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Kept in the Dark by Anthony Trollope

Kept in the Dark (original 1882; edition 1997)

by Anthony Trollope, Derek Parker (Introduction), Kate Aldous (Illustrator), David Skilton (Editor)

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174668,238 (3.43)8
Title:Kept in the Dark
Authors:Anthony Trollope
Other authors:Derek Parker (Introduction), Kate Aldous (Illustrator), David Skilton (Editor)
Info:The Folio Society (1997), Edition: 1st, Hardcover with slipcase, xiii, 176p.
Collections:Your library, Folio Society
Tags:19th century, Acq07, British literature, Fiction, Folio Society, Read 2012, Trollope, Victorian

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Kept in the Dark by Anthony Trollope (1882)



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I'm inclined to agree with some other reviewers that it seems like "He Knew He Was Right" - lite. Or perhaps The Happy Version. Though it is hard to take quite seriously in this day and age the actual cause of the rift between Celia and George, it is actually a very good character study of both of them and enjoyable for that aspect. I particularly felt that George needed to be taken down a peg, even if Celia had lacked some moral courage to tell "her secret". However, I mostly found the comeuppance of Mis Altafiora more enjoyable.
  amyem58 | Apr 14, 2017 |
I've been intending on reading Trollope for quite some time, and this one won... well, it's short!
This edition is also a direct photostat from the original Victorian serial, which is aesthetically charming, but slightly annoying to read (two columns per page).
My opinion? Well, this is not Great Literature,regardless of the reviews out there that go on about Trollope's 'insight into humanity' in this work, blah, blah, blah. This was written as a serial, and it is very much a soap-opera-esque entertainment. It effectively keeps you on the edge of your seat, going "OMG! What will happen next? Will they reconcile? Can I just strangle her now? Or at least give her a good shake? Can I kick him in the seat of his pants?"
All the characters are bloody idiots, repressive Victorian society or no.
Yet they are compelling.
Our main character, Cecilia, dumps her fiance when she realizes the spark of romance just isn't there. To help her get over it, her mom takes her on a trip. While traveling, she meets a suitable man who's just been dumped by his fiancee. She feels like it would be trying to steal the show (and just awkward) to tell him the story of her prior relationship, so she doesn't. They become friends, and she realizes that this guy actually knows - and despises - her ex. Which makes it even more awkward to tell him about it. Then they get engaged... and married. How can she tell him she was engaged to this man he hates now? But it's impossible that he'll never find out: they move in the same social circles, after all - and Cecilia also has a frenemy who keeps threatening to tell.
Oh, the drama. (It's a lot more complicated; the above paragraph is vastly simplified.) It's not a wholly satisfying novel; Trollope wants to tie everything up neatly, but while Cecilia's dumbassery is something I could have a bit of sympathy for, her husband was really just a jerk who deserved some just desserts. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Remarkably short for a Trollope novel, it felt a bit like an undeveloped first draft or proposal. Cecelia gets engaged to Sir Francis, but becomes disenchanted with him and breaks off the engagement. She and her mother go abroad to get over this episode and there she meets George Western and marries him. For one reason and another she never gets round to telling him about her previous engagement and eventually the meddling Sir Francis spills the beans and George is devastated.

The first few chapters dealing with the period up to the breaking off of the first engagement are written in rather a superficial style, but then things settled down to unremitting misery for most of the rest of the novel. Many of the emotions expressed and positions taken by Mr and Mrs Western echoed those developed at greater length in "He Knew He Was Right". Miss Altifiorla (difficult name!) was a good character, but Sir Francis got more and more dastardly as the book went in. What was the wrong he wanted revenge on Mr Western for? Was it just the questioning of the gambling debt? I liked the roles of Sir Frnacis' sidekicks in speaking reason to him. I liked the explanation that Cecelia first does not tell George her story because it is so similar to his own that she doesn't want him to think she is mocking him - a very British sense of embarrassment!

I thought Trollope was interesting on the expectation a Victorian husband had that his wife should be pure and unsullied by any former attachments to anyone else. Also on whether a husband should admit to having been wrong and risk his authority. Things got wound up pretty promptly at the end - it seems as if Trollope were just going through the motions. ( )
  pgchuis | Nov 3, 2015 |
A young woman's reticence about an earlier engagement nearly ruins her marriage. Trollope excels at portraying otherwise good men whose stubborn suspicions and/or inability to forget the past doom their relationships. Many readers think of Victorian novels as simple couple meet, overcome obstacles and live happily ever after stories. This is not the case with Trollope.
  ritaer | Mar 11, 2015 |
Kept In the Dark, sort of "He Knew He Was Right-lite" is a Trollope novella for completists, i.e., not exactly one of his best efforts. Very repetitive to the point where I could skip an entire page and not miss anything. Endless hand-wringing over a trivial episode. Well, it was a paycheck, and that was what AT was looking for, I guess. ( )
  stringcat3 | Jul 7, 2008 |
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There came an episode in the life of Cecilia Holt which it is essential should first be told.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192827405, Paperback)

Written in 1882, Kept in the Dark is a compelling story of jealousy, obstinacy and marital estrangement. Strong-minded Cecelia Holt cannot bring herself to tell George Western of her previous engagement to Sir Francis Geraldine. When her husband learns the truth, their marriage seems to be headed for disaster. The story has a painful contemporary moral which would today raise troubling questions regarding the submission of wives to their husbands.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Kept in the Dark was published in 1882, the year of Trollope's death. Cecilia Holt is in search of a husband, and finds one but fails to tell him about a prior botched engagement to Sir Francis Geraldine. Much is made of this deception, but all ends in a happy reconciliation. As is characteristic in Trollope's novels, there's a marvelous sub-plot: the comic counterpoint of Cecilia's friend trying to snag Sir Francis.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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