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on 24 September 2014
Only regret that I read Barchester Towers before reading The Warden. Didn't realise that Barchester Towers was so rooted in The Warden. I found the way Trollope talks directly to his readers mildly irritating, but know I am not the first to say this. it is, after all, of its time. Enjoy the human observation moral dilemmas and dry humour. Will certainly come back to Trollope in the future and wonder why we read so much Dickens and Jane Austen in school, which I still enjoy, when this was available too. Would recommend The Warden as a good starting point for anyone embarking on Trollope,
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on 28 March 2017
This was a funny story with easy to read language and kind characters. I will read more about barchester. I recommend it.
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on 3 March 2017
a wonderful and enlightening read
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on 29 March 2015
Well written and good plot.
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on 21 May 2014
I guess by now this book has been reviewed to death for more than a century but that probably is an indication of its class.
First of the Barchester Chronicles. Gentle tales of an earlier age. Some of the references to people and events of the time are now obscure and only history buffs will get the full benefit, but they don't detract from the read and don't occur too frequently. The religious beliefs, politics and class structure of the age are generally known or can be guessed at.
Naturally, many younger readers will find this more difficult and will feel the lack of violent action, but here the conflict is less physical but no less deeply felt. Trollope paints a picture easy to see in the mind's eye and his characters, even though they come from a very different era, live for the reader.
All six of the Chronicles can be downloaded free and here the Kindle comes into its own. With a few clicks the dictionary can explain the odd obscure word Trollope uses.
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on 7 December 2012
It was a pleasure to read this book (a Book Group choice) after the grind of my previous one, an American crime thriller. It has a calm and poise which have not dated over the last 160 years. It also provides an interesting historical backdrop to a time of great change in English life and not only church life.

Inevitably there is some flowery nineteenth century prose, but this if anything adds to the book's charm. And you pick up interesting snippets of life in the 1850s, for example when the Warden visits London. The role of the press, specifically The Jupiter (aka Thunderer) with its hostility to the Church of England, is also interesting, particularly considering that it is based on The Times.

Also the book tells a good, gripping story, and a poignant one at that. I would not go so far as to call it a morality tale, but it is certainly a cautionary one. But the ending is not altogether unhappy.
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on 7 February 2014
Much was indefensible about old England, many old institutions were corrupt like the House of Lords, the public schools, the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, the Wardenship at Barchester - and yet at an important level many of them worked. This was the problem Edmund Burke dramatised at the time of the French Revolution. Reason demanded that ancient privilege be swept away; but experience suggested that much practical good would disappear with it. How, in an Age of Reform like Trollope's, was a balance to be found?

This seemingly quaint and dust-covered novel raises issues still important in the 21st century.

Parts are moving, dramatic and most beautifully written. Other parts are rhetorical and windbaggish, for Trollope is an infuriatingly uneven writer. How little effort it would have taken him to reread, edit and turn it into a first rank novel throughout!
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on 10 April 2015
this was (to my shame) first ever Trollope book. Found it a very mixed bag.

He writes beautifully and with quite a lot of sly dry humour .

His portrait of the actual Warden is an affectionate portrait of a bit of an old buffer who gets in a terrible tizz when the sp[otlight is shone too fiercely on him and is basically good at heart.

All this is positive but the negative is that there are enormously lengthy diatribes about the power of the press which are might be seential to drive home a messge but disrupt the flow of the narrative substantially. Sharper and so moreeffective, are the riticisms of the Church and it's representatives on earth.

Will certainly now go on to read the next in the series after a little break to get my breath back as there is a lot to tink about here.

But , set
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on 15 April 2013
My first taste of Trollope and absolutely bowled over with it. I read the first two novels of the Barchester Chronicles before deciding to take a break. After Dickens it's an absolute tonic, if only for the wonderfully drawn female characters, so lacking in the big D's novels. And what a style - so beautifully written in an almost effortless way. Stand by for a panoramic exploration of a C19th ecclesiastical world you never knew existed, and it's certainly opened my eyes to the machinations of the clergy. But, you know what, I also loved his gentle assertion throughout that morals and kindness DO matter and if I had a picture of the mild hero, precentor Septimus Harding, he'd definitely be hanging on my wall. Why isn't anyone called Septimus or Obediah anymore by the way?
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on 21 December 2016
The novel is marvellous. Although written in the 19th century, it turns out to be all about Brexit. There is a problem with an institution which no longer seems to be working for its original purpose. There is an ardent reformer, who sees no need to waste time in putting the world to rights. There is a referendum of sorts - people against toffs, and the vote goes 92% to 8% for the people. The press gets involved, and contributes harsh words, which undermines the morale of the establishment. There is much anger and heart-searchding. There is recourse to Law. Undedrlying it all is money - who controls it, who spends it, and on whom. I recommend this novel wholeheartedly. The readers must judge for themselves whether or not they think it has a happy ending.

But I rate it horrible because Amazon sent me a cheap, in-house edition. The pages are large, the print is small, so the lines are long, and this
makes for difficult reading. There is no introduction or critical comment, no biography of the author. Please read The Warden, it is a book for our times, but go to a book shop and buy a professionally published edition.
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