parsonage is a tender novel filled with memorable characters, including many characters from The Warden, Barchester Towers, and Doctor Thorne.
The central characters here are a country vicar, Mark Robarts, his wife Fanny, and his sister Lucy.
Mark’s living has been conferred on him by Lady Lufton, whose son Ludovic has been Mark’s friend since childhood.
The vicar puts his future and his family in peril when he guarantees the debts of an unscrupulous MP.
The romantic hopes of Mark's sister Lucy are also dependent on the goodwill of Mark's offended patroness, mother of Lucy's suitor.
The vicar has acquired a taste for high living, which is to lead him into trouble soon after the novel, begins.
Not only does he enjoy hunting, and owns several fine horses, but he accepts an invitation to stay at the grand country house of an MP, Nathaniel Sowerby, although he knows that Sowerby is a compulsive gambler who has earlier had some unfortunate and dishonest dealings with Ludovic.
The whole thing backfires terribly, as Mark kindheartedly agrees to sign a bill for Sowerby and soon finds himself up to his ears in debt with the bailiffs at the door.
With its wit, charm, and trenchant criticism of upper-class hypocrisies, Framley Parsonage is part love story and part social commentary, memorable for its characters and portrait of Victorian England.
ANTHONY TROLLOPE (1815-1882) was a British novelist and journalist, one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. He wrote insightful novels on political, social, and gender issues, and on other topical matters. Among his masterworks are the Palliser novels, The Warden, Barchester Towers, and The Way We Live Now.
“I wish Trollope would go on writing Framley Parsonage forever. I don’t see any reason why it should ever come to an end…”