Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope

I have begun reading The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope, book five of the Palliser series. The series consists of the following:

Can You Forgive Her (1864)
Phineas Finn (1869)
The Eustace Diamonds (1873)
Phineas Redux (1874)
The Prime Minister (1876)
The Duke's Children (1879)

This is my second reading, although it has been so many years since I first read it that it is almost like reading it for the first time. I downloaded the epub version from Google Books (three separate volumes) and am reading it on my Sony PRS 505.

As an aside, I just bought a little clip on light to make reading on the Sony easier. It works like a charm and I am very glad I bought it.

Trollope is a master at getting the reader to care about his characters from the very first page of the novel, and he does that in The Prime Minister by introducing us to Emily Wharton, who has fallen in love with Ferdinand Lopez. Emily's father is a widower and has not a clue about how to parent his daughter. He has left much of her upbringing to his wife's sister, Mrs. Roby, who is half in love with Lopez herself. In fact, this plot line in the book reminds me very much of Washington Square by Henry James (first published in 1880, some four years after The Prime Minister). Mr. Wharton's stated objections to Lopez as a son-in-law are that he is not an Englishman (his father was Portuguese); and no one knows anything about his background. Mr. Wharton intuitively distrusts Lopez and is greatly distressed by Emily's obvious feelings for Lopez. Mr. Wharton even considers closing his law practice in London in order to take Emily abroad in an effort to break the hold Lopez seems to have on Emily. Unlike Dr. Sloper in Washington Square, Mr. Wharton esteems his daughter and considers letting her marry Lopez. The reader, privy to some insight into Lopez's motives, hopes Mr. Wharton holds out and prevents the marriage.

A great read!

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