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Rachel Ray (1863)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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746830,587 (3.62)1 / 84
This is Trollope's most detailed and concise study of middle-class life in a small provincial community - in this case Baslehurst, in the luscious Devon countryside. It is also a charming love-story, centring on sweet-natured Rachel Ray and her suitor Luke Rowan, whose battle to wrest controlover Baslehurst's brewery involves a host of typically Trollopian local characters.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Early Trollope—lacks the complexity, the humor, and the gutting character portraits of his more mature work.

For completists. ( )
  proustitute | Apr 2, 2023 |
Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope

I liked this relatively brief (for Trollope) novel about a young woman named Rachel Ray who is swept off her feet by Luke Rowan. They then face the scrutiny and interference by their families and communities. Rachel is seen to be grasping above her station and Luke is burning bridges with a local family over business. Which brings me to a storyline I really enjoyed. Luke is part owner of a local brewery which is known for making bad beer, but doing it successfully enough. Luke wants to make good beer, much to his partner's chagrin. I thought this whole story line was funny and actually paralleled the craft beer vs. large market beer industry which is still a thing in America today. I also really liked a few of the female characters in this book, who I felt were realistically drawn and had contrasting viewpoints that were all realistic. There was a local election that did bother me a bit because one of the men running was Jewish and there were many different local reactions to his Jewishness. Luckily I read this as a group read, and the context provided about what was happening in English politics at the time made me feel a little more accepting of it being included at all.

Definitely recommended for Trollope fans, but not as a starting point. ( )
  japaul22 | Dec 26, 2021 |
3.5 stars ( )
  ChelseaVK | Dec 10, 2021 |
Luke Rowan comes to Baslehurst to enforce his right to inherit a half-share in the brewery. He is resisted in this by the existing partner, Mr Tappitt. Through Mr Tappitt's daughters Luke meets Rachel Ray and courts her successfully. However, as his dispute with Mr Tappitt is heating up he leaves town to pursue legal remedies and Rachel's weak mother is induced by her clergyman to force Rachel to break the engagement off.

I found this novel well-constructed and the brewery storyline was entertaining. I also enjoyed the Prime/Prong "romance" and Mrs Ray's vacillations. On the other hand, not a lot really happened otherwise. Luke was not sufficiently herolike for my tastes. Poor Rachel's letter to him was so clearly written to make it clear that she dissociated herself from every word, but he was unable to perceive this and left her waiting for a cruel length of time. Rachel seemed unable ever to be honest with him about her feelings, which got a bit tiresome. Also, I don't think Mrs Rowan was treated as severely as she deserved. ( )
1 vote pgchuis | Oct 5, 2015 |
This was very typical Trollope, and very enjoyable, but does not seem to be a very well known work. Perhaps Trollope wrote too many of these kinds of novels, which are essentially micro examinations of a few fairly stereotypical, one dimensional characters. Despite this, the work is fantastic to read - in my opinion, Trollope is by far the easiest Victorian novelist to digest.

There is Rachel, the good, dutiful, constant Trollopian (?) heroine, who is sweet, demure, and gets what she wants in the end. There is her mother, the tea-loving, god-fearing mother who wants the best for her daughter, but goes by the advice of her clergyman when providing her guidance. There is Mr. Rowan, the bull-in-a-chinashop lover, who has as much tact as a sledgehammer. Still, he loves dear Rachel, and there is no denying him.

And finally, as in so many of these examinations of the Victorian countryside, there are the Evangelicals. There is Rachel's sister, Mrs. Prime, who thinks that dancing should basically be banned, there is Miss Pucker, who thinks that the most virtuous activity one could undertake is needlework, or indeed any kind of work, provided it is done in the spirit of Christian charity. And there is Mr. Prong whose name, although possibly not considered in this way by Trollope, reflects a more modern synonym for that word. He is a total prick.

As usual, there are also the wonderfully named lawyers, Mr. Sharpit and Mr. Longfite. No prizes for guessing what they are like.

All in all, a most enjoyable read and I was so delighted to get back into some Trollope! ( )
4 vote notmyrealname | May 1, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Edwards, P. D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Redman, Ben RayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skilton, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, Johnsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorold, AlgarIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There are women who cannot grow alone as standard trees—for whom the support and warmth of some wall, some paling, some post, is absolutely necessary—who, in their growth, will bend and incline themselves towards some such prop for their life, creeping with their tendrils along the ground till they reach it when the circumstances of life have brought no such prop within their natural and immediate reach.
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This is Trollope's most detailed and concise study of middle-class life in a small provincial community - in this case Baslehurst, in the luscious Devon countryside. It is also a charming love-story, centring on sweet-natured Rachel Ray and her suitor Luke Rowan, whose battle to wrest controlover Baslehurst's brewery involves a host of typically Trollopian local characters.

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