The "Chronicles of Barsetshire" is a series of six novels by the English author Anthony Trollope, set in the fictitious cathedral town of Barchester. They concern the dealings of the clergy, and the politics that go on behind the scenes.
The novels in the series are ;
The Warden :
This first book in the Barchester series introduces us to Septimus Harding, a beloved clergyman at Barchester Cathedral who also serves as the Warden of Hiram's Hospital, a nursing home/almshouse facility for twelve elderly men. The support for both the Warden's position as well as the twelve men in the almshouse is provided for from a legacy left to the Church centuries ago.
As the story opens, questions are being raised about town that the Warden has been receiving a disproportionately high amount of the income, while the men living in the hospital are receiving a pittance. A young surgeon and local firebrand, John Bold, is enlisted by some of the townspeople to head an investigation into the matter. Factions arise between those wishing to maintain the status quo and those who want the Church to do something to fix the financial abuses in its system.
The story is about corruption in the Anglican Church. It is based actual events. The author manages to put human faces on the corruption in the Church and the judiciary.
Barchester Towers :
Barchester Towers the greatest book ever written by Trollope is a delightfully humorous followup to "The Warden"
This second installment opens a lot of changes have occurred in Barchester and a new Bishop has been appointed for the town. But as it turns out, the henpecked Dr. Proudie is Bishop in name only. The real power behind the position has yet to be determined, but suffice it to say it will be a fight to the finish. In one corner is Dr. Proudie's confidante, advisor and right-hand man, the slimy conniving Rev. Mr. Obadiah Slope and in the other corner is the Bishop's domineering and outspoken wife, Mrs. Proudie. Both want to have the new Bishop under their thumb and the tricks and ploys they use to outwit each other provide for many of the wonderfully funny laugh-out-loud moments in the story. And sitting on the sidelines is the Archdeacon, who despises both and will do everything he can to thwart the two of them as they battle for the Bishop's authority.
Barchester Towers is a highly entertaining novel and the new characters and storylines that Anthony Trollope introduces here make this book an immensely fun page turner. There are lots of laughs here amid the plotting and the evil manipulations and by the end of the novel happiness and contentment will once more be the order of the day in Barchester.
Doctor Thorne :
Doctor Thorne is the third novel in the "Barsetshire" series. Dr Thorne ( A member of the Wilfred Thorne family introduced in Barchester Towers ) adopts his niece Mary, keeping secret her illegitimate birth as he introduces her to the best local social circles. There she meets and falls in love with Frank Gresham, heir to a vastly mortgaged estate; yet Frank is obliged to find a wealthy wife, jeopardizing Mary's happiness until fate extends an obliging hand. Where fiery passion fails, understated English virtues of patience, persistence and good humor could yet prevail in this most appealing of Trollope's comedies
Framley Parsonage :
The Fourth book in the Barsetshire Chronicles Framley Parsonage speaks so directly about a subject which is so integrated into our lives that it is hardly questioned in our society, namely ambition.
In this delightful mix of clerical, political and romantic intrigue, you will meet everyone from the alarmingly meddlesome bishop's wife, Mrs. Proudie, to the original dizzy blond, Griselda Grantly. All set in the green countryside and the bustling streets of London.
The story centers around the bright, popular and ambitious pastor, Mark Robarts , his charming wife, and his sister, Lucy who is a real Christian Woman.
The Small House at Allington :
The 5th book in the series is considered a favourite by many including Former British Prime Minister John Major.
The Small House at Allington concerns the Dale family, who live in the "Small House", a Dower house intended for the widowed mother (Dowager) of the owner of the estate. The landowner, in this instance, is the bachelor Squire of Allington, Christopher Dale. Dale's mother having died, he has allocated the Small House, rent free, to his widowed sister-in-law and her daughters Isabella ("Bell") and Lily.
Lily had been unsuccessfully wooed by John Eames, a junior clerk, while Bell is in love with the local doctor, James Crofts. The handsome and personable Adolphus Crosbie is introduced into the circle by the squire's nephew, Bernard Dale. Adolphus proposes to Lily, who accepts him; but later deserts her.
As with all Trollope's novels, there are many strands to the plot, and numerous minor characters. Plantagenet Palliser makes his first appearance, as he conducts a dalliance with Griselda Grantly, daughter of the Archdeacon introduced earlier in the Chronicles of Barsetshire.
The Last Chronicle of Barset :
In The Last Chronicle of Barset, Mr. Crawley, curate of Hogglestock, falls deeply into debt, bringing suffering to himself and his family. He is also accused of theft and must stand trial. Trollope's powerful portrait of this complex man-gloomy, brooding, and proud, moving relentlessly from one humiliation to another-achieves tragic dimensions.
This is the main plot, but there is a wealth of subplots. Among these is a continuation of various characters and resolution of plots carried over from the previous five novels.
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