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Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium and former Prime Minister of England, is widowed and wracked by grief. Struggling to adapt to life without his beloved Lady Glencora, he works hard to guide and support his three adult children. Palliser soon discovers, however, that his own plans for them are very different from their desires. Sent down from university in disgrace, Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium and former Prime Minister of England, is widowed and wracked by grief. Struggling to adapt to life without his beloved Lady Glencora, he works hard to guide and support his three adult children. Palliser soon discovers, however, that his own plans for them are very different from their desires. Sent down from university in disgrace, his two sons quickly begin to run up gambling debts. His only daughter, meanwhile, longs passionately to marry the poor son of a county squire against her father's will. But while the Duke's dearest wishes for the three are thwarted one by one, he ultimately comes to understand that parents can learn from their own children. The final volume in the Palliser novels, The Duke's Children (1880) is a compelling exploration of wealth, pride and ultimately the strength of love.


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Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium and former Prime Minister of England, is widowed and wracked by grief. Struggling to adapt to life without his beloved Lady Glencora, he works hard to guide and support his three adult children. Palliser soon discovers, however, that his own plans for them are very different from their desires. Sent down from university in disgrace, Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium and former Prime Minister of England, is widowed and wracked by grief. Struggling to adapt to life without his beloved Lady Glencora, he works hard to guide and support his three adult children. Palliser soon discovers, however, that his own plans for them are very different from their desires. Sent down from university in disgrace, his two sons quickly begin to run up gambling debts. His only daughter, meanwhile, longs passionately to marry the poor son of a county squire against her father's will. But while the Duke's dearest wishes for the three are thwarted one by one, he ultimately comes to understand that parents can learn from their own children. The final volume in the Palliser novels, The Duke's Children (1880) is a compelling exploration of wealth, pride and ultimately the strength of love.

30 review for The Duke's Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    Another fantastic Trollope read. I adored it. I cried and smiled and had a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. A fantastic end to a great series.

  2. 4 out of 5

    classic reverie

    For the last 15 months, I have enjoyed entering Trollope's England, Barchester and the Duke of Omnium's world. About every month, I would come back to familiar settings and characters and especially wondering how it will all end. Having just finished his last in the series, I wanted to comment about the whole before going on with the book review. When I began with "The Warden", I had no idea what a ride I was in for because though I enjoyed that book, it was lacking a little for me. Don't get me For the last 15 months, I have enjoyed entering Trollope's England, Barchester and the Duke of Omnium's world. About every month, I would come back to familiar settings and characters and especially wondering how it will all end. Having just finished his last in the series, I wanted to comment about the whole before going on with the book review. When I began with "The Warden", I had no idea what a ride I was in for because though I enjoyed that book, it was lacking a little for me. Don't get me wrong I loved it but I did not think that as I read on that these two series were quite the treasure that they ended up for me! The next in the series started more characters interplay and social issue combined which continued to be Trollope's formula for success throughout. Sometimes you can guess how things are going to turn up but many times there were a tremendous amount of surprises. Not everyone ends up happy and some seem to be happy but troubles may come ahead. Though religion and politics are the crux of these series, the human interactions are the key which makes the story exciting to read. Some books concentrate more on the institutional aspect but that is not in abundance to cause a reader to become bored because even that is exciting. You have some characters come over to the other series but mostly these series are kept divided. Plantagenent Palliser makes his first appearance in Barchester's The Small House at Allington when he tries flirtation with a married young lady. Thinking back at this it is so unlike him and one wonders if Trollope when first thinking of this character changed his mind to his personality and virtuous behavior. The Palliser from the series is quite the true person of honesty and would not be thinking of an affair with a married women. If I had to choose between the series, I would pick Palliser but luckily I can love both! Now to comment on "The Duke's Children"; The politics in this are very little compared to some of the others. This is kind of a full circle in a way from the first, "Can You Forgive Her?" but instead of Glencora dealing with an unsuitable suitor, you have the daughter's love interest which brings memories back from both the parents. Should someone not of rank think they can attain a position in society to high? Can you marry who you love or must you succumb to others' demands? That is the main of this story. "The man she loved was a gentleman, and an honest man, by no means a fool, and subject to no vices. Her father had no right to demand that she should give her heart to a rich man, or to one of high rank. Rank! As for rank, she told herself that she had the most supreme contempt for it. She thought that she had seen it near enough already to be sure that it ought to have no special allurements. What was it doing for her? Simply restraining her choice among comparatively a few who seemed to her by no means the best endowed of God’s creatures. " Trollope lives in a time of changing society, really every society always changes to a point but the church structure, political changes with certain rights and society changes. He shows us the changes that have occurred and were occurring during his lifetime. In this story an American girl comes to England and has taken a liking for a man of rank. As I read this subplot, I remember Edith Wharton's unfinished work "The Buccaneers" which is about American wealthy young girls looking for husbands overseas, which was based on these true occurrences. The son sentiment to social changes that the father is not aware yet. "And he thought that there were certain changes going on in the management of the world which his father did not quite understand. Fathers never do quite understand the changes which are manifest to their sons. Some years ago it might have been improper. " There is a lot of fatherly advice that is not always taken which is hard up on the Duke. Gambling, expulsion from school, scandals and loss of large amount of money. A kind of triangle with an extra character, quadangle, which makes it interesting. I love the name of the race horse, Prime Minister. Again a brother's friend tried to control the brother and brings trouble to a sister for that friendship! I am so happy that I decided to start with "The Warden" & finish up with "The Duke's Children", I highly recommend for classic and non classic fans that love drama with social issues that are not overly handed. Also this novel which was first published in 1879, as a serial in Charles Dickens' All the Year Round. I suppose his reference to Turveytop from "The Bleak House" and especially a couple times was a wink to Dickens! I did not read this edition but a Delphi Collection of his works which has lots and lots of notes and highlights, if interested. I love my travels with these characters and Trollope gives stories with heart.💖💖💖💖💟💟💟💖 I am sorry of this coming to an end but so many more stories of his I have yet to read and maybe a character from these series maybe mentioned! SPOILER ALERT BELOW 💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢💢 Glencora dying was unexpected and it was then you saw how much Palliser loved her. Tregear though he wins out and is allowed to marry Mary but I wonder how much he loves her and how much is the position and money part of his love. I was glad Mabel did not win Silverbridge. I also grew to like Silverbridge more and more. Mabel subconsciously wanted to let Silverbridge of the hook but then she saw her mistake but it was too late. Silverbridge grows out of his boyhood and no longer is told by Tregear how to behave because he has found his footing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Phrodrick

    This is a review of the Everyman Library Edition of Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children. The edition matters as the Everyman Edition includes The 65,000 words his editor had required the author to cut in from the first published edition. To the degree I can compare the two, I cannot say that this version is the better one. A more detailed reader may conclude differently, but my recommendation is to decide solely based on how much you enjoy reading Trollope. I have enjoyed the 6 book, 4000+ pa This is a review of the Everyman Library Edition of Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children. The edition matters as the Everyman Edition includes The 65,000 words his editor had required the author to cut in from the first published edition. To the degree I can compare the two, I cannot say that this version is the better one. A more detailed reader may conclude differently, but my recommendation is to decide solely based on how much you enjoy reading Trollope. I have enjoyed the 6 book, 4000+ page journey and do not regret the extra pages to get to the ultimate The End. Trollope is justly in the pantheon of great writers, but nothing I have read in these 6 books convinces me he belongs in the first row. I leave for others to debate if, for example, Dickens or Austin were the better writers. True fans of each will get little push back from me. Toss into the argument the Russian Greats or the Great Books 100 Lists that litter the landscape and I will mostly watch and comment from the sidelines. I am strongly of the opinion that Trollope belongs in the room. That said I am not that positive that The Duke’s Children would form the basis of my argument that Trollope is a great writer. The Pallisers or Political novels were originally meant to be 4 books. Trollope may have added the last two because he needed the money or because he had more to say. Now that I know this, thanks to the introduction included in The Duke’s Children, I can see a definite separation between the first four and these last two. Book 5, The Prime Minister has very little to do with politics. Across the series, politics have formed a back drop, allowing characters to have something to do and Trollope to pen some of his slyest satire. In Book 5 his central character, The Duke of Omnium and Gatherum is Prime Minister and has nothing to do. Depending on your POV this may be the point to stop to avoid spoilers Instead we given one of Trollope’s most modern characters, Mr. Lopez. Mr Lopez is one of his most villainous characters, no less so because his purpose is to invade the gentry. He is certainly entitled to gentleman status, but he is guilty of the sin of being, not English. In fact he has no known lineage, in any country. He may be Jewish and is certainly Hispanic. That he is a speculator and depends on other people’s money to practice his profession could have played out either way, but he was pushing into society in ways that marked him as a bad guy. That he is found unworthy to be an MP (Member of Parliament) should have been foreshadowing enough. If he lesson on Book 5 is beware of the outsider, book 6, The Duke’s Children turns everything in the earlier book on its ear. The Palliser Household is under direct attack and subversion from within. The Dukes’ First born and natural inheritor of the Dukedom, Lord Silverbride has his eye on an American heiress. His only daughter, Lady Mary is deeply in love with an Englishman, and a gentleman. Alas Mr. Tregear has no title, no property, no inheritance and by the way is not, like The Duke a Liberal. In fact the only other thing to his credit is that he is returned (elected) to Parliament. Over the series, The Duke, AKA Palanty Pal, AKA Plantagenet Palliser has been a dour, if learned intense figure. A figure of fun with a classic English fixation on a silly cause and a stern remote father figure. This book has him facing his deepest prejudices. For much of the book he is not a very likable person. While other books have given us comedic figures and regular stings at the expense of British Politics, The Duke’s Children lack much in the way of a light touch. The villains of the piece are relatively minor players in what is only a sub plot. Least you conclude that the Duke is revealed as the Evil presence in the book a little historic context may soften this notion. At this time there were legal limits on who the members of the Royal family could marry. As a Duke, Palliser is not directly under those rules, but a man of his character would feel the weight of the implied duties of the not quite royal as of great importance. To hand his daughter to a possible money grubber is as we have seen on book 5 a tragedy on top of the problems of mixing the classes. That he is liberal and of the belief that the distance between the classes should, slowly over time be reduced, simply makes his internal dialogue that much more complex. An additional issue clouding the decision for both Father and Daughter, if less so for the son, is that Palliser had not been his wife’s choice as a husband. It was Duchess Glencora’s most passionate wish that her children would have the freedom to marry that was denied her. The Dukes marginally greater tolerance for his son’s interest in an American has to scream outrageous to a modern reader. The relative lack of resistance again pushes the Duke into a darker relief. Trollope was writing at the beginning of a so called Gilded Age. Americans, especially daughters with the wealth that began to accumulate and concentrate during the Civil War, were beginning to arrive in Europe seeking to add a title to their social standing. Much literature will be written about these seekers of European escutcheons but here Trollope may be ahead of the trend. The heiress in question, Isabel Boncassen is perhaps a better person than Lord Silverbridge. Likely she is exactly the person his Lordship needs to complete the processes he starts toward being an adult and not just the callow youth we first encounter. Her lineage is entry working class, heavily demonstrated by her mother. But her father is self-made and studiously minded. Least you conclude that this is an early version of so many soap opera costume dramas that will follow. Most with some or all of the same issues. Trollope writes well. He can balance the issues and the characters with finesse. The common sense guidance of yet another outsider, Mrs Finn, nee Madame Max Goesler serves as a reminder that even among the titled, outsider influence has value. That is, in The Duke’s Children we have a last look into a complex and deeply built set of characters and sense of place.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ruthiella

    The last in the Palliser series. I started it on audio in December. I was less interested in the lifestyles of the rich and titled in this last installment. I only really like Planty Pall as a foil to Lady Glen and alas, that was not to be. I didn’t quite care for how this turned out. I hope there will be some hint as to Lady Mab’s (happy?) future in other books like there was in this one with Mr. Spooner. The final book in the Palliser series, The Duke’s Children, was classic Trollope. The now w The last in the Palliser series. I started it on audio in December. I was less interested in the lifestyles of the rich and titled in this last installment. I only really like Planty Pall as a foil to Lady Glen and alas, that was not to be. I didn’t quite care for how this turned out. I hope there will be some hint as to Lady Mab’s (happy?) future in other books like there was in this one with Mr. Spooner. The final book in the Palliser series, The Duke’s Children, was classic Trollope. The now widowed Duke of Omnium must navigate the carriers and marriages of his grown children without the assistance of his helpmeet and often foil, Lady Glencora. His daughter, Lady Mary, has fallen desperately in love with Frank Tregear, who though the son of a country squire, is far below Mary in rank and fortune. The Duke is adamant that she should marry someone whose bloodline and fortune are worthy of the daughter of a Duke, even if that someone is the vapid Lord Popplecourt. Meanwhile his eldest son and heir Lord Silverbridge, has been sent down from Oxford, is mixed up with lower class horse race aficionados and displays poor judgment when he falls in love with a visiting American girl. Finally, the youngest son, Lord Gerald, too young yet to marry, is not too young to fall into debt through gambling. What’s the highest ranking nobleman in England, and the richest, to do? While I was sympathetic with Lady Mary’s situation, I did not take to Lord Silverbridge’s plight at all. The amount of money he wastes in honoring bets made on horses is appalling, even by today’s standards. And it is considered a trifle provided he “learn his lesson from it”. Perhaps that was Trollope’s point, I am not sure. I think he meant for the reader to sympathize at least somewhat. I also disliked Silverbridge because I found his heart to be fickle. I think he married the wrong woman. The book does have some interesting commentary on the advisability of marrying outside of one’s class, however.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    That was a letdown; I'd hoped to go out with the Pallisers on a higher note. For the last in a series known as the Parliamentary novels, where were the politics? Instead, we got a Trollopean length disquisition on romantic entanglements and youthful hijinks. Trollope is always a pleasure and this is enjoyable, but it's not one of the better novels; it certainly wasn't worth killing off Lady Glen (not a spoiler as it happens at the very beginning), a necessary condition to the ultimately trivial s That was a letdown; I'd hoped to go out with the Pallisers on a higher note. For the last in a series known as the Parliamentary novels, where were the politics? Instead, we got a Trollopean length disquisition on romantic entanglements and youthful hijinks. Trollope is always a pleasure and this is enjoyable, but it's not one of the better novels; it certainly wasn't worth killing off Lady Glen (not a spoiler as it happens at the very beginning), a necessary condition to the ultimately trivial story. Yes, the world is changing, even for the Duke of Omnium, but this was a long-winded way to get the message across. ETA: I also meant to say that I see there's a newly restored version of this available which is about one-third longer and the book is both funnier and darker; it might have addressed my issues. I'd have liked to read it, but there isn't an ebook version.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cphe

    Initially put off reading this novel after the first few pages because of the demise of a pivotal, well loved female character whose presence throughout the series had been an absolute delight. I couldn't believe when I first saw it mentioned in some reviews of the novel. I ended up reading the novel because I wanted to see how the series would be ended and I felt I owed it to the remaining characters to see how they fared. The previous books had such strong, resilient, fiesty female characters b Initially put off reading this novel after the first few pages because of the demise of a pivotal, well loved female character whose presence throughout the series had been an absolute delight. I couldn't believe when I first saw it mentioned in some reviews of the novel. I ended up reading the novel because I wanted to see how the series would be ended and I felt I owed it to the remaining characters to see how they fared. The previous books had such strong, resilient, fiesty female characters but with this novel there really wasn't one character who stood out and played a leading role. Palliser, I've always felt took rather a backseat role in previous novels and he didn't really drive the story here. Rather sad that the end of the series has arrived, not a standout but a fitting end to the series overall.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    Ah, I do enjoy a Trollope novel. I particularly liked the social and political commentary in this one, and found the characters engaging. If not for his usual long-windedness that contributes to occasional rambling and sagging, this might rise another star.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Last of the Palliser novels, not the strongest by far, but a good read. The female characters in this book are fairly predictable, but Trollope almost makes up for it with his male characters. On the first page of the novel Trollope kills off the strongest female character in the series, Lady Glencora Palliser, the Duchess of Omnium. This gives him scope to develop the character of the Duke from a mere politician to a family man who has to relate to his children who are now grown and stepping out Last of the Palliser novels, not the strongest by far, but a good read. The female characters in this book are fairly predictable, but Trollope almost makes up for it with his male characters. On the first page of the novel Trollope kills off the strongest female character in the series, Lady Glencora Palliser, the Duchess of Omnium. This gives him scope to develop the character of the Duke from a mere politician to a family man who has to relate to his children who are now grown and stepping out into the world. Here Trollope creates two of the most stupid and vacuous sons of aristocrats in literature in the Duke's heir Lord Silverbridge and his brother Gerald. They would grace any P G Wodehouse novel with ease. We follow them and their too good to be true sister Mary through the 19th century marraige market (for Silverbridge and Mary) and through the ways the manage to distress and let down their long suffering father. Trollope draws useless aristocrats rather well and we come across several in this book, usually hunting or shooting; activities which the Duke seemed completely unable to grasp; unlike his sons. A counter point is set up with Mary's suitor Frank Tregear who is poor, but "worthy". Trollope has great fun with them all and ties up all his loose ends; apart from poor Mabel Grex who sets her sights on silverbridge and Frank Tregear and manages to lose them both; ending up embittered. Very readable, but missing some spark; the Duchess killed off on page 1, I suspect.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma

    I enjoyed greatly reading this book. In turn, I wish to highly recommend the novel to all my friends. It is the kind that remains with you forever. Here, we are told of the lives and loves of the Duke of Omnium's children. After his wife's death, he is obliged to undertake the difficult task of raising and guiding his children to what he believes is the right path. Just like many families, his is not without scandal. Let me pause here for some time and talk about Trollope's Prime Minister. The p I enjoyed greatly reading this book. In turn, I wish to highly recommend the novel to all my friends. It is the kind that remains with you forever. Here, we are told of the lives and loves of the Duke of Omnium's children. After his wife's death, he is obliged to undertake the difficult task of raising and guiding his children to what he believes is the right path. Just like many families, his is not without scandal. Let me pause here for some time and talk about Trollope's Prime Minister. The present book is unlike the former. Indeed, there are certain common themes but that does not lessen the worth of 'The Duke's Children'. I feel greatly privileged to have heard the time and opportunity of reading this novel. Especially now, amidst all the glamour and pomp of the Royal wedding between the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex. I kept wondering, what would Trollope have said? In this story he alluded to the love between an American commoner, Isabel and Lord Silverbridge, his first born son. A match which his father was believed not to ever consent to. Isabel argued that the then convictions and conventions were absurd and that such a match would never amount to an abomination. Things have changed and the winds of change started blowing from during the time of Trollope. The other cause of the Duke's sorrow and probably the most disturbing is the love between his daughter, Lady Mary and the lowly Frank Treager. He is objectionable to the match and wants ti hear nothing of the same so much so that when he learns that Mrs. Finn had knowledge of the it and failed to tell him, he cuts himself off from any contact with her. Their relationship is only repaired by Lady Cantrip, who is a friend of theirs. Unfortunately, their is one thing that cannot be solved. His daughter's love to Mr. Treager. The question that he must consider is whether to yield to jer daughter's choice of man or to steadfastly hold on to what he considers to be his rightful parental duty and discourage the match even if it is to result to the death of his daughter. Other sorrows comes in between. For example, the discontinuation of Gerald from the university of Oxford. Lord Silverbridge's gambling problems which has caused him a great deal of loss. At some point he looses upto seven thousand pounds which does not cont compared to his standing in the public platform and in parliament. Indeed, it was great. Not to mention the nuggets of wisdom in Trollopes tale. I believe that we should make time for Trollope and you will not regret.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bruno Bouchet

    After the sublime The Prime Minister, the final book in Palliser series is a bit of a let down (but only a little bit) - almost like the last episode of your favourite TV series that doesn’t focus on all characters you’ve grown to love over the series but introduces new characters instead. The Duke is naturally superb. His letter to his son on entering parliament should be obligatory reading for every MP at the start of each parliamentary session. It’s a wonderful manifesto of what they should b After the sublime The Prime Minister, the final book in Palliser series is a bit of a let down (but only a little bit) - almost like the last episode of your favourite TV series that doesn’t focus on all characters you’ve grown to love over the series but introduces new characters instead. The Duke is naturally superb. His letter to his son on entering parliament should be obligatory reading for every MP at the start of each parliamentary session. It’s a wonderful manifesto of what they should be there for. My disappointment was with the actual children. Mary doesn’t add much to the series in terms of portraits of young women facing marriage. Silverbridge just isn’t likeable enough and I would have lived a bit more exploration on the plight of ‘second sons’ in Gerald. Perhaps the fact that he only features for getting sent down from Cambridge, gambling debts and massacring a vast number of grouse in Scotland is in itself a statement about second sons – no-one’s interested them in Victorian society, unless they’re causing trouble – not even Trollope. The most interesting character is Mabel Grex. How her fortunes contrast with Frank Tregear is fascinating. Frank and Mabel were in love (before the start of the novel) but were both too poor to marry each other. Mabel remains constant but realise she has to marry for money. She’s quite honest about it, says she will be the perfect wife, do and be everything a wife should be and may learn to love her husband, but she cannot deny to herself she loves someone else. There’s a fatal honest about it. Marriage is a legal contract in which is fully prepared to keep her end, but finances mean her own feelings of love must be put aside. Of course such an honest woman cannot be allowed to succeed. She stumbles when Silverbridge first ‘almost’ proposes and loses him altogether when the Amercian beauty appears on the scene. She’s reduced later to almost begging him to marry her. Had she only been more fickle in her love, allowed herself to fall in love with Silverbridge, then she would have been rich and happy. Alas she can’t. Unlike Frank Tregear, who does exactly that. He falls in love with Mary Palliser, and is ultimately rewarded for his ability to fall out and in of love easily. When Mabel speaks to Frank towards the end of the novel about how much easier life is for men because they do not ‘love’ as intensely as women, she is speaking so powerfully for all the ‘unsuccessful’ women in the Palliser series. You can only be allowed to triumph if you genuinely marry for love, which is fine for the men who can fall in and out of love easily, but for the women who can’t do that, it’s misery or spinsterhood or both. It is characters like Mabel that make me love Trollope. All the polite stories of love hide brutally honest observations on the game of love and money, how it’s played and how the cards are always stacked up against the women. It doesn’t matter how smart, clever, honest, pretty or true you are, if you don’t fall for the right man first, you’ve had it. And you think you can ever beat the system, think again sister.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Alaska)

    And so Trollope's Palliser series comes to a close. This is, again, a stand alone novel, and doesn't rely on previous works in the series. But you would be missing the joy of having read the others. Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium, is one of the wealthiest men in all of England, if not in fact *the* wealthiest. He started life in that manner and added to his wealth through marriage. His wealth increased during his lifetime because he was more interested in politics than spending money. And so Trollope's Palliser series comes to a close. This is, again, a stand alone novel, and doesn't rely on previous works in the series. But you would be missing the joy of having read the others. Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium, is one of the wealthiest men in all of England, if not in fact *the* wealthiest. He started life in that manner and added to his wealth through marriage. His wealth increased during his lifetime because he was more interested in politics than spending money. And, having been more interested in his life in politics than money, he also was not at home much to enjoy and influence his children as many fathers do. The children (the heir, the second son, a beloved daughter) definitely respect their father. They don't just give that respect lip service, but truly feel it. However, they have lived with that wealth all of their lives and barely recognize their advantage. They also don't seem to fully understand their position in society and their *duty* as such. This causes the Duke much sadness. At one point, the Duke asks one of his sons, "What is money?" As the son gives the unsatisfactory answer of "sovereigns, coin, banknotes", the Duke then expounds "money is labor." Coming from the Duke this at first seems laughable, but read on - that paragraph or two continues to apply today. Duty also applies to whom one is to marry.The mutual assent which leads to marriage should no doubt be spontaneous. Who does not feel that? Young love should speak from its first doubtful unconscious spark, -- a spark which any breath of air may quench or cherish, -- till it becomes a flame which nothing can satisfy but the union of the two lovers. No one should be told to love, or bidden to marry, this man or that woman. The theory of this is plain to us all, and till we have sons or daughters whom we feel imperatively obliged to control, the theory is unassailable.I have said elsewhere that Trollope talks to his readers.Isabel Boncassen was certainly a very pretty girl. I wish that my reader would believe my simple assurance. But no such simple assurance was ever believed, and I doubt even whether any description will procure for me from the reader that amount of faith which I desire to achieve. But I must make the attempt.Having now finished both of Trollope's series, I look forward to reading the other 30-something of his standalone novels. Some I have been given to understand are as good as those in his series and - hard as it is for me to believe - some are real stinkers. I guess I'll find out which is which.

  12. 5 out of 5

    John Frankham

    After reading the six Barsetshire novels, I've now finished the six Palliser novels. With this, the last one, I'm really bereft in saying goodbye to his characters and thoughts in these two magnificent series. There is, of course, in this volume, the problem the Duke has in connecting with his three children as they reach adulthood after the death of their mother? Trollope's detailed and knowing understanding and portrayal of the human predicament is just wonderful. But as a commentator on politi After reading the six Barsetshire novels, I've now finished the six Palliser novels. With this, the last one, I'm really bereft in saying goodbye to his characters and thoughts in these two magnificent series. There is, of course, in this volume, the problem the Duke has in connecting with his three children as they reach adulthood after the death of their mother? Trollope's detailed and knowing understanding and portrayal of the human predicament is just wonderful. But as a commentator on political life and duty he is incomparable - just as relevant today as he was in the 19th century. The Prime Minister and this last volume tell us all we need to know about the problems of being true to one's principles in the political and parliamentary hurly-burly.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary Durrant

    Loved this series of books and feel sad now it's come to an end. 'No-one probably, ever felt himself to be more alone in the world than our friend, the Duke of Omnium, when the Duchess died.' It was so sad when the Duchess died , the Duke being left with their three children. Silverbridge the eldest has been sent down from Oxford, Gerald isn't doing too well at Cambridge; Lady Mary is set on an unsuitable marriage. Wonderful scenes of fox hunting, parliament, horse racing and gambling! I loved this bo Loved this series of books and feel sad now it's come to an end. 'No-one probably, ever felt himself to be more alone in the world than our friend, the Duke of Omnium, when the Duchess died.' It was so sad when the Duchess died , the Duke being left with their three children. Silverbridge the eldest has been sent down from Oxford, Gerald isn't doing too well at Cambridge; Lady Mary is set on an unsuitable marriage. Wonderful scenes of fox hunting, parliament, horse racing and gambling! I loved this book which I've been totally engrossed in this past week. A fitting end to the series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Danvers

    Well, goodbye to the Palliser novels. I've learned a lot. I've learned that if you are a charming and beautiful woman, you will have many chances for your happily ever after. I've learned that if you are a bad man, you will come to an evil end. I've learned that if you are an unsympathetic woman, you will not get a husband and that if you are a woman who can't find a husband, you will eventually be found to be unsympathetic. I've learned that if you are a wealthy man with an old name you can be Well, goodbye to the Palliser novels. I've learned a lot. I've learned that if you are a charming and beautiful woman, you will have many chances for your happily ever after. I've learned that if you are a bad man, you will come to an evil end. I've learned that if you are an unsympathetic woman, you will not get a husband and that if you are a woman who can't find a husband, you will eventually be found to be unsympathetic. I've learned that if you are a wealthy man with an old name you can be expelled from Oxford and then, since you have no education and no trade, be elected to the House of Commons. I've learned that fathers may lecture their sons in Latin and that even Trollope will find that funny. I'm going to take a little break from Trollope before beginning the Barsetshire Chronicles, although I realized about halfway through the Palliser novels that the Barsetshire ones are (I think) chronologically earlier than the Palliser ones. But this has been such a delight. I'm so glad I finally read these and I'm looking forward to more Trollope.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan in NC

    Fascinating look at Victorian society and marriage in particular- I wasn’t sure I could enjoy a book in this series without the indomitable presence of Lady Glencora, but of course I was pulled right in. This final entry in the six-book story arc of the Pallisers starts up immediately after the previous book The Prime Minister; as the novel opens Lady Glen has just died, and the Duke of Omnium is forced to deal, on his own, with his young adult children. As is typical among the Victorian aristocra Fascinating look at Victorian society and marriage in particular- I wasn’t sure I could enjoy a book in this series without the indomitable presence of Lady Glencora, but of course I was pulled right in. This final entry in the six-book story arc of the Pallisers starts up immediately after the previous book The Prime Minister; as the novel opens Lady Glen has just died, and the Duke of Omnium is forced to deal, on his own, with his young adult children. As is typical among the Victorian aristocracy, young Lord Silverbridge (the heir) and Lord Gerald get into hijinx at University, and the fastidious Duke is forced to bail out the young men. Lady Mary Palliser, his only daughter, has apparently fallen in love with Frank Tragear, a penniless but dear friend of Silverbridge. The recently deceased Lady Glen apparently approved the match but hadn’t approached her proud husband about it before her last illness. I have always found the duke a fascinating character, and his marriage to Lady Glen heartbreaking; she joked in The Prime Minister that she should’ve been the man and he the woman, as she had a much thicker skin, and was more suited to the rough hurly burly world of politics. The Duke is fascinating to me because he is so fastidious and thin-skinned; he adored his vivacious wife but she overwhelmed his quieter, more introspective nature, and when he is left without her as his warm and tenacious barrier to all the world he is lost. He is betrayed and heartbroken at the idea of his daughter marrying a commoner who doesn’t have money. He feels it is a betrayal to his class and position; throughout these novels it has been abundantly clear that his title and position weighs heavily on him. Left to his own devices he would have gladly stayed a commoner slaving away in the Exchequer on his beloved decimal coinage. As always, Trollope’s portrayal of wealth and its role in Victorian marriage and society is fascinating.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I thought I was not going to read this book, because with Glencora dead, really what was to be hoped from it? I thought the previous five books were brilliant (except for the Eustace Diamonds which seemed like it was written by someone else) not just because of her, but certainly her spirit was the one that rescued the books from ordinariness. Certainly I love other characters and find them funny, but she is the one who shines out from the books with real life in her. And so with her gone, I tho I thought I was not going to read this book, because with Glencora dead, really what was to be hoped from it? I thought the previous five books were brilliant (except for the Eustace Diamonds which seemed like it was written by someone else) not just because of her, but certainly her spirit was the one that rescued the books from ordinariness. Certainly I love other characters and find them funny, but she is the one who shines out from the books with real life in her. And so with her gone, I thought the books which be much more like Middlemarch (bleeehhhhhhh). So, I sill like this book. Without her, the Duke is more nuanced and human. After all his moping and obsessing, now he's being a parent and having to be more than just a statesman and whipped husband, he's showing some character. And if Lady Mary isn't quite as interesting as her mother, wonderful Lord Silverbridge is the finest worthless aristocrat I've ever met.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    This book was another favorite (and the last) of the series for me. I loved how closely we grew to know and love the Palliser family. I loved how politics took a backseat to some unpredictable romances. And I loved how Trollope has become a new favorite Victorian author for me. I look forward to reading more of his works, perhaps starting with his autobiography. He was a postal worker, his mother (Frances Trollope) was an author, and he spent a good portion of his life in Ireland. I am so gratef This book was another favorite (and the last) of the series for me. I loved how closely we grew to know and love the Palliser family. I loved how politics took a backseat to some unpredictable romances. And I loved how Trollope has become a new favorite Victorian author for me. I look forward to reading more of his works, perhaps starting with his autobiography. He was a postal worker, his mother (Frances Trollope) was an author, and he spent a good portion of his life in Ireland. I am so grateful he was such a prolific writer--I can spend the rest of my life tracking down his works!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Anderson

    A wonderful novel giving me a lot to think about -- and some chuckles along the way. I have only read Books 5 and 6 in the Palliser series so there were a few characters reintroduced whom I didn't know or whose fortunes had changed since earlier books but that wasn't a problem. Customs are changing; young people are not following the advice of their elders and think they know best who to love and marry. Americans are beginning to come to England and mingle with the aristocracy. So much for the D A wonderful novel giving me a lot to think about -- and some chuckles along the way. I have only read Books 5 and 6 in the Palliser series so there were a few characters reintroduced whom I didn't know or whose fortunes had changed since earlier books but that wasn't a problem. Customs are changing; young people are not following the advice of their elders and think they know best who to love and marry. Americans are beginning to come to England and mingle with the aristocracy. So much for the Duke to try to adapt to. Will he? Will his children ever stop disappointing him -- or is he wrong to be disappointed? Are his two older children making disastrous choices of marriage partners -- or just different choices than he was allowed to make? These are some of the major themes but there is also the witty writing, the wonderful descriptions, a little 19th-century politics, some social history -- and the opportunity for the modern reader to reflect on the fact that some things never seem to change.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jake Bittle

    Finished the Palliser series. Anyone who has spoken to me in the last nine months won’t be surprised to know that I found this last book as delightful as the previous five.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John

    So sad that the Palliser series is finally finished and I can read no more of it for the first time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I think of Anthony Trollope like Thomas Hardy, but with a sense of humor. He definitely belongs to that category of Victorian writer who was wildly critical of class and gender hypocrisy of the period. Trollope tended to set all of his novels in the same fictional England; protagonists in one novel resurface as bit players in another novel. The plots weave in and out of each other. Taken as a whole, his fiction is amazingly intricate. And even taken one-by-one, they deserve a lot of artistic att I think of Anthony Trollope like Thomas Hardy, but with a sense of humor. He definitely belongs to that category of Victorian writer who was wildly critical of class and gender hypocrisy of the period. Trollope tended to set all of his novels in the same fictional England; protagonists in one novel resurface as bit players in another novel. The plots weave in and out of each other. Taken as a whole, his fiction is amazingly intricate. And even taken one-by-one, they deserve a lot of artistic attention...if the social issues they speak about have little relevance to us now. Trollope drew really three-dimensional characters and, something very rare for a male writer of his time period, this includes his female characters. None of Trollope's characters are straight heroes or villains; they all by turns make decisions against their better judgment, feel regret, paint or sorrow, consciously act against dominant social mores, forgive each other or do not, occasionally do brave or large-hearted things, tell the truth and lie - they behave just as real people do and are, consequently, likable and irritating, depending on the decisions they have just made in the novel. They are a fine remedy for stereotypes. The Duke's Children is an interesting portrait of a man who does not know how to demonstrate his considerable love for his children. Like most men of the period, especially wealthy ones, he kept his children at arm's length out of some sense of propriety, of what is best for them and of what is appropriate for himself to be engaged in, i.e., this is a period when men were not supposed to be overly concerned with "domestic" matters, a purview under which their own children would fall until adulthood. The novel opens with the death of the duke's wife. His three children are adults or nearly so, but they are practical strangers to him just as they are entering into ages when they will make decisions to affect the rest of their lives, like career choices and marriage partners. Moreover, they have come of age in a time period when class and gender expectations of behavior were beginning to change. So this novel really tells the story of an older man coming to terms with the changing world around him via the decisions of his children, of which he tends to disapprove. It's not fascinating, but it is entertaining and has a lot of heart. While Trollope here has not given you any characters as memorable as Augustus Melmotte from his The Way We Live Now, he has offered a number of very likable ones and it is still a pleasure to read about them.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    My favorite of the Palliser novels. Plantagenet Palliser, the recently widowed Duke of Omnium, a snob and a monster of rigid rectitude, has some very hard passages to make. His younger son looks like becoming a scapegrace indebted gambler. Elder son, heir to the Dukedom, is in love with an American when in his father's eyes he should be courting the high-born (and attractive) English rose that Plantagenet has destined for him. His only daughter has fallen for a title-less young man who's a thoro My favorite of the Palliser novels. Plantagenet Palliser, the recently widowed Duke of Omnium, a snob and a monster of rigid rectitude, has some very hard passages to make. His younger son looks like becoming a scapegrace indebted gambler. Elder son, heir to the Dukedom, is in love with an American when in his father's eyes he should be courting the high-born (and attractive) English rose that Plantagenet has destined for him. His only daughter has fallen for a title-less young man who's a thorough good egg. Things are going very wrong. This is a frequent scenario in Trollope (and of course in P.G. Wodehouse, who does not take it so seriously): the young person set on marrying someone who to the the former's parent(s) does not have either of the two redeeming features expected to trump love: bags of money or social status. Here we have the scenario doubled with the Duke in the middle of both. Most Trollope books end with young love requited and a general celebration as the oppositional older generation comes around. Relax, you'll get that in this entertaining book. Good sidelight on upper-class English attitudes towards charming American girls who are stealing their titled men. compare The Portrait of a Lady and some of the conversation in The Picture of Dorian Gray I've read the book twice, the only Palliser novel thus double-dipped.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    It's Trollope, so of course I adored it, but this book didn't draw me in they way the other Pallisers did. The loss of one of the most compelling characters in the series in the first chapter was a huge blow, but of course some of the new characters introduced were quite engaging in themselves and it was a pleasure to become better acquainted with the Duke. Less excusable was the last line of the book--it was hard enough knowing there would be no further Palliser novels, but to be left more or l It's Trollope, so of course I adored it, but this book didn't draw me in they way the other Pallisers did. The loss of one of the most compelling characters in the series in the first chapter was a huge blow, but of course some of the new characters introduced were quite engaging in themselves and it was a pleasure to become better acquainted with the Duke. Less excusable was the last line of the book--it was hard enough knowing there would be no further Palliser novels, but to be left more or less dangling?! I think I expected something more along the lines of the resolution to the Barchester series. Nevertheless it was an excellent novel, all my criticisms seem to be emotionally driven.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Free download available at Project Gutenberg. Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David

    I was never as in love with Lady Glencora as other admirers of the Palliser series ... and yet it still struck me that killing her off in the first sentence was a bit of a gamble. But it's Trollope and he knew exactly what he was doing. Fabulous! Bits I liked (including spoilers): "No doubt by degrees that idea which he at first entertained was expelled from his head,—the idea that she had been cognisant of the whole thing before she came to Matching; but even this was done so slowly that there wa I was never as in love with Lady Glencora as other admirers of the Palliser series ... and yet it still struck me that killing her off in the first sentence was a bit of a gamble. But it's Trollope and he knew exactly what he was doing. Fabulous! Bits I liked (including spoilers): "No doubt by degrees that idea which he at first entertained was expelled from his head,—the idea that she had been cognisant of the whole thing before she came to Matching; but even this was done so slowly that there was no moment at which he became aware of any lessened feeling of indignation.” “'A girl needn't love a man unless she likes it, I suppose. She doesn't tumble into love as she does into the fire.'” “The young man's ideas about politics were boyish, but they were the ideas of a clear-headed boy. “ "'He reads by steam, and he has two or three young men with him to take it all down and make other books out of it;—just as you'll see a lady take a lace shawl and turn it all about till she has trimmed a petticoat with it. It is the same lace all through,—and so I tell father it's the same knowledge.' 'But he puts it where more people will find it.'" "'Would you mind coming up to the temple?' he said. 'What temple?' 'Oh such a beautiful place. The Temple of the Winds, I think they call it, or Venus;—or—or—Mrs. Arthur de Bever.' 'Was she a goddess?' 'It is something built to her memory. Such a view of the river! I was here once before and they took me up there. Everybody who comes here goes and sees Mrs. Arthur de Bever. They ought to have told you.' 'Let us go then," said Miss Boncassen. "Only it must not be long.' 'Five minutes will do it all.' Then he walked rather quickly up a flight of rural steps. 'Lovely spot; isn't it?' 'Yes, indeed.' 'That's Maidenhead Bridge;—that's—somebody's place;—and now I've got something to say to you.' 'You're not going to murder me now you've got me up here alone?' said Miss Boncassen, laughing. 'Murder you!' said Dolly, throwing himself into an attitude that was intended to express devoted affection. 'Oh no!' 'I am glad of that.' 'Miss Boncassen!' 'Mr. Longstaff! If you sigh like that you'll burst yourself.' 'I'll—what?' 'Burst yourself!' and she nodded her head at him. Then he clapped his hands together, and turned his head away from her towards the little temple. 'I wonder whether she knows what love is,' he said, as though he were addressing himself to Mrs. Arthur de Bever. 'No, she don't,' said Miss Boncassen. 'But I do,' he shouted, turning back towards her. 'I do. If any man were ever absolutely, actually, really in love, I am the man.' 'Are you indeed, Mr. Longstaff? Isn't it pleasant?' 'Pleasant;—pleasant? Oh, it could be so pleasant.' 'But who is the lady? Perhaps you don't mean to tell me that.' 'You mean to say you don't know?' 'Haven't the least idea in life.' 'Let me tell you then that it could only be one person. It never was but one person. It never could have been but one person. It is you.' Then he put his hand well on his heart. 'Me!' said Miss Boncassen, choosing to be ungrammatical in order that he might be more absurd. 'Of course it is you. Do you think that I should have brought you all the way up here to tell you that I was in love with anybody else?' 'I thought I was brought to see Mrs. de Somebody, and the view.' 'Not at all,' said Dolly emphatically. 'Then you have deceived me.' 'I will never deceive you. Only say that you will love me, and I will be as true to you as the North Pole.' 'Is that true to me?' 'You know what I mean.' 'But if I don't love you?' 'Yes, you do!' 'Do I?'" "'I mean to get married some day, so that I shouldn't be made love to any longer.' 'I hope it will have that effect,' said the father. 'Mr. Boncassen!' ejaculated the mother." "On the next morning they started at seven. Dobbes had determined to be cross, because, as he thought, the young men would certainly keep him waiting; and was cross because by their punctuality they robbed him of any just cause for offence." "'I thought we were talking about what was pretty to look at.' 'So we were. I'm as fond of pretty things as anybody. Do you know Reginald Dobbes?' 'No, I don't. Is he pretty?' 'He used to be so angry with Silverbridge, because Silverbridge would say Crummie-Toddie was ugly.' 'Was Crummie-Toddie ugly?' 'Just a plain house on a moor.' 'That sounds ugly.' 'I suppose your family like pretty things?' 'I hope so.' 'I do, I know.' Lord Popplecourt endeavoured to look as though he intended her to understand that she was the pretty thing which he most particularly liked. She partly conceived his meaning, and was disgusted accordingly." "'When they came into my bedroom that morning and told me that the horse could not run, I thought I should have broken my heart. Seventy thousand pounds gone!' 'Seventy thousand pounds!' 'And the honour and glory of winning the race! And then the feeling that one had been so awfully swindled! Of course I had to look as though I did not care a straw about it, and to go and see the race, with a jaunty air and a cigar in my mouth. That is what I call hard work.'" "he persevered with the godless dissenters at great length,—not explaining, however, how a man who thought enough about his religion to be a dissenter could be godless, or how a godless man should care enough about religion to be a dissenter." "'My dear Father, Among us all we have managed to return Tregear. I am afraid you will not be quite pleased because it will be a vote lost to your party. But I really think that he is just the fellow to be in Parliament. If he were on your side I'm sure he's the kind of man you'd like to bring into office. He is always thinking about those sort of things. He says that, if there were no Conservatives, such Liberals as you and Mr. Monk would be destroyed by the Jacobins. There is something in that. Whether a man is a Conservative or not himself, I suppose there ought to be Conservatives.' The Duke as he read this made a memorandum in his own mind that he would explain to his son that every carriage should have a drag to its wheels, but that an ambitious soul would choose to be the coachman rather than the drag." "Here has been a terrible nuisance. Last night some of the men got to playing cards, and Gerald lost a terribly large sum to Percival. I did all that I could to stop it, because I saw that Percival was going in for a big thing. I fancy that he got as much from Dolly Longstaff as he did from Gerald;—but it won't matter much to Dolly; or if it does, nobody cares." "'Do you know anything of her family?' 'I think I know all about her family. It is not much in the way of—family.'" "Do you recognise no duty but what the laws impose upon you? Should you be disposed to eat and drink in bestial excess, because the laws would not hinder you? Should you lie and sleep all the day, the law would say nothing! Should you neglect every duty which your position imposes on you, the law could not interfere! To such a one as you the law can be no guide. You should so live as not to come near the law,—or to have the law to come near to you. From all evil against which the law bars you, you should be barred, at an infinite distance, by honour, by conscience, and nobility. Does the law require patriotism, philanthropy, self-abnegation, public service, purity of purpose, devotion to the needs of others who have been placed in the world below you? The law is a great thing,—because men are poor and weak, and bad. And it is great, because where it exists in its strength, no tyrant can be above it. But between you and me there should be no mention of law as the guide of conduct. Speak to me of honour, of duty, and of nobility; and tell me what they require of you." "On his arrival he was told of Tregear's accident. 'Oh, Gerald; have you heard?' said his sister. He had not as yet heard, and then the history was repeated to him. Mary did not attempt to conceal her own feelings. She was as open with her brother as she had been with Mrs. Finn. 'I suppose he'll get over it,' said Gerald. 'Is that all you say?' she asked. 'What can I say better? I suppose he will. Fellows always do get over that kind of thing. Herbert de Burgh smashed both his thighs, and now he can move about again,—of course with crutches.' 'Gerald! How can you be so unfeeling!' 'I don't know what you mean. I always liked Tregear, and I am very sorry for him. If you would take it a little quieter, I think it would be better.' 'I could not take it quietly. How can I take it quietly when he is more than all the world to me?' 'You should keep that to yourself.'" "There is nothing so comfortable as money,—but nothing so defiling if it be come by unworthily; nothing so comfortable, but nothing so noxious if the mind be allowed to dwell upon it constantly. If a man have enough, let him spend it freely. If he wants it, let him earn it honestly. Let him do something for it, so that the man who pays it to him may get its value. But to think that it may be got by gambling, to hope to live after that fashion, to sit down with your fingers almost in your neighbour's pockets, with your eye on his purse, trusting that you may know better than he some studied calculations as to the pips concealed in your hands, praying to the only god you worship that some special card may be vouchsafed to you,—that I say is to have left far, far behind you, all nobility, all gentleness, all manhood!" "It is good to be beautiful, but it should come of God and not of the hairdresser." "We have had a pretty difficult task, that of carrying on a government in a new country, which is nevertheless more populous than almost any old country. The influxions are so rapid, that every ten years the nature of the people is changed."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe Kraus

    So I went to see how Trollope was going to wrap up the six-volume Palliser series, and out broke a WASP version of Fiddler on the Roof. In fashion too predictable in retrospect, Trollope starts this novel with the death of our old friend the Duchess of Omnium. Her husband, now widowed, is out of his depths when it comes to directing their children to find spouses. He is, as we’ve seen over the six novels, a model of decency and hard work, but that’s come at the price of his comfort in front of ot So I went to see how Trollope was going to wrap up the six-volume Palliser series, and out broke a WASP version of Fiddler on the Roof. In fashion too predictable in retrospect, Trollope starts this novel with the death of our old friend the Duchess of Omnium. Her husband, now widowed, is out of his depths when it comes to directing their children to find spouses. He is, as we’ve seen over the six novels, a model of decency and hard work, but that’s come at the price of his comfort in front of others. Glencora always handled that side of things – from the moment way back when he won her as his wife by showing he valued her more than his work in parliament. Without her, he can’t comfortable negotiate what will happen with their oldest – also named Plantagenet Palliser but always known by his title, Silverbridge – and youngest, the Victorian ideal Mary. Silverbridge is inclined to marry Mabel Grex, a perfect specimen of the upper-crust with the exception that she has no money. Then he meets a gorgeous American, Emily Boncassen, and he gets his head turned. Like a proto-Prince Henry on meeting Meghan Markle, he’s smitten. Mary is in love with Silverbridge’s best friend, Frank Treager, who looks like the perfect gentleman except for that fact that – in ways I don’t understand since he is also Mabel’s cousin – he’s of insufficient breeding. And broke as well. Each child tries to persuade Palliser that he should allow them to marry as they choose. It’s all very stiff-lipped and British, but underneath is some real emotion. The perpetual question – asked from many angles – is whether someone blessed with wealth and station must also bear the obligation of marrying to sustain that class. Can the future Duke of Omnium marry an American whose grandfather was a common laborer? Can a Duke’s daughter/sister marry a commoner who comes without money? Given the general conservative nature of Trollope’s world view – and given that Glencora gave up her own desire to marry the wrong man when we met her in Can You Forgive Her – I figured the Duke would eventually get his way with at least one child and be shown to have been right in the weight he placed on breeding. Instead, [SPOILER:] to my surprise and general satisfaction, he relents in both cases and shows himself – as his sons put it – as much a “brick” as ever. (That’s a good thing in late 19th Century slang, I guess.) Like a ducal Tevye, he realizes the world is changing and that he can’t stand in the way of his children’s happiness without killing at least some of the spirit that he wants to protect in them, a spirit he recognizes as coming from his departed Glencora. On balance this moves a bit slowly, but it cuts out the “B-plot” that we see in many of the other Palliser novels since it’s dealing with two siblings in such parallel circumstances. I can’t quite declare it as great, but I certainly enjoy it, and I find myself regretting that there are no more Palliser chronicles to read. By this late point in his career, Trollope has such a deep feel for the novel that, awkward junctures in narrative sequence aside, you know you’re in the hands of someone who’s been this way before. (And, for what it’s worth, Sholem Aleichem would write his Tevye the Dairyman only a little more than a decade later.) Most of this is finally conventional, though, with the singular and intriguing exception of Mabel Grex. At the start, she seems the heart of a wannabe Dangerous Liaisons sub-plot. It’s clear from the start that she loves Frank above all others. They’d have married immediately if not for their mutual poverty. So, for a time each encourages the other in seeking a marriage with the Duke’s children. They love one another, but they need the Duke’s money to survive. Frank eventually shifts his emotions. While he always cares for Mabel, he comes to love Mary even more. It’s sappy and conventional, and part of it is accomplished by a signature awkward physical accident (not a robbery in this case) that Trollope throws us when Frank is nearly killed in a hunting accident. Still, we’re left knowing that paladin-like Frank should make Mary happy. Mabel never stops loving Frank, though. Even when she knows she has Silverbridge in her grasp, she acknowledges only that she likes him. That’s better than the disdain she feels for all other men than Frank, but it’s not the same. At one [SEMI-SPOILER:] moment, she compels Silverbridge to come to her so she can hit him with the truth that she never loved him at all. He fell for her maybe, but it was never reciprocal. By the end, when she comes to regret that she didn’t take Silverbridge when she could, she suffers the fate of all women who play the marriage game and lose in a Trollope novel: she becomes aged, nearly infirm at 25. (Not really, I think. I picture her as perfectly healthy and independent, losing only the simpering innocence that that world so prized.) There’s something compelling and sympathetic about her – though I’m not sure Trollope wants us to feel it as I do. She’s made her choice, lost, and yet she seems to have retained her pride. She wanted only to marry Frank and live as gentry in the only world she knows. When the best she could get was a compromised version of that, she rejects it all. So that’s where I am as the Palliser novels end. Our main characters are ultimately too flat to care much more about. Mabel Grex, though, sounds as if she has an interesting story we don’t get to see.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    Another fantastic Anthony Trollope novel, and the ninth one I’ve read so far. A duke is trying to get his children to “marry well,” which means they have to look beyond money, character, and education, to . . . to what? To rank, it turns out. The duke wants to preserve the aristocracy by making his children marry people of rank, so they can carry on their lives of idleness by living off the labor of others. So when his daughter wants to marry a young man she loves, even though he’s a gentleman, Another fantastic Anthony Trollope novel, and the ninth one I’ve read so far. A duke is trying to get his children to “marry well,” which means they have to look beyond money, character, and education, to . . . to what? To rank, it turns out. The duke wants to preserve the aristocracy by making his children marry people of rank, so they can carry on their lives of idleness by living off the labor of others. So when his daughter wants to marry a young man she loves, even though he’s a gentleman, her dad forbids it, because he doesn’t have that elusive “rank.” Likewise the duke’s son wants to marry an American girl who’s rich and beautiful, but, heaven forbid, her grandfather was a day laborer! As the wife of a future duke, she will someday become a duchess, which is absolutely unthinkable if she doesn’t come from a “quality” family. I think Anthony Trollope himself wanted to raise questions about the British aristocracy. Why should they live in luxury generation after generation, without having to work, just because they were born into privileged families? I’m sure all that has changed now, because otherwise, Megan Markle never could have married Prince Harry. Or was there a big debate over that? I don’t know, because I don’t follow the lives of “quality” people.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A fabulous story, although rather heavy-going initially. It took me ages to separate Mary and Mabel, but once I fully comprehended the full who’s who and their relationships, all fell into place and the novel thereafter had me gripped right until the very last word. I exclaimed an audible ‘Yes!’ when the Duke at last gave his consent. So many apparent similarities with certain notorious antics of politicians in 2019 too! NB: Anyone who has ever canvassed for an election will particularly revel i A fabulous story, although rather heavy-going initially. It took me ages to separate Mary and Mabel, but once I fully comprehended the full who’s who and their relationships, all fell into place and the novel thereafter had me gripped right until the very last word. I exclaimed an audible ‘Yes!’ when the Duke at last gave his consent. So many apparent similarities with certain notorious antics of politicians in 2019 too! NB: Anyone who has ever canvassed for an election will particularly revel in Chapter 55 - the setting could so easily have been a 2019 Parliamentary hustings rather than 1879!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carolynn Markey

    I loved "Can you ever forgive her" my first taste of Trollope. Imagine my surprise when I ordered this book without any research and found it to be about the same family, the Pallisers!! I was shocked. A bit of googling lead me to see that this was the sixth book (6th!!) about them, and I had read the first. Well, I went ahead and read this out of order and I loved it. Loved! (view spoiler)[ I think he would have been happier with Lady Mable for sure, and I am very sad about how her tale ended. I loved "Can you ever forgive her" my first taste of Trollope. Imagine my surprise when I ordered this book without any research and found it to be about the same family, the Pallisers!! I was shocked. A bit of googling lead me to see that this was the sixth book (6th!!) about them, and I had read the first. Well, I went ahead and read this out of order and I loved it. Loved! (view spoiler)[ I think he would have been happier with Lady Mable for sure, and I am very sad about how her tale ended. (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Having watched these characters across thousands of pages and 20 in-universe years it stings to know I've reached the end. The last of the Palliser novels lacks the tension and suspense that characterize the previous ones, in part because we've seen so much from Trollope here, 15 volumes in, that we have an idea how certain situations will resolve. Nevertheless, some great characters here—Lady Mab, who can't quite look past the injustice of her situation to do the things she knows it compels her Having watched these characters across thousands of pages and 20 in-universe years it stings to know I've reached the end. The last of the Palliser novels lacks the tension and suspense that characterize the previous ones, in part because we've seen so much from Trollope here, 15 volumes in, that we have an idea how certain situations will resolve. Nevertheless, some great characters here—Lady Mab, who can't quite look past the injustice of her situation to do the things she knows it compels her to do, and Plantagenet Palliser himself chief among them.

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