"One evening call," said he, "is worth ten in the morning. It's all formality in the morning; real social talk never begins till after dinner."
In an attempt at reading Barchester Towers a year or two ago, I realized that it was the second book in a series. And while I knew that I could read it out of order, my little, orderly book-loving heart would be happier with reading the first book, well, first.
Cue the new Penguin English Library editions and their wonderful inclusion of the entire Barsetshire series (not all are published right now, just the first two). I immediately ordered both of them and waited for them to arrive on my doorstep (I am in love with the covers-they are designed by the same woman who did the clothbound covers. Yes, I have an obsession).
I dove into The Warden not really knowing what to expect. I haven't read any other Trollope, so I wasn't sure whose style he was closest to or what to expect.
Basically, The Warden is about the will of John Hiram. In Hiram's will, he left behind funds to support a warden and 12 needy men. The funds were distributed according to need and the men were supposed to be able to live and be supported by the Church and the warden. Now, years later, there is unease in the two about how much the warden, Harding, is actually being paid and how much money the 12 men are getting. Harding is caught in the middle of the kerfuffle and there is uproar against the Church for abusing funds and against Harding for being a greedy old man.
Now, while I enjoyed the story and thought it was a great introduction to Trollope, I have to complain about the amount of rambling Trollope decided to throw in. For a book of only 240 pages...well, there was too much fluff. Trollope would be discussing a conversation that was about to happen..and then, oh look, birds out the window! Or, the men would be gathering to talk about how they want more money to live off of each year and then...oh yay, a tree! A glorious tree! Look at how it has been here since the beginning, how it reminds us all of the generosity of Hiram. Don't you know that Hiram, that noble, generous man, was the one who donated the money? What a glorious man!
And on and on.
After awhile, I just accepted the fact that Trollope would, you know, trollope along (yes, I used his name as a verb). I fell into Trollope's rhythm and eventually began to enjoy it. :) So, my complaining was for naught.
I was also in love with one of the main female characters, Eleanor...
I loved her passion and drive, and her desire to make things better for her father when everyone began to harass him. She was a spirited little thing and I really loved her as a person. She did what she needed to do to protect her family-that's admirable.
(And on a side note, I really love the name Eleanor).
Anyway, this was a great introduction to Trollope, and while it didn't blow me away...I enjoyed it. I chuckled a few times and while Trollope got trollopy, I want to move on and read the next book in the series. :)