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Doctor Thorne (1858)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Barsetshire Chronicles (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,896587,403 (4.1)6 / 362
Now adapted for TV by Julian Fellowes, Doctor Thorne is the compelling story in which rank, wealth, and personal feeling are pitted against one another.The squire of Greshamsbury has fallen on hard times, and it is incumbent on his son Frank to make a good marriage. But Frank loves the doctor's niece, Mary Thorne, a girl with no money and mysterious parentage. He faces a terrible dilemma: should he save the estate, or marry the girl he loves?Mary, too, has to battle her feelings, knowing that marrying Frank would ruin his family and fly in the face of his mother's opposition. Her pride is matched by that of her uncle, Dr Thorne, who has to decide whether to reveal a secret that would resolve Frank's difficulty, or to uphold the innatemerits of his own family heritage.The character of Dr Thorne reflects Trollope's own contradictory feelings about the value of tradition and the need for change. His subtle portrayal, and the comic skill and gentle satire with which the story is developed, are among the many pleasures of this delightful novel.… (more)
  1. 40
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (atimco)
    atimco: 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 (atimco)
    atimco: 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 58 (next | show all)
”I will never hanker after a dead man’s shoes, neither for myself nor for another,” he had said to himself a hundred times, and as often did he accuse himself of doing so.

[b:Dr. Thorne|414295|Dr. Thorne (Chronicles of Barsetshire #3)|Anthony Trollope|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1174529834l/414295._SY75_.jpg|690564] is the third in the Barsetshire series, and, in my judgment, the best. If Charles Dickens is the wizard at showing us the poverty and desperation of the lower class in Victorian England, Anthony Trollope is the master at dissecting the upper classes and the threat of the rising professional and industrial class during that same period.

In a world that is changing, Barsetshire strives to stay the same. The Earl de Courcy is still a revered and august personage, Mr. Gresham of Greshamsbury is the mainstay of the county, and Dr. Thorne is a respected man, although only a second cousin to the Thornes of Ullathorne. Mr. Gresham and Dr. Thorne are the closest of friends, and Thorne’s niece, Mary, has grown up in close proximity to the Gresham children, but when the heir apparent, Frank Gresham, declares his love for her, this story is off to explore the difficulties they will encounter because of the class line that divides them.

The very fact of her absence added fuel to the fire of his love, more perhaps than even her presence might have done. For the flight of the quarry ever adds eagerness to the pursuit of the huntsman.

Frank feels he must have Mary at any cost. The question raised here becomes one of love or money, and which has value for each of these characters. Frank is expected to marry money and position, and Mary has neither. Mary is a fine girl and loved by most of the family, but the arrogant and pompous Lady Arabella objects strenuously to Mary’s lack of blood and moolah, and especially since the moolah is actually needed to keep the estate going.

How frequent it is that men on their road to ruin feel elation such as this! A man signs away a moiety of his substance, nay, that were nothing; but a moiety of the substance of his children; he puts his pen to the paper that ruins him and them; but in doing so he frees himself from a score of immediate little pestering, stinging troubles; and, therefore, feels as though fortune has been almost kind to him.

There are serious subjects, but Trollope also exercises a fine-tuned humor, for so often to understand man, we must laugh at him.

Frank had become legally of age, legally a man, when he was twenty-one. Nature, it seems, had postponed the ceremony til he was twenty-two. Nature often does postpone the ceremony even to a much later age;--sometimes, altogether forgets to accomplish it.

To say more would be to give away the plot line, which I never wish to do. There could be a case made for the predictability of the outcome. As the reader progresses, it becomes clear where this tale is going; but, the story is so well-written, the characters so well developed, and the moral issues so thoughtfully presented, that it hardly matters.

Dr. Thorne is an unlikely hero, being a man without title or money in a world that still rotates around those commodities. His niece, Mary, is a strong woman, who does not allow societal decorum to get in the way of her convictions. In the face of the unjust and arrogant Lady Arabella, she comes across as the truly classy lady in Barsetshire, and she holds her own. Having spent several days with them, I was sad to close the book and know I was done with Barsetshire forever.

And thanks to my good friend, Diane, I realize I am not done with Barsetshire at all. In fact, I have just as many left to read as I have already read. So, next year should be populated with Trollope characters once more. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Anthony Trollope's third installment in the Barchester Chronicles. A book of birth, wealth, titles, and class distinctions. Trollope skewers all three while making Dr. Thorne and his bastard strong willed niece Mary, and Mrs Dunstable, the only ones to see the absurdity of these Victorian British mores and attempt to rise above them. Even they ultimately succumb to the pressures of peer and society and fall in line.

All the difficulties are ultimately resolved by an unlikely chain of events and fortuitous deaths typical of this sort of thing and the happy ending is telescoped way before it ever occurs. This leaves the message somewhat diluted.

As always Trollope's prose is marvelous and his sense of humor exquisite making this a fairly light hearted read that belies his later works. The characters are well drawn and tend to be less two-dimensional than Dickens while the plots are nowhere near as lively.

I like this book a lot, maybe better, than I did the previous two volumes Barchester Towers and The Warden and look forward to the next. I'm sure this will seem dull to those that do not favor long 19th century novels, but I always loved this sort of thing.

( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
4.5 ( )
  ChelseaVK | Dec 10, 2021 |
This is a good love story as well as good literature. ( )
  KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
I think I actually enjoyed this one more than Barchester Towers. You knew exactly where it was going but it was quite fun getting there. I did get a little bored towards the end and wanted it to conclude. And the whole let's tell Frank first instead of Mary herself that she is rich did make me want to throw things. But it was enjoyable. ( )
  infjsarah | Nov 26, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dentith, SimonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, P.D.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamb,LyntonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pendle, AlexyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reddick, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rendell, RuthIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symons, JulianIntroductionsecondary 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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Now adapted for TV by Julian Fellowes, Doctor Thorne is the compelling story in which rank, wealth, and personal feeling are pitted against one another.The squire of Greshamsbury has fallen on hard times, and it is incumbent on his son Frank to make a good marriage. But Frank loves the doctor's niece, Mary Thorne, a girl with no money and mysterious parentage. He faces a terrible dilemma: should he save the estate, or marry the girl he loves?Mary, too, has to battle her feelings, knowing that marrying Frank would ruin his family and fly in the face of his mother's opposition. Her pride is matched by that of her uncle, Dr Thorne, who has to decide whether to reveal a secret that would resolve Frank's difficulty, or to uphold the innatemerits of his own family heritage.The character of Dr Thorne reflects Trollope's own contradictory feelings about the value of tradition and the need for change. His subtle portrayal, and the comic skill and gentle satire with which the story is developed, are among the many pleasures of this delightful novel.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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