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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unjustly neglected Trollope novel--one of his best!
Orley Farm is one of Trollope's best "stand alone" novels, i.e., not one of the Barsetshire or Palliser series. It tells the story of a woman accused of forging a will to give her son the property of Orley Farm. Lady Mason, the accused forger, stands among Trollope's best conceived characters; headstrong, capable of independent thought, yet feminine and...
Published on 11 Dec. 2001

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3.0 out of 5 stars Orley Farm for John Orley
Can't comment on this as bought it for my wife. She hasn't divorced me so should be OK
Published 3 months ago by John Orley


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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unjustly neglected Trollope novel--one of his best!, 11 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
Orley Farm is one of Trollope's best "stand alone" novels, i.e., not one of the Barsetshire or Palliser series. It tells the story of a woman accused of forging a will to give her son the property of Orley Farm. Lady Mason, the accused forger, stands among Trollope's best conceived characters; headstrong, capable of independent thought, yet feminine and essentially obedient to social convention, she rivals Jane Eyre for a character revealing an author's originality and insightfulness. There is also a host of entertaining minor characters: the bullying Newgate lawyer Chaffanbrass; the conniving Sophia Furnival; the comical commercial salesmen Moulder and Kantwise; etc., etc. And the dignified Sir Peregrine Orme, in his devotion to Lady Mason, makes you believe that one can love all the more strongly with age. For an entertaining, thoughtful (and long--over 800 pages) Victorian read, OF is perfect, and David Skilton's introduction is perceptive and helpful.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, a vintage Trollope, 5 Nov. 2010
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Didier (Ghent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orley Farm (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
If you have read anything by Anthony Trollope, chances are it was one of the Barsetshire- or Palliser-novels. Maybe you even became addicted to Trollope's unique style? Such was definitely the case with me, and I read, with great pleasure, the entire Barsetshire- and Palliser-series. All of these novels are so good that, perversely, I afterwards sort of overlooked the fact that Trollope had written plenty of novels besides these. I recently decided to remedy this starting with 'Orley Farm' and now, having concluded this lovely book, I am very glad I did.

The plot of 'Orley Farm' in itself is simple enough: 20 years before the action of the novel is set, Lady Mason's husband died and in his will left part of his inheritance (to wit, the property of Orley Farm) to her son, leaving the rest to his son by an earlier marriage. At the time however, doubts were raised by Lady Mason's stepson about the validity of the will, but the ensuing court case ruled in favour of Lady Mason and ever since she has lived with her son Lucius Mason at Orley Farm. But now, a lawyer with a grievance against Lady Mason claims to have unearthed new evidence proving that at the time she forged the will.

Out of this simple set-up Trollope conjures up a fascinating story about guilt, ethics and the English judicial system, with as usual with Trollope, and luckily so!, a love-interest as well (with the elderly Sir Peregrine Orme falling in love with Lady Mason). True to what I had come to expect based on the Barsetshire- and Palliser-novels, Trollope tells his tale with great detail and an astonishing intuitive feel for people's thoughts and emotions. Although it's eminently clear where Trollope's own sympathies lie, he makes the 'bad guys' as believable (and human) as Lady Mason and her circle of friends. Things are never clear-cut or simple in Trollope's fiction, and I guess it's precisely for that very reason I adore his novels so much. After all, is it not so in real life as well?

To my mind, if you are new to Trollope, this is as good a place to start as any, and if conversely you have already read (devoured?) the Barsetshire- and/or Palliser-novels, rest assured that this book will please you as much. According to Trollope in his autobiography 'Orley Farm' is one of his best novels, and I for one heartily agree.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 13 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Orley Farm (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Orley Farm tells the story of Lady Mason and a contested will by which her son inherited a desirable property. Twenty years later, and after some furtive digging by the rather bitter Mr Dockwrath who bears Lady Mason and her son Lucius a grudge the details surrounding the signing and validity of the will are once again called into question. The aggrieved parties press for a new trial and the full weight of the law lumbers into ponderous, dinosaur-like action. Lady Mason, once again finds herself about to stand trial but this time without her youthful vitality and wit to see her through.

Trollope clearly had a bit of an axe to grind with regard to the due processes of the law. He is not as vitriolic on the subject as Dickens had been in Bleak House but, as one can tell from the names he gives to one partcular firm of solicitors - Messrs Slow and Bideawhile - he was of the opinion that justice came a distant second to the legal arts of prevarication, making money and treating the law as a grand game. Whether innocent or guilty is not what matters to the legal combatants in the courtroom drama, it is being able to sway opinion, discard the incriminating and play upon the emotions of the jury that counts. An old gentleman like Sir Peregrine Orme, baronet, sees the English jury system as the pinacle of truth and justice but the shabby games played by the lawyers to defend the clearly guilty and persecute the obvioulsy innocent cause his entire faith in humanity to wobble. Trollope appears to be arguing throughout the novel that honesty and 'doing the right thing' should count for more when it comes to justice than the wit and guile of a clever lawyer.

As ever with Trollope there are several delightful subplots. Lady Mason's trial forms the main narrative but her friends and lawyers, and her enemies and their own legal teams each entangle themselves in love affairs, financial misadventures and the glorious pursuits of the landed gentry. With regard to the characters the women are particularly well served. Madeline Stavely, daughter of a judge, is an intelligent and charming English Rose who finds herself pursued by a good and honourable man whom she doesn't love; Sophia Furnival, a lawyer's daughter, is a delightfully coquettish young woman who is more than a match for the barristers and solicitors who make a play for her hand and Lady Mason herself is a woman of character brought low by the pressures of defending her name. Mrs Mason of Groby Park, meanwhile, is a slave to unnecessary cost-cutting: there is no piece of meat for the dinner table which cannot be cut into ever more invisible slithers in the name of sensible (i.e. insane) frugality. The scene in which she foists a set of wretched, unusable metal furniture onto the lady who gives her daughters music lessons while her husband looks on in appalled embarrassement is a comic masterpiece. Similar notable episodes in the novel include a dramatic fox hunt and a splendid Christmas party in which Miss Stavely and Miss Furnival play the role of ghosts, handing out sweets to the children while simultaneously flat-batting the amorous advances of their male admirers.

Orley Farm is a long novel (just over 800 pages) but it never drags. Even the scenes which can be regarded as padding such as those involving the salesman Mr Moulder - all sweating blubber and pompous bombast - are a delight and the main narrative of the trial itself contains moments of genuine high drama. It's a beautiful tale of what can happen when the 'morally right' action and the 'legally right' one clash head-on and it contains many notable scenes and characters who linger long in the mind. In short I can think of few more enjoyable novels with which to while away a series of long, dark winter evenings. Delightful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Orley Farm by Trollope, 28 Jan. 2012
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I'm a great fan of Anthony Trollope, although this is hardly one of his best works. It still has some wonderful set pieces. There's a particularly good account of a hunting accident. There's a touching father / daughter relationship between the judge and Madeline. The dialogue, as always with Trollope, is lively and convincing. Above all a great courtroom drama to end the novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., 28 Jun. 2014
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Another good Trollope tale - describes the position of women before the days of inequality, and how very mean people could be with regards to inheritance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Trollope, 9 Jun. 2014
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Susan Terry (Somerset, England) - See all my reviews
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In my opinion just the fact that it is by Anthony Trollope should be enough recommendation. Social history, humour and a compassionate kindness feature in all his books. He liked and understood women, they are rarely just submissive but have feisty characters within their society.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Orley Farm for John Orley, 18 Jan. 2015
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John Orley (UK) - See all my reviews
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Can't comment on this as bought it for my wife. She hasn't divorced me so should be OK
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4.0 out of 5 stars good book, 4 Jan. 2015
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good book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Feb. 2015
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good
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wordy, 30 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Orley Farm (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Good plot with many angles, and interesting social commentary but just too long! Modern editing would demand that this novel was at least a third shorter.
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Orley Farm (Oxford World's Classics)
Orley Farm (Oxford World's Classics) by Anthony Trollope (Paperback - 9 Oct. 2008)
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