Friday, May 01, 2015
Posted by JaneGS
Well, I finally finished Framley Parsonage, fourth novel in the Anthony Trollope Barsetshire series. I've been reading it all month, and I chose April to read it in because April 24 was the bicentennial of Trollope's birth. I actually liked it very much until the ending. My problem is that I found the final 20 pages to be unrelentingly tedious.
Trollope resolved the main story thread, that of Mark Robarts' financial difficulties and the romance between Lucy Robarts and Lord Ludovic, very nicely in chapter 46, "Lady Lofton's Request," but then he went on with two more seemingly endless chapters, neatly tying off and tucking in all the other loose story threads. I think the other threads could've been dealt with in two pages, and if so, I would have come away from the book satisfied and happy. As it is, all I can remember is how desperately boring I found the final stage of the book.
Perhaps I am more of a modern reader than I think I am, but I tend to like stories that aren't totally put to bed at the end. And, in a series like this, the stories don't need to be completely resolved because we're presumably going to encounter some of the characters again in the subsequent novels.
Anyway, enough grousing.
I've blogged twice about the book before.
Characters you can relate to
I found myself thinking about George Eliot's Middlemarch a good deal whilst reading Framley Parsonage. Mark Robarts finds himself head over heels in debt, just as Dr. Lydgate does in Middlemarch. The way they get into debt is much different and how their wives react couldn't be more different, but the moral and ethical dilemmas that both men face were similar.
I also couldn't help thinking about Gaskell's My Lady Ludlow when I read about Lady Lofton, and I kept on picturing Francesca Annis as she appeared as Lady Ludlow in the Cranford BBC series.
I recently heard that Julian Fellowes, who has blessed us with Downton Abbey, is going to be doing an adaptation of Dr. Thorne--the third novel in the series--and I hope that he makes it a double feature, and continues Dr. Thorne's story through to its logical conclusion in Framley Parsonage. My dear Dr. Thorne doesn't shown up in Framley Parsonage until the last third, but I enjoy his character so much that I did a little happy dance when he did make it on the scene. I think there's quite enough material in these two books for at least a good six episodes of a mini-series. And I don't think Fellowes could resist bringing Lucy Robarts to the screen--the only problem would be that she would steal the show from Mary Thorne, Dr. Thorne's niece, and the heroine of Dr. Thorne.
My prediction for who could play Miss Dunstable, one of my favorite characters in both books, is the incomparable Emma Thompson.
Framley Parsonage is part of my 2015 Back to the Classics challenge, filling the 19th century category.