Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book, 25 Sep 2009
This review is from: The Small House at Allington (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
All of the reviews on this book are right - and yet they are wrong! For me, the central character is Adolphus Crosbie, a man with whom everyone must identify. Crosbie is a man who sees the right course and acknowledges it, but cannot stop himself from following the wrong one. Who cannot understand and sympathise with this? He finds something right, and true, which would make his life better, and help him to live his life better, but ultimately cannot resist the false glamour of an aristocratic marriage - even while he knows deep down that he despises the woman he is marrying and the things for which she stands. The passage after the wedding when he finds himself alone in the train compartment with Lady Alexandrina communicates the awful, empty, cold feeling that comes with acknowledging a great mistake like nothing I have ever read before or since.
Of course Lily Dale must not be forgotten, and she is indeed more than a symbol of simplicity and truthfulness. She reminds us that people make their own experience of love - it is not a "one size fits all" affair, and asks us the question about whether for some people love can only come once.
And of course being Trollope, along the way there are a variety of well fleshed out and engaging other characters (Earl de Guest is a particularly endearing one and Trollope saunters through himself, disguised as Johnny Eames), a few guest turns from old friends (Mr Harding stands as a moral fingerpost to Crosbie as he crosses the line between right (Allington) and wrong (Courcy Castle), and Lady Dumbello enjoys a quasi flirtation with a future hero, Mr Palliser), and lyrical descriptions of the beauties of the scenery.
Every page offers its pleasures and the book is a great joy. Finally, if you read it and like it, do try to get hold of a version with the original illustrations - by Millais- which are simply lovely.
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