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Lady Anna by Anthony Trollope
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Lady Anna (1874)

by Anthony Trollope

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    Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite by Anthony Trollope (digifish_books)
    digifish_books: Another of Trollope's shorter novels in which a daughter's betrothal plans are fraught with danger.
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Solid Trollope. Lady Anna's status as her father's daughter has been in doubt throughout her childhood. Will she marry the the son of the tailor who looked after her and her mother when they were penniless, or will her mother succeed in finding her a more prestigious match? ( )
  annesadleir | Dec 29, 2012 |
The disowned wife of a wicked aristocrat brings up her daughter in the hope of getting her recognised as an aristo. The earl - goodness, what a bounder! not only a jilt and a bigamist, but not content to live off his rents and the sweat of the peasantry like a decent earl, he plays the stock market and wins. He dies rich. Mum succeeds in getting the recognition and money for daughter but mainly by cold manipulation of the girl, now "Lady Anna". Everyone wants Anna to tie the knot with the cousin who's got the title but no money. Daughter wants to stay true to the poor tailor she promised herself to while still on Skid Row herself. It's all a bit arithmetical and unlikely, but Trollope's yarn-spinning carries it along, with some neat ironies about lawyers, gossip, pretension, etc. en route.

The tailor is the most thumping lump of self-righteousness so it seems only on principle that she stays by him. Also odd how the poor cousin is well-off enough to have fancy clothes and get a posh education. Poverty is relative!

Given the extreme bounderishness of the old earl it's not clear why anyone should want a title or be expected to live up to one. The value placed on title and the means and manners to match it are central to the tale; is that straight Victorian values or is Trollope also laughing up his sleeve? Hard to tell.

Trollope at one point alludes to the tale of a girl who is courted by a bear who may be a prince. I'd already got the idea of it being a fairy story. ( )
  vguy | Dec 9, 2012 |
Honestly, had this book been published in the twenty-first century, I would have labeled it as chick-lit. Well-written chick-lit but chick-lit nonetheless. Because the book was published in 1874, however, I was more attuned to the commentary on Victorian society – marriage for power/money instead of love, importance placed upon socializing with the ‘appropriate’ class, importance placed upon name and title. Isn’t it funny how outside knowledge can affect our reading of a book?

Read more on my blog: http://ardentreader.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/lady-anna/ ( )
  theardentreader | Apr 7, 2011 |
Lady Anna is not without moments of interest, but the novel is awfully repetitious and drawn-out. One of the main characters, Daniel Thwaite, is unusually two-dimensional (for Trollope). Lady Anna is notable for the most violent scene that I have ever encountered in Trollope -- handled with remarkable psychological aplomb and insight --, and notable also as testimony for the strength of aristocratic sentiments in nineteenth-century Britain. ( )
  jensenmk82 | Jun 17, 2010 |
This was my first taste of Trollope, but I don't expect it to be my last. I found myself swept away on a tale of deep, unrelenting love as the noble born Anna stood by her beau Daniel Thwaite a lowley journeyman tailor. As Anna's mother fights for the right for her own and her daughter's title and for the fortune that they should have inherited from her duplicitous husband, so begins her descent into maddness. The contenders for the title and money, the Lovels, are split between accepting and rejecting Anna's claim. As the head of both sides fear they will lose, they try to set up a marriage between Anna and her cousin Earl Lovel, but she remains besotted with her childhood sweetheart, the young man raised with her as his father protected and fought for Anna and her mother.

It really is a guessing game throughout the book as to whether Anna will win her title, her love and whether she can cling on to a relationship with her mother. I can only imagine the scandal this book of social class must have caused in its day! ( )
  bibliobeck | Mar 31, 2009 |
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Women have often been hardly used by men, but perhaps no harder usage, no fiercer cruelty was ever experienced by a woman than that which fell to the lot of Josephine Murray from the hands of Earl Lovel, to whom she was married in the parish church of Applethwaite, - a parish without a village, lying among the mountains of Cumberland, - on the 1st of June, 181-.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192837184, Paperback)

When it appeared in 1874, Lady Anna met with little success, and positively outraged the conservative - 'This is the sort of thing the reading public will never stand...a man must be embittered by some violent present exasperation who can like such disruptions of social order as this.' ("Saturday Review") - although Trollope himself considered it 'the best novel I ever wrote! Very much! Quite far away above all others!!!' This tightly constructed and passionate study of enforced marriage in the world of Radical politics and social inequality, records the lifelong attempt of Countess Lovel to justify her claim to her title, and her daughter Anna's legitimacy, after her husband announces that he already has a wife. However, mother and daughter are driven apart when Anna defies her mother's wish that she marry her cousin, heir to her father's title, and falls in love with journeyman tailor and young Radical Daniel Thwaite. The outcome is never in doubt, but Trollope's ambivalence on the question is profound, and the novel both intense and powerful.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:01 -0400)

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