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Lady Anna by Anthony Trollope

Lady Anna (1874)

by Anthony Trollope

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318834,897 (3.63)39
  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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» See also 39 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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