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on 22 April 2018
Though all very learned by all accounts, with fairly liberal views regarding certain issues, the Barchester Clergy rein supreme from the outset, with decorative female appendages taking second place, except perhaps the Dragon known as Mrs Proudie, by name and nature, as her spouse, the Bishop can confirm. As in most of Trollopes novels, the Good the Bad and the Ugly all get a fair share of the story, and plenty of fine characterization ensures readers as to no doubt who is who. My personal favourite was the delicious one legged Seniora, who continued to woo and be wooed by all and sundry from the comfort of her sofa. Headstrong Eleanor nevertheless was the cat who got all of the surrounding cream seemingly, but chose the most noble, modest and self deprecating contender of them all. Good old Daddy though surpassed himself in various selfless gestures which endeared him even more to the local community.
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on 19 August 2017
Wonderfully constructed. Unlike Dickens, Trollope rarely runs to wordiness and his sharp, witty humour is a subtle critique of his age. The Church of England, established, hierarchical and a microcosm of Victorian society, is the backdrop for this tale of machievellian intrigue.
Religion is never allowed to interfere with the running of a well ordered church or influence the prejudices of the beautifully observed characters.
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on 20 December 2013
Barchester Towers is the second of Trollope's Barset novels (in all, there are six in the series). As the novel opens, in July 185-, the question being asked in the cathedral city of Barchester is who will be the new Bishop? The answer is Dr. Proudie, the hen-pecked husband of Mrs. Proudie. With the installation of the new Bishop, the scene is set for a battle as to who will control ecclesiatical affairs in the diocese: will it be Mrs. Proudie or the ambitious chaplain Mr. Slope?

In parallel with the manouevres over the various appointments for positions in the church runs a contest for the hand of Eleanor Bold, a young widow with several suitors, including Mr. Slope.

Barchester Towers is more than twice the length of first volume in the sequence (in this audio version, it extends over 19 hours) and the leisurely development of the story is perhaps not to modern taste. There are wonderful scenes and passages of delightful wit, but also longueurs and stretches in which the forward motion of the plot is barely perceptible. Simply due to its length, I enjoyed it rather less than the first of the series.

I listened to the recording of Barchester Towers made by Simon Vance for Blackstone Audio in 2006. He has a pleasant voice, but the recording level is rather uneven: the effect is of Mr. Vance stepping in and out of a partially sound-proof room as he reads.
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on 11 October 2016
When I read Doctor Thorne for the first time I was so much impressed by the novel and the episodes contained therein that I immediately ordered for four other volumes of Antony Trollope. I just now completed reading the barchester towers novel. My conclusion is that Trollopee is a master story teller basing his plots purely on the common occurrences of daily life in a rural set up. The last few chapters indicate that Trollope was hurrying up fast to close the novel even though opportunities were there to expand the novel for a few more pages to accommodate the rapidly approaching climax. As admitted by him Longmans had not permitted him to allow the novel to grow into enormous size thereby restricting his ardour and imagination.

A nice and enjoyable read
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on 13 May 2017
A wonderful, though wordy and old fashioned book. It should be remembered that this book was written at a time when to read a novel was most of the entertainment that was available. Accordingly that is probably why it has such a lot of dialogue and explanation in it. Notwithstanding that I found it to be a truly uplifting book, full of all the human feelings and human vagaries that existed then and now.
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on 26 December 2014
This is one of Trollop's best. The characterisation of the Archdeacon and the ineffectual hen-pecked Bishop Proudie are masterly, each with a wife with views and influence, but with very different approaches and very different spouses. There is barely a character there who is not delineated with a precision that would put a modern comic to shame. Yes, it was a written a long time ago and the language is that of a previous century, but don't let that put you off - these people are real and there is nothing new in human nature. There are plenty of slimy Mr Slopes crawling grubbily around the corridors of Westminster today just as there was in the ecclesiastic powerhouse of Barchester then and Tom Towers is surely alive and well in Fleet Street.
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on 11 June 2014
Was given the first of the Barsetshire Chronicles, The Warden, recently and enjoyed so followed up with Barchester Towers, the second in the series, and enjoyed it even more.

The external circumstances and social environment may change but human nature, over the ages, does not. Their machinations, misunderstandings and misconceptions whether trying to further their own ambitions, thwart those of others, seeking to achieve their own way or simply trying to do the right thing are as they always have been and always will be. Trollope captures this perfectly and with humour and the satisfactory resolution to the story is brought about, as happens in real life, despite rather than because of the efforts of the protagonists.

An excellent book and, despite its age, easy to read.
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on 19 October 2014
I'm really enjoying both reading & listening to Trollope on the kindle unlimited 30 day trial. The book itself in the kindle edition was free and for the duration of the trial, so is access to the audiobook. I've listened to Timothy West reading Trollopes 'The Warden,' 'Barchester Towers' & 'Can you Forgive her' this way over the few weeks and have obtained much enjoyment from doing so. In my opinion, Timothy reads them very well indeed, with excellent characterisation and a voice that doesn't irritate, no matter how long you listen to it.
In the past, I've enjoyed the TV adaptations of several of Trollope's novels & I think that that aided me in deriving even more enjoyment from the books themselves, particularly so in the case of The Warden & Barchester Chronicles...& I'm looking-forward to viewing my dvds again soon, after having had access to the full text of the novels. That said, both need to be appreciated separately. I loved the adaptations but my appreciation of the novelist's achievement is much increased by reading/listening to the full text. Indeed, the last weeks' experience has increased my appreciation of Trollope tremendously....he's a wonderful novelist. His is a critical eye but 'critical' in the best sense of the word. He understands the complexities of the human condition and with a comprehension that is sympathetic to the weakness and foibles of our human nature. And his characterisations are not without humour too, many times I've laughed out loud or nodded in appreciation at his perspicacity. There are many excellent reviews on this website that offer a more detailed appreciation of the novelists skills than I am able to do here. This review is just to offer my recommendation to others that they might consider trying the books/audiobooks themselves as I have done...& hopefully, to derive a lot of pleasure from the experience.
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on 7 May 2017
It is a great book. I love all the characters especially the warden and the archdeacon. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.
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on 7 May 2018
I have given this book four stars because whilst being interesting in its content is not easy to read due to the style and use of words rarely seen in modern literature. I recommend it to those who wish an insight into the machinations that might occur in cathedral life.
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