Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Rector and The doctor's family (Virago…

The Rector and The doctor's family (Virago Modern Classics) (original 1863; edition 1986)

by Mrs Oliphant

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
140485,666 (3.41)43
Title:The Rector and The doctor's family (Virago Modern Classics)
Authors:Mrs Oliphant
Info:London: Virago, 1986. xvi, 192 p. ; 20 cm.
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, 19th century, women, Britain, Virago, VMC

Work details

The Rector and The Doctor's Family by Margaret Oliphant (1863)

Recently added byprivate library, ShyPageSniffer, alexdaw, NanaCC, Ygraine, Bluecalshar



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 43 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
The Rector and The Doctor's Family represent the first two parts of Victorian author Margaret Oliphant's Chronicles of Carlingford. At 35 pages, The Rector, is more like a short story, relating the experience of a clergyman who assumes his first parish role after several years in academia. Needless to say, pastoral care is very different from studying arcane elements of theology. In The Doctor's Family, Dr. Edward Rider's loathsome and slovenly brother Fred turns up unannounced after a long absence in Australia. His wife, children and sister-in-law eventually catch up with Fred and they move into lodgings in Carlingford. Dr. Rider is smitten by the sister-in-law, Nettie, but her sense of obligation to Fred's family stands in the way of their relationship.

These Victorian novels are similar to Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire in their portrayal of provincial life during the period. They are feel-good novels, but less satirical than Trollope, so while they were enjoyable they didn't pack the same punch. I'll still read further books in this series, since they serve as an antidote to heavier stuff. ( )
  lauralkeet | Jan 4, 2014 |
These days of course a series is a very popular thing, both with readers and booksellers. A series of books of course are by no means a new thing. Anthony Trollope’s Barsetshire chronicles for example have delighted readers for many a long year. Less well known perhaps though from a similar era, are the Chronicles of Carlingford by Mrs (Margaret) Oliphant. Written in the 1860’s they then spent many years out of print. The Rector (a short story) and The Doctor’s Family a short novel– were published together by Virago Modern Classics and are the first two stories in the series. The books are now best obtained either on Kindle or in second hand VMC’s – I have three of the next four books in the series (2 VMC’s and a penguin classic) and hope it will be as easy to pick up number 5, books 2, 3 and 4 are fairly chunky, this delightful little book serving as something of an introduction to Carlingford – much in the same way as The Warden does with Barsetshire.
The Rector of the opening story is Mr Proctor – a middle aged clergyman who having spent the previous fifteen years cloistered happily away at All Souls, now takes up the living in Carlingford, in part to provide a comfortable home for his ageing mother. Mr Proctor is somewhat unused to the world is certainly unprepared for the blue ribboned prettiness of Miss Lucy Wodehouse.
“The Rector was not vain – he did not think himself an Adonis; he did not understand anything about the matter, which indeed was beneath the consideration of a Fellow of All-Souls. But have not women been incomprehensible since ever there was in this world a pen with sufficient command of words to call them so? And is it not certain that, whether it may to their advantage or disadvantage, every soul of them is plotting to marry somebody?”
In ‘The Doctor’s Family’ we meet the young Doctor Edward Rider, a bachelor who lives in the newer part of Carlingford, with a blue plaque outside his door bearing the legend M.R.C.S he ministers to those afraid of the word physician. It is Dr Marjoribanks in the older part of the town who has the practice Dr Rider coverts. However Edward’s elder and dissolute brother Fred has arrived back from Australia unexpectedly taking up idle residence in Edward’s house. Edward is incensed by his brother’s idle selfishness, and yet is little expecting to be faced by his brother’s wife Susan, three children and sister-in-law Nettie, arrived from the colonies to seek him out. Nettie is a small but determined young woman, she manages her family completely as Fred’s wife is as lazy and useless as he is himself. Only Nettie is able to manage the children, and it is only Nettie who has any money on which the family can live. Nettie secures the family some lodgings and her sister and brother-in-law much to Edward Riders disgust are happy to live upon her goodness and be managed absolutely by her. Dr Rider’s feeling towards Nettie inevitable lean towards romance and he is appalled that Nettie should be quite so content to sacrifice herself to others.
“Edward Rider stared at his brother, speechless with rage and indignation. He could have rushed upon that listless figure, and startled the life half out of the nerveless slovenly frame. The state of mingled resentment, disappointment, and disgust he was in, made every particular of this aggravating scene tell more emphatically. To see that heavy vapour obscuring those walls which breathed of Nettie – to think of this one little centre of her life, which always hitherto had borne in some degree the impress of her womanly image, so polluted and vulgarised, overpowered the young man’s patience. Yet perhaps he of all men in the world had least right to interfere.”
I absolutely loved this book. I hope it doesn’t spoil it for future readers to say that the ending is of course very satisfactory. Readers today may like to think ourselves oh so more sophisticated than in the 1860’s – but really? don’t we all rather like a happy ending? I am already a fan of Carlingford, and hope I find the next much fatter instalments of the series just as charming and readable.

The Chronicles of Carlingford comprise:

The Rector and The Doctor’s Family
Salem Chapel
The Perpetual Curate
Miss Marjoribanks
Phoebe Junior ( )
  Heaven-Ali | Dec 16, 2012 |
After reading the novel Hester by Mrs. Oliphant, I was more eager to give this book a try. Does anyone else find that the synopsis on the back cover of Virago books often don't do the stories justice? I frequently have the experience of trying out a new Virago with low expectations, and being pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the story. I'm not complaining, though: it's a rather nice phenomenon, and so much better than having disappointed high expectations. The only down side is that I might put off reading something that I would greatly enjoy. It's a good thing I have a compulsive nature that goads me to read every new book I buy.

This novel is actually two stories. First, The Rector, a very short piece about the new rector, just arrived in Calingford. He is more inclined to research and books than real life, and finds himself singularly unlearned where it counts the most. The second story, The Doctor's Family, occupies most of the book. The main character, the doctor, operates practice for the middle classes of Carlingford. His brother, Fred, moved in with him before the story opens, and torments his brother with his slovenly and dissipated lifestyle. Dr. Rider is surprised to have Fred taken off his hands by Fred's wife, unknown before her sudden arrival with three children and her sister, Nettie. Nettie, it soon is understood, was the driving force behind their move from Australia to try and track down Susan's reprobate husband, and she soon takes Fred under wing, along with the rest of the family, and moves them to a small cottage. Dr. Rider realizes that he misses Fred, not for his sake, but because his presence now includes Nettie's presence. The stormy romance between the doctor and Nettie encounters many obstacles and reversals before coming to its final resolution.

I enjoyed both stories. Their virtue lies in portraying small town life in all its facets, the grandeur and the pettiness, the heart ache, the love, the mundane details of life that cover huge upheavals in the soul. At times Mrs. Oliphant's rhetoric was long winded, but compared to the rambling paragraphs in Hester, you could call these stories concise. They do lack real literary weight - no extended metaphors, meanings playing at out multiple levels, epiphanies or symbolic play - but they were charming, and sweet, and they made me interested in reading more of the Chronicles of Carlingford. ( )
1 vote nmhale | Jul 25, 2011 |
The back of the book suggests this is a book for lovers of Austen, Eliot and Trollope, but Oliphant has neither the wit of Austen nor the depth of Eliot. As an author, Mrs Oliphant is clearly her own woman, but that said, these two stories did bring Trollope's Barsetshire Chronicles and Gaskell's Cranford to mind. I believe this is the first book in Oliphant's 'Carlingford Chronicles', and, as the title suggests, features a story of the new rector come to town, and another of the young doctor's family - clearly one of the 19th century's most dysfunctional families. Although I found the mental laborings (gerbil wheels) of some of the characters amazingly tedious at times, the stories were enjoyable enough. ( )
  avaland | Nov 25, 2008 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
It is natural to suppose that the arrival of the new Rector was a rather exciting event for Carlingford. (The Rector)
Young Dr Rider lived in the new quarter of Carlingford: had he aimed at a reputation in society he could not possibly have done a more foolish thing; but such was not his leading motive. (The Doctor's Family)
In the winter of 1860-1 Mrs Margaret Oliphant, a penniless, undaunted little Scottish "scribbling woman" called at the office of the brothers Blackwood. (Introduction)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
"She watched him as women often do watch men... The incomprehensibleness of women is an old theory, but what is that to the curious wondering observation with which wives, mothers and sisters watch the other unreasoning animal..!" These two short novels raise the curtain on an entrancing new world for all who love Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Trollope's "Barsetshire Chronicles". The cast ranges from tradesmen to aristocracy and clergy... The Rector opens as Carlingford awaits the arrival of their new rector. Will he be high church or low? And - for there are numerous unmarried ladies in Carlingsford - will he be a bachelor? After fifteen years at All Souls the Rector fancies himself immune to womanhood: he is yet to encounter the blue ribbons and dimples of Miss Lucy Wodehouse. The Doctor's Family introduces us to the newly built quarter of Carlingford where young Dr Rider seeks his living. Already burdened by his improvident brother's return from Australia, he is appalled when his brother's family and sister-in-law follow him to Carlingford. But the susceptible doctor is yet to discover Nettie's attractions - and her indomitable Australian will.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140161511, Paperback)

This Elibron Classics book is a facsimile reprint of a 1870 edition by Bernhard Tauchnitz, Leipzig.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
13 wanted1 free
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.41)
1 1
3 11
3.5 3
4 6
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 103,264,405 books! | Top bar: Always visible