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Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope

Doctor Thorne (1858)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: Peter Reddick (Illustrator), Julian Symons (Introduction)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Chronicles of Barsetshire (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,251366,334 (4.08)6 / 260
  1. 30
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (wisewoman)
    wisewoman: Trollope has an Austenesque eye for his characters' motivations and inconsistencies, and his Mary Thorne and Austen's Elizabeth Bennett have much in common. Both are persecuted on the basis of low birth and lack of wealth by an older female relative of their love interest. Both novels are thoroughly enjoyable!… (more)
  2. 20
    Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (wisewoman)
    wisewoman: Trollope's Mary Thorne and Gaskell's Molly Gibson have much in common: both their father-figures are country doctors with connections to the local nobility, both fall in love with a man above them in station and wealth, both face undeserved public shame in their social circles, and both are sensible, intelligent heroines.… (more)
  3. 00
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (morryb)
    morryb: Both speak to the struggle of adopting a child and then letting them up later.
  4. 00
    Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens (morryb)
    morryb: Both tell of the struggle of adopting a child and letting go later on.

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Another delightful book in the Barsetshire Chronicles series. I love the gentle sarcasm of the stories and the wonderful names Trollope gives his characters: Dr. Fillgrave, publican Readypalm, Miss Gushing who became Mrs. Rantaway, and the attorneys Bideawhile and Slow. They remind me somewhat of books by Jane Austen (which I also adore). Pure enjoyment. ( )
  RebaRelishesReading | Feb 28, 2015 |
The story of illegitimate Mary Thorne, who is brought up by her uncle (Dr Thorne), and who falls in love with the son of the local squire, Frank Gresham. Frank falls in love with her back, but his parents want him to marry money, since they have mismanaged the estate so badly. I found this novel rather tiresome: there were endless discussions of what "good blood" the Gresham line was and whether it was appropriate for them to marry people "in trade", let alone an illegitimate woman. There was far less humour than I expect from a Trollope novel and about two-thirds of the way through I just wanted Frank to shut up about his plight, go out and get a proper job and marry Mary already. Everything seemed to drag and the same dilemmas were rehearsed over and over again.

Frank's father and sisters are, we are told endlessly, very fond of Mary, but they treat her disgracefully. Mary (and indeed Frank and Dr Thorne too) are a bit lacking in the personality department, although, on the other hand, Lady Arabella and Miss Dunstable were great characters. The story of Augusta, Mr Gazebee and Lady Amelia was a nice touch. I know it was intended to be history repeating itself, but the deaths of Sir Roger and then his son were dealt with at greater length than seemed necessary.

Overall, I was confused about what Trollope was saying about marriage and money and birth. The doctor is described as very proud of his birth and yet he brings Mary up in ignorance of her true circumstances, allows her to run around with the squire's children and to think of herself as a lady. What did he intend for her? If she had not so conveniently become an heiress, should she have married Frank? Should Frank have been told of her parentage before he proposed for the first time? Was he right to say it made no difference (or did he really mean that it was too late? ( )
  pgchuis | Nov 30, 2014 |
(29) This is really the first one of Trollope's novels that I definitively enjoyed. In my opinion, the best of the Barchester novels thus far. But my goodness, they take me forever to read. Seems an innocent not quite 500pg novel; but the font is tiny. These novels take me weeks to get through.

We are outside of the cathedral city now with an entirely new cast of characters. Barely a passing mention of the Grantlys, the deanery, the Warden, etc.. I found Dr. Thorne, Mary Thorne and all the Greshams much more interesting. Maybe because it was a bit more Austenesque than the other novels that seemed to be about church politics (yawn.)

Typical Trollope with his asides to the reader and his mentions of himself as an author of a story. A bit repetitive and drawn out but I am getting used to his style. Nobody dies with one bout of illness here or professes their love awkwardly a single time - these scenes are repeated with a bit of variation again and again. But I loved the ending here and was so proud of Frank and Dr. Thorne (corny, I know.) In real life motives are rarely so pure.

All in all, I feel as if I am finally into this series and perhaps will look forward to the next one. I am curious to see how all our characters would interact when thrown together. 'Upon my word, I just can not imagine . .. ' ( )
  jhowell | Oct 15, 2014 |
Reading Doctor Thorne has reminded me why I usually enjoy reading classic fiction written in the nineteenth century, rather than historical fiction set in the same period. In my experience, while historical authors frequently get the practical details of their time period right, the opinions expressed are too often those of the twenty-first century. And in Anthony Trollope's Doctor Thorne, which as well as being a simple love story, is essentially a discussion of class and money, and how much the need for one overrides the desire for the other when choosing a marriage partner, the very different attitudes of the nineteenth century are very apparent. But rather merely accepting one set of attitudes,
Trollope looks at them, and questions them, quite closely, which makes this a much more thoughtful book than the plot would suggest.

The beginnings of the story of Dr Thorne lie more than twenty years before the period in which the book is set, when Dr Thorne's wilder brother seduces the sister of a stonemason in the town of Barchester, who was on the brink of marriage to a respectable tradesman.
The woman, Mary Scatcherd, becomes pregnant and when her brother Roger discovers the fact he attacks and kills the seducer in a drunken rage, and is imprisoned for manslaughter. When Mary's baby is born she is seemingly destitute, but her previous suitor announces that he will marry her after all, and emigrate to America with her, if she will only leave the baby. So Dr Thorne, very much against the norms of the day, and against his own principles that blood is everything, offers to take the baby and being her up as his legitimate niece.

So in twenty years time Mary Thorne is the acknowledged niece of Dr Thorne, living in the village of Greshambury where her history is unknown, and is halfway to being in love with Frank Gresham, the son of the local squire. But Frank's father has been building up debt after debt on his estate and it is absolutely essential in the eyes of his family, and in the eyes of the world, that Frank should marry money. And even without the debts it is surely impossible that a Gresham of Greshambury should marry a girl who is illegitimate... And meanwhile the outraged brother, of twenty years ago, Roger Scatcherd, has prospered enormously after his release from prison and has built up a very large fortune indeed ...

The plot is a little obvious with this one, but it's enjoyable none the less. I was a little surprised to have the characters from The Warden and Barchester Towers make very fleeting appearances indeed: Dr Thorne could be read as a stand alone book with no difficulty at all. ( )
  SandDune | Jun 27, 2014 |
This series just keeps getting better and better and for me, this one was the best so far. As much as I enjoyed the social commentary in the first two, it was refreshing to step away from the debate over who would be the new town Warden.

In this novel Doctor Thorne’s brother leaves his illegitimate child in the Doctor’s care upon his death. The Doctor raises her as his own daughter. As Mary Thorne grows up she spends many of her days playing with the wealthy Gresham children. Years later Mary and Frank, the only Gresham son, fall in love but he is told by his controlling mother, Lady Arabella that he must marry for money to save the family estate.
Scatcherd is Mary’s uncle on the other side of her family (her mother’s brother). He starts off as a lowly stonemason, but rises to power as he becomes wealthy. As the Greshams sink farther and farther into debt, Scatcherd’s control of their property increases. Upon his death he plans to leave his vast wealth and the Gresham’s home to his son, but if his degenerate son passes away everything will go to his next closet relative, who happens to be Mary.

As a novel progressed I began to realize that it was an interesting combination of “Pride and Prejudice,” “Persuasion,” and “Great Expectations.” Mary and Frank’s relationship mirrors the first. Frank’s entire family reminded me of Darcy and Bingley’s extended clan. Even though they all love Mary, they discourage the match because she isn’t a suitable wife for Frank. There’s also Frank's sister who turns down a proposal because her cousin tells her it's unacceptable, which brought “Persuasion” to mind. The tidy full-circle plot which features an orphan reminded me of Dickens. This is not to say that Doctor Thorne is a recreation of any other novel. The book just reminded me of some of my favorites in a very positive way.

Dr. Thorne is such a moral man and he has such strong protective feelings for his niece. Even though he could secure her future by sharing her potential wealth as an heiress, he wants Frank and his family to love her for who she is, regardless of whether she is rich or poor. That’s why this is truly Doctor Thorne’s story and not Frank or Mary’s. Doctor Thorne is trapped in the midst of this impossible situation and every decision he makes is with Mary’s best interest at heart. He is the best kind of man.

BOTTOM LINE: Unlike the previous two books, this one was an unabashed love story. The exploration of social standing and class are so beautifully written you can't help but root for Frank and Mary throughout the book. This has definitely been my absolute favorite of the Barchester books so far.

“There is no road to wealth so easy and respectable as that of matrimony.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Jun 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Trollope, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reddick, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Symons, JulianIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rendell, RuthIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trollope, JoannaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Before the reader is introduced to the modest country medical practitioner who is to be the chief personage of the following tale, it will be well that he should be made acquainted with some particulars as to the locality in which, and the neighbours among whom, our doctor followed his profession.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140433260, Paperback)

Son of a bankrupt landowner, Frank Gresham is intent on marrying his beloved Mary Thorne, despite her illegitimacy and apparent poverty. Frank's ambitious mother and haughty aunt are set against the match, however, and push him to save the family's mortgaged estate by making a good marriage to a wealthy heiress. Only Mary's loving uncle, Dr Thorne, knows the secret of her birth and the fortune she is to inherit that will make her socially acceptable in the eyes of Frank's family - but the high-principled doctor believes she should be accepted on her own terms. A telling examination of the relationship between society, money and morality, "Dr Thorne" (1858) is enduringly popular for Trollope's affectionate depiction of rural English life and his deceptively simple portrayal of human nature.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:48 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Thorne's brother seduced the sister of a Greshambury stonemason and was killed by him. Thorne adopts the child of this liaison, but keeps secret the circumstances of her birth. Later, she meets and falls in love with the heir to the Greshambury estate.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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