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Lady Anna by Anthony Trollope

Lady Anna (1874)

by Anthony Trollope

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346931,609 (3.73)40
  1. 20
    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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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Trollope considered this his best novel. Although I have read only a few of Trollope's other novels, this definitely stands out from that small selection. Lady Anna's mother was abandoned by her father. It becomes the sole aim in life of Anna's mother to reclaim her title and prove that her daughter is the legitimate heir of the late Earl Lovel. Through the rending poverty of their abandonment, Countess Lovel and Anna are assisted by an elderly tailor of radical political ideas. Of course, young Anna gradually falls in love with the tailor's son, creating a classic problem of cross-class romance. The Countess wishes Anna to marry her cousin, the current young Earl Lovel after the death of Anna's father. This would restore both their fortune and their name. But Anna wishes to marry for love. While the plot may seem a bit familiar, Trollope creates vivid and original characters. Anna, in particular, has all the doubts, confusions and strengths of a real young woman. And Danial Thwaite, her tailor lover, is maddeningly inconsistent in his radical politics and traditional views of the role of women. I enjoyed every minute of the book. Trollope knows how to create plot and character while also tackling serious social questions that still have relevance. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Oh dear, this was dreadful. It pains me to give a Trollope novel 2 stars, but, had it not been a Trollope novel, I don't think I could have brought myself to finish it.

Lady Anna's father, the wicked Earl Lovel, dies and her mother fights (as she has been doing for years) to prove the legitimacy of her marriage to him (and hence the legitimacy of Anna's birth and right to inherit the fortune). In the run up to the final court case Anna's mother and the new Earl's family hatch a plan to marry Anna to the Earl so they can share the fortune and avert the litigation. Unfortunately Anna has become engaged to Daniel, the son of the tailor who has supported her and her mother, both financially and with friendship and a home, through 20 years of poverty and disgrace.

Unique amongst all the Trollope novels I have read, there were no sub-plots, no humorous minor characters to provide contrast and relief. It read as if Trollope had devised the plot as an interesting commentary on class and created characters to give the various voices. None of the characters came alive for me: Anna's mother was described as loving, but commits not a single loving act throughout the novel. Daniel is a "radical", but has no other characteristics apart from a tendency to be a bully. The young earl had no personality whatsoever. Anna's mother acts in an entirely bizarre manner at the end, like a character from some sort of melodrama.

There was endless, unrelenting repetition, not just chapter to chapter, but even from paragraph to paragraph. The length of the text could have been cut by 75% without losing any of the plot.

Very disappointing. ( )
  pgchuis | Sep 3, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Orgel, StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skilton, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:38 -0400)

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