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The small house at Allington, (The Chronicles of Barsetshire) Unknown Binding – 1904


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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Dodd, Mead & company (1904)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00089DZ1E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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OF COURSE there was a Great House at Allington. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By bookelephant on 25 Sep 2009
Format: 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Purple fox on 5 Sep 2006
Format: Paperback
Although this book could never be described as 'fast-paced', it's a wonderful book. Trollope's language is so simple, contemporary and beautiful. The characters are so human, and I found myself really sympathising, empathising, enjoying... and getting annoyed with them! The book is about relationships between people, kindness, bravery, hope and hopelessness, love and lovelessness.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 April 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This fifth novel in the Barsetshire chronicles has, as often with Trollope, an almost stupefyingly simple plot: Lily Dale is courted by the 'swell' Adolphus Crosbie who then, not one month after their engagement, drops her for the daughter of an earl. Lily is heartbroken but resolves she still loves Adolphus and therefore can accept no other man, even though a much worthier man soon presents himself in the person of John Eames.

In a nutshell, that's all there is to it. But, as also always seems the case with Trollope, out of this simple plot he weaves a beautiful tale that keeps you turning pages although nothing much really happens (definitely not by today's standards). How so? For starters, Trollope is a master at analyzing and describing the thoughts and emotions of his characters (most of them ordinary people like you and me), which makes them leap of the page like real-life people you know in the flesh and, often as not, you find yourself identifying with one or more of the main characters, wishing them well and hoping they'll succeed in their endeavours as if they were your own. In this case too, although you know from the start that nothing will come of it, you cannot help but hope that Lily will give up her stubborn behaviour and accept the man that truly loves her.

Secondly, altough in this case the main plot gives little room for mirth Trollope does introduce quite a lot of humour by means of the various subplots and secondary characters (the head-gardener Hopkins for instance, or earl De Guest). It's rarely the laugh-out-loud kind of humour (although there's a few hilarious scenes) but mostly rather subtle, which makes it none the less effective.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Jun 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Contrary to the synopsis given on this page this is actually the story of the nauseatingly perky Lily Dale who falls in love with the superficially glamorous Adolphus Crosbie, who proceeds to dump her unceremoniously in favour of the over-the-hill faded aristocratic de Courcy who he thinks will make his fortune (wrong). There is no sailor boy, or even ship, mentioned, as far as I can remember.
Other characters include the stupefyingly dull John Eames, who remains faithful to Lily despite her treating him like the village idiot, and the totally unmemorable Bella (Lily's sister), Bella's two suitors (one her cousin), and the most alarminly self-sacrificing widowed mother I have come across in Trollope.
Despite all this, however, I keep coming back to this book. There is about it a sort of fairytale mid-Victorian charm which completely offsets the total lack of charm of all of the central characters. This might also have something to do with its position towards the end of the marvellous Barchester Chronicles, the last (and next) of which is completely different and well worth a read even if you can't stand sickly heroines. There is a sickly heroine in the Last Chronicle of Barset but at least the girl has brains.
Trollope paints such a passive, traditional picture of his women that I'm surprised he wrote this book - normally he gives us women with a great deal of character. Many commentators have tried to persuade us that Lily has character, but frankly she never rises above schmaltz. One can only assume he was going through some marital conflict himself at the time...
One good thing about Lily, though, is that after her, Fanny Price in Mansfield Park (the book, not the ludicrous movie of the same name) seems like a feminist icon.
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