Last year, I must've been churning through Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire series and through his Palliser series, for I rated Phineas Redux high enough to want to return to it in a year's time. Well, I've got plans to get down with 'Can you forgive her?', which is the 1st book in the Palliser series. But before I get through this one, I've got a few words to say about 'Orley Farm', which I just finished reading. Trollope, not one to be modest where his own scribbles are concerned, considered this book to be the best of the bunch. I'm tempted to side with him by saying that this is a rather good book. I have only one fault to make with Trollope's writing, but I shouldn't really lay the blame on him, but on British society at that time in history. If they had come up with other forms of diversion at that time, Trollope would have probably employed these other diversions. I can't blame the artist for the scenery being bad.
Anyway, I was enjoying 'Orley Farm' and along came a damned fox-hunt scene! Dickens, preferring the bleakness of poverty or sturdiness of the middle-class, rarely, if ever, dragged a fox-hunt into his works. Trollope is overly fond of throwing a fox-hunt into his books when he wants to take a break from the main plot and ventures into a romance between some young buck and a fresh, unspoiled young maiden. This time, one of the lordlings broke his leg and a few ribs while hunting the fox, and he spent a lot of time recuperating on a couch and mooning over the lady of the household. I was pretty pleased that it was one of the hunters who ended up getting hurt. The fox gets the short end of the stick, don't you think? Also, none of the horses got hurt, which is also a good thing.
Apart from the dreary fox-hunt as sub-standard sub-plot advancement device, the main plot was very good. I got into the story pretty early on, and found myself a little disappointed when I learned that the main character, whom I was cheering for, turns out to be guilty. I should've known this would happen. Every sapient creature has the capacity for good and evil, and this character was no different. I was pleased enough with the outcome of the book, though. It was a resolution, which any good writer should shoot for. I would've like a somewhat better outcome for the main character, but bad things happened to the 'bad guys' in the book, so there was something for everyone.
All in all, though I won't return to 'Orley Farm' in a year's time, I do recommend it. BYE.
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