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The Warden, published in 1855, is the first book in Anthony Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire series of six novels. It was his fourth novel. The Warden concerns Mr Septimus Harding, the meek, elderly warden of Hiram's Hospital and precentor of Barchester Cathedral, in the fictional county of Barsetshire. Hiram's Hospital is an almshouse supported by a medieval The Warden, published in 1855, is the first book in Anthony Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire series of six novels. It was his fourth novel. The Warden concerns Mr Septimus Harding, the meek, elderly warden of Hiram's Hospital and precentor of Barchester Cathedral, in the fictional county of Barsetshire. Hiram's Hospital is an almshouse supported by a medieval charitable bequest to the Diocese of Barchester. The income maintains the almshouse itself, supports its twelve bedesmen, and, in addition, provides a comfortable abode and living for its warden. Mr Harding was appointed to this position through the patronage of his old friend the Bishop of Barchester, who is also the father of Archdeacon Grantly to whom Harding's older daughter, Susan, is married. The warden, who lives with his remaining child, an unmarried younger daughter Eleanor, performs his duties conscientiously. (Wikipedia)


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The Warden, published in 1855, is the first book in Anthony Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire series of six novels. It was his fourth novel. The Warden concerns Mr Septimus Harding, the meek, elderly warden of Hiram's Hospital and precentor of Barchester Cathedral, in the fictional county of Barsetshire. Hiram's Hospital is an almshouse supported by a medieval The Warden, published in 1855, is the first book in Anthony Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire series of six novels. It was his fourth novel. The Warden concerns Mr Septimus Harding, the meek, elderly warden of Hiram's Hospital and precentor of Barchester Cathedral, in the fictional county of Barsetshire. Hiram's Hospital is an almshouse supported by a medieval charitable bequest to the Diocese of Barchester. The income maintains the almshouse itself, supports its twelve bedesmen, and, in addition, provides a comfortable abode and living for its warden. Mr Harding was appointed to this position through the patronage of his old friend the Bishop of Barchester, who is also the father of Archdeacon Grantly to whom Harding's older daughter, Susan, is married. The warden, who lives with his remaining child, an unmarried younger daughter Eleanor, performs his duties conscientiously. (Wikipedia)

30 review for The Warden

  1. 4 out of 5

    J

    There is tranquility in a second-hand bookshop. Libraries are quiet because they must be. This is different. A kind of peace. Whatever it is, it suits me. I feel at home. It could just be the dust. Anyway, there I was kneeling in the art books, pulling them out and pushing them back. Have it, read it, not interested… I made my way down the row that way and swung round to continue on the shelf behind me. It was low. It was low and I am short and - on hands and knees - I still had to bend down to There is tranquility in a second-hand bookshop. Libraries are quiet because they must be. This is different. A kind of peace. Whatever it is, it suits me. I feel at home. It could just be the dust. Anyway, there I was kneeling in the art books, pulling them out and pushing them back. Have it, read it, not interested… I made my way down the row that way and swung round to continue on the shelf behind me. It was low. It was low and I am short and - on hands and knees - I still had to bend down to see. I was Carter making the tiny breach into Tutankhamun's tomb. "Yes, I see wonderful things." Little books. Little books that fit in my hands. Little books that fit in my pocket. Little books that fit under my pillow at night. Rows of little books running along the wooden floor of the bookshop like a literary baseboard. I wondered what perverse person put them there. A brilliant short person, no doubt. I imagined them laughing maniacally: Bwahaha! Finally! Tall people will need us! Obviously this is more about the gold and green 1902 volume next to me than the story inside. You can read about that anywhere. The Warden is the first of the much loved Chronicles of Barset, first published in 1855. The theme of the book is the clash of ancient privilege with modern social awareness. Blah, blah, blah… What no one else can tell you is this: It is the exact size of my hand! How fantastic is that? The exact size! It was made (and re-bound by Alison Leakey, so states the inside cover) for me!! These are the things I love about it: #1 #2 There’s a small stain on page 329. Tea. I know exactly what caused it.   When the archdeacon left his wife and father-in-law at the Chapter Coffee House to go to Messrs Cox and Cumming, he had no very defined idea of what he had to do when he got there. Gentlemen when at law, or in any way engaged in matters requiring legal assistance, are very apt to describe such attendance as quite compulsory, and very disagreeable. The lawyers, on the other hand, do not at all see the necessity, though they quite agree as to the disagreeable nature of the visit; gentlemen when so engaged are usually somewhat gravelled at finding nothing to say to their learned friends; they generally talk a little politics, a little weather, ask some few foolish questions about their suit, and then withdraw, having passed half an hour in a small, dingy waiting-room, in company with some junior assistant-clerk, and ten minutes with the members of the firm; the business is then over for which the gentleman has come up to London, probably a distance of a hundred and fifty miles. To be sure he goes to the play, and dines at his friend’s club, and has a bachelor’s liberty and bachelor’s recreation for three or four days; and he could not probably plead the desire of such gratifications as a reason to his wife for a trip to London.   Married ladies, when your husbands find they are positively obliged to attend their legal advisers, the nature of the duty to be performed is generally of this description. Shocking. No, I’m telling you, it had nothing to do with the warden resigning. The chapter’s titled The Warden Resigns, for crying out loud. The warden resigning can’t have been a surprise. But something made a long-ago reader’s tea splash over the edge of the cup and onto the page. Only this page. Was it disbelief? Or recognition? Perhaps a married lady suddenly remembering: I have GOT to get to my lawyer. #3 There are pages where every line begins with a single quotation mark. Sometimes it goes on for two or three pages. Every single line. Although Trollope was a great lover of punctuation (a semicolon on every page – sometimes as many as six), I don’t think this was what he had in mind. Clearly the typesetter is trying to get my attention. Page 228, with its 30 quotation marks (and 4 extremely hot semicolons), is a serious poke in the eye to, well, pretty much everyone: government, church hierarchy, and especially journalists. Noted. Thank you. Highlighted by 100 single and seemingly meaningless quotation marks, pages 320-323 contain Mr Septimus Harding’s resignation letters and give you the man’s character in a nutshell. It’s like Cliffnotes by Typesetters. The whole point of the book in a few pages. So why bother to read the rest? #4 Because it’s fun, that’s why. Trollope knows people and his characters are memorable. Yes, they have ridiculous names that make me laugh, but that’s the intention. It’s satire. Playfulness with a point. I did wonder if being an American who knows nothing of 19th century church politics would make the story less accessible or even irrelevant to me. Would I get the jokes? Yes, it’s accessible. It’s written in a realistic style and I didn’t need anyone to explain the archdeacon setting the scene as if he were writing a sermon, locking the door, and pulling Rabelais from a secret drawer. My only question is what else was in that secret drawer. Yes, it’s relevant. People haven’t changed. And yes, I got the jokes. At least I think I did. If not, I was laughing at something or Trollope was laughing at me and either way I don’t really care; it was fun. God, I love semicolons.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Petra-X

    Very enjoyable book that is concerned about people putting their great big feet in puddles before ascertaining their depth! It's very cleverly worked out and contains just the amount of love and romance to drive the plot forward. Like most of Trollope's Barchester series, it is somewhat a comedy of manners and more enjoyable for that. Recommended to those who like the classics and have a certain fondness for schadenfreude (even though they know they shouldn't).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Book Circle Reads 155 Rating: 3.5* of five Good, solid Victorian stodge. The kind of book you read when you're glutted with silly, vapid "reality" stuff and need a bit of the reality fiction of its day. My review lives on my blog, out of reach of data-deleting megacorps.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I have finally introduced myself to Anthony Trollope, and I can say with a smile that I am very happy to have made his acquaintance. A friend suggested I start with "The Warden" and I believe it to be advice well-taken. The Warden of this novel is Mr. Harding, a kindly and good man, who is overseer to a group of bedesmen whose care has been provided for in the will of a long-deceased gentleman. The church tends the property left in the will and provides for the care of the men out of the I have finally introduced myself to Anthony Trollope, and I can say with a smile that I am very happy to have made his acquaintance. A friend suggested I start with "The Warden" and I believe it to be advice well-taken. The Warden of this novel is Mr. Harding, a kindly and good man, who is overseer to a group of bedesmen whose care has been provided for in the will of a long-deceased gentleman. The church tends the property left in the will and provides for the care of the men out of the proceeds, which works quite well until someone decides that the church and Mr. Harding are getting more from the arrangement than the men themselves. What might be seen as a simple matter and one in which determining right and wrong is simple as well, proves to be a more complicated issue in the hands of Trollope. He gives us the myriads of grey that always accompany such disputes and he refuses to offer us a villain on which can be hung the blame that would so easily justify us in taking a stand for one side or the other. He makes us think and he makes us choose and he shows us clearly that whichever choice we make, it will not be for godly good or satanic evil but for human judgment, which is flawed. I very much enjoyed this novel. It moved quickly and held my interest while still causing me to pause and ponder. I saw much in it that I could easily identify in current situations, politics and the machinations of the press have not changed as much as we like to think. I will be reading the next book in the series, which I am assured is an even more delightful novel. Thank you, Mr. Trollope, for being so patient in waiting for my promised visit to your world. I am pleased to say it will only be a few weeks and I will gladly call on you again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    If you are British and in your 40s, your word-association answer for "Anthony Trollope" may well be "John Major". A GR friend in the same decade of life also begins his review of The Warden by mentioning the former Prime Minister. If you were much younger than us, you wouldn't have been taking enough notice of political news in the early to mid-1990s to see the journalistic jokes about Major's reading habits; if you were older and interested in classic literature, you'd already heard of Trollope If you are British and in your 40s, your word-association answer for "Anthony Trollope" may well be "John Major". A GR friend in the same decade of life also begins his review of The Warden by mentioning the former Prime Minister. If you were much younger than us, you wouldn't have been taking enough notice of political news in the early to mid-1990s to see the journalistic jokes about Major's reading habits; if you were older and interested in classic literature, you'd already heard of Trollope and formed some sort of opinion in the pre-Major years. Whilst I always thought Major seemed like a fairly nice bloke (though I know some people won't conscion separating that from any of a politician's policies) - and with historical hindsight I'd say he was underrated at the time as a manager of his party and as a political negotiator- he was the ultimate byword for uncoolness and dullness, so to be seen to take his recommendations for culture when aged under 60 (and maybe even then …) had such embarrassment associated that, even now it is as if one's teenage self and student friends awoke after cryogenic freezing to roll their eyes and laugh, and you know the friends will rib you for months, if not years. But you know what, teenage me, you're now over 40 and you *still* haven't read all the authors mentioned in The Divine Comedy's The Booklovers - and you need a minimum of one Trollope novel to right that. And you're a regular on a big website where lots of people, especially Americans, think it's quite normal to read Trollope, and this John Major association means nothing to them. As it turns out, Robin Gilmour's introduction to this Penguin Classics edition shows why Trollope would appeal to someone like Major, although it was written in 1984, some years before his rise to the Cabinet. (Incidentally, the Oxfords seem to be better editions if you are serious about Trollope: they are newer, include extra material, such as the Barsetshire short story in their edition of The Warden - plus they make a lovely set with the covers all using Victorian wallpaper designs. The shorter Penguin edition made sense for me, though, as I wanted to get the book finished quickly for a reading challenge; it hampered this slightly with too many notes that turned out to be nothing but dictionary definitions of words.) Trollope was both outsider and insider - the poorest boy in his class at major public schools Harrow and Winchester (when fees weren't as high relative to incomes as they are now), often bullied, and no academic star either. Unlike Dickens whose response to childhood poverty was outspoken reformism, Trollope was more interested in fitting in, trying to have a quiet life, and in understanding everyone whatever side they were on. As a state-educated moderate Tory whose only qualifications were O-Levels and a correspondence course, he stood out at a time when public school and Oxbridge was even more of a norm in the party than it is now, and, like Trollope does in this book, he gave an impression of prioritising reasonable solutions and truce above conflict and hardline opinion. For these same reasons, it's easy to see how Trollope became increasingly appealing to middle-aged and older people in the 2010s, feeling unmoored amid the continual storm of high-conflict social media and polarised politics, where what once seemed like core moral principles of compromise, understanding and respect don't always apply any more. Most of the Trollope fans I've noticed online are American. There are still some British people I can't imagine conceding that it might actually be worth reading Trollope. Gilmour refers to a tradition of English literary snobbery about Trollope, which gives further context for this and for the way in which Trollope became another way to make jokes about Major (fitting with the image of him as a wimp like the guy in the old Mr Muscle cleaning product ads, and caricatured wearing underpants over his trousers). And Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, the writer of the song that e v e n t u a l l y led me to read Trollope, was Irish, therefore perhaps with some disdain for English shibboleths. I wrote the first couple of paragraphs above before I'd read more than two chapters of The Warden. Now, having read the whole novel, I'm a convert, and my reasons for not reading Trollope seem like a silly fossil. Trollope does have some weak points - several character names seem like someone treading unimaginatively in Dickens' footsteps, and the archdeacon's children seemed like illustrations of a schema the author had chosen for their personalities, not like real kids. From this, I can still understand why a fair number of people don't consider him as being in the first rank. The subject of The Warden is arcane - a controversy over the excessive pay for an ancient church sinecure, running what would now be called supported accommodation for elderly men; complicated by the fact that the recipient is a good person doing his job well - so it's evident why this is not the best place for everyone to start reading the Barsetshire series, even if it is first novel, and short to boot. But for me at least, it was a case of right reader + right book. If you have worked for pay in the charity / non-profit sector, it may well be interesting for the dilemmas it presents. Other interests that can help one get the most out of it include English church history, certain areas of law, with the eye for detail involved in legal work, and the behaviour of the press and social media. I am still surprised how many recent readers are 'meh' about The Warden though, because it is just so relevant to the last point. It is all about achingly contemporary topics like unearned privilege, calling out and how people do that and respond to it and live with one another in the aftermath, and the potential psychological toll of being pilloried in the press (or a Twitter pile-on). It is easy for a contemporary novel about these things to be too on-the-nose - but make it about a different time and an unusual subject, and it becomes fresh and interesting to think about again. (Were cases like Septimus Harding's wardenship a hackneyed subject for journalism at the time the novel was published?) The relatively moderate behaviour of every character who sees the problem with the sinecure might be annoying to more radical readers, if they were to pick up the novel at all. But it also made me wonder if this is what it might be like if more people adopted Ibram X. Kendi's suggestion of treating racism not as one of the worst possible accusations, but a common - in the sense of both frequent and collective - problem to be highlighted and worked on. (I think a good analogy for this is if people treated it as some are now starting to treat environmentally destructive behaviour - but then I live in a country which doesn't have a significant proportion of climate change deniers, and most people I'm close to take the issue seriously and don't live extravagant lifestyles.) I'm finding more than ever this year that I don't rate novels primarily for their endings - those seem a relatively unimportant small fraction of their contents. This is one such - although the ending is relatively more palatable to those who are cynical about the possibility of sweeping progressive change, beyond individual choices with limited impact. Obviously, the particular type of sinecure highlighted in the novel has disappeared, so reformers like Harding's potential son-in-law John Bold were successful in the long run - it can happen. (And women like the warden's daughters now have their own careers.) But sinecures still exist in other fields, such as directorships maintained by a system of "if we don't pay them millions, someone else will". Swings and roundabouts. There is also just something I click with about Trollope's writing. His apparent wish to understand everyone, including those on different sides, strikes a chord - something that wouldn't have seemed so noticeable if I'd read this years ago, before this became a contentious thing to recommend, and before I learned it wasn't actually a universal democratic value that just about everyone was working towards on some level, even if they found it difficult in the moment. After making Archdeacon Grantly the villain of the piece for 90% of the novel, towards the end he writes paragraphs about the positive aspects of the man - it reminded me a lot of how I might sound off to a friend about someone they don't know, then feel compelled to explain their good qualities. Gilmour mentions that Trollope is considered a writer of communities, yet when you look closely, many of the most memorable scenes are of solitary characters and their thoughts, of puzzling over exactly how to interact with people. My favourite episode in the novel was one such solitary one - when Septimus Harding hightails it to London to see the lawyer (actually the Attorney General) before Grantly can beat him to it. I had never expected this author, or this character, to produce scenes that felt somehow, so much like my own experience. I've never been an aged vicar, nor met the Attorney General - whether intentionally, or naively as Harding does in assuming him to be like any other solicitor - and Victorian late-night supperhouses [description here] don't exist any more (though taxi drivers' caffs did 10-15 years ago). I think something of what chimed was the way it turns out okay. Perhaps it is simply a great scene of navigating a city, and killing time there, alone. So I would, actually, if time and circumstances allow, like to read more Trollope - though there are many authors I want to read whom I've still never read once, and who therefore get priority. Perhaps if there's an occasion when I'd once have felt like picking up yet another Charles Dickens novel, I might try Trollope instead. And I don't think anyone is more surprised by that idea than I am. (Read December 2019; reviewed Dec 2019-Jan 2020)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    I'm going to clamp down my opening paragraph with a SPOILER! because I reveal in generalities how the book ends...which is kind of important I guess. (view spoiler)[Who doesn't love a happy ending? Apparently Anthony Trollope. I didn't realize how use to them I've become, because I was pretty surprised when it happened. Surprises in books are usually a good thing, but here it felt flat. (hide spoiler)] The Warden is the tale of a man who took his due and then developed a guilty conscience over it. I'm going to clamp down my opening paragraph with a SPOILER! because I reveal in generalities how the book ends...which is kind of important I guess. (view spoiler)[Who doesn't love a happy ending? Apparently Anthony Trollope. I didn't realize how use to them I've become, because I was pretty surprised when it happened. Surprises in books are usually a good thing, but here it felt flat. (hide spoiler)] The Warden is the tale of a man who took his due and then developed a guilty conscience over it. Septimus Harding is the warden of an almshouse in the English countryside. He's got a cushy gig and he's aware of it. He isn't a greedy man, taking more than what's been given him, in fact he gives more than is necessary. One day question arises over the legality of his preferment. This gnaws away at Mr. Harding's conviction in his right to accept money that should perhaps go to the old men he cares for, even after it's discovered that by all appearances, he is in the right. Anthony Trollope pours the woe upon his main character, directing his emotional trajectory steadily south. The modern day plot with its climax waves and big finish are not applied here. The story, while entertaining enough, is rather flat. Trollope's writing felt similar to Charles Dickens without so much of the caricature style that makes Dickens' characters so larger than life and sometimes larger than can be believed. Although he does go in for giving his character entirely too appropriate names: Bold, Towers, Haphazard. It's done purposefully, just as Trollope also felt the need to create a fictitious town and county name. Having just finished Willa Cather's My Antonia with its marvelously subtle yet exacting character sketches that make the reader feel as if those people really did exist, Trollope's technique seems ridiculous and unnecessary. I don't want to leave you with that as my last word on Trollope's work. I don't find the book itself ridiculous and unnecessary. On the contrary, the writing on the whole is marvelous, if stilted by the style so often adopted during the Victorian era. The Warden is a great study in human nature and the affect morals can have on one's decisions. I do plan to read more Trollope. This book may not have been pure joy from start to finish, but it is worthy reading.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    The Warden a somewhat melancholic story of Septimus Harding, Church of England clergyman in the fictitious cathedral town of Barchester (Winchester in reality). Britain during the middle of the 19th century and (the first of the six novels in this highly acclaimed series by Anthony Trollope) this quiet little city exists, because of the majestic cathedral while being dominated by the dedicated clergy . In 1434 a wealthy merchant by the name of Mr. John Hiram died, and left in his will land to The Warden a somewhat melancholic story of Septimus Harding, Church of England clergyman in the fictitious cathedral town of Barchester (Winchester in reality). Britain during the middle of the 19th century and (the first of the six novels in this highly acclaimed series by Anthony Trollope) this quiet little city exists, because of the majestic cathedral while being dominated by the dedicated clergy . In 1434 a wealthy merchant by the name of Mr. John Hiram died, and left in his will land to support twelve retired old men from Barchester. A hospital: nursing home was to be built the church to administer it by appointing a warden, that will cause problems in the future. Four hundred years later property values soar and the rents also. There's more money than is needed to take care of the aged dozen. Harding the warden, is a kindly cleric who loves the poor men and receives a princely sum of 800 pounds a year, for the sinecure job. Trouble begins when Dr. John Bold the local reformer, tells the influential newspaper, The Jupiter (The London Times obviously). Harding is attacked by this powerful, important paper the scandal causes him great emotional distress. Family ties complicate the awkward situation, Septimus daughter Eleanor is in love with Bold.The warden's older daughter Susan is married to Archdeacon Grantly , the bishop's son and the power behind the throne, still more complications the bishop is about to retire. Grantly is an ambitious intelligent man also , a traditionalist, defends church privileges, he believe in its sanctity. Harding's best friend, is the bishop he gave him the do nothing job. After much soul searching, everybody loves titles the warden decides to resign and accept poverty, a not very modern concept. However unexpectedly, the hospital will become vacant after the old men are gone. The entertaining , surprisingly riveting book about church politics and clergymen's struggles, from long ago. People of different religions or none at all can and will enjoy this, I did.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dhanaraj Rajan

    I am not sure what to write of as a review. To escape such confused state, it is better to state everything in bullets. - It is a story of a man who listens to his conscience even when it means to lose everything (most of all, his income). - It is a story of wonderful relationships: the friendship between the Warden and the Archbishop; the filial affection between a father and a daughter (the Warden and his daughter, Eleanor); challenging love between lovers (Eleanor and Bold); a fascinating I am not sure what to write of as a review. To escape such confused state, it is better to state everything in bullets. - It is a story of a man who listens to his conscience even when it means to lose everything (most of all, his income). - It is a story of wonderful relationships: the friendship between the Warden and the Archbishop; the filial affection between a father and a daughter (the Warden and his daughter, Eleanor); challenging love between lovers (Eleanor and Bold); a fascinating relationship between a father-in-law and a son-in-law (the warden and his first son-in-law, Dr. Grantly). - It is about 19th century Church politics (especially the Church of England). - It is about the abuse of charity funds by clergy which was a great discussion point in Trollope's time. Overall, it is a lovely story written in a superb language. I loved the language and Trollope's habit of addressing the reader once a while. This edition also has a wonderful introduction by Robin Gilmour and he has rightly indicated at the opening of introduction that it is meant for those who have read the novel. That was a great service. I just skipped it and went direct for the novel (I am a new reader) and after the completion when I read the introduction I was wonder struck by very many remarkable points analysed. Had I read it earlier, I would have neither understood the analysis nor have enjoyed the novel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A gentle story about unexpected clerical upheaval in an English town. I loved Trollope’s distinction between grandiose, abstract ideas about justice and our small choices that reflect how we personally define it. There are figures on both sides of the main conflict who believe they know what’s definitively “right,” but it’s only the warden of Barchester who casts his idea of “right” in an individual light. I’ve heard this is nowhere near Trollope’s best, and I’m not surprised (as it was pleasant A gentle story about unexpected clerical upheaval in an English town. I loved Trollope’s distinction between grandiose, abstract ideas about justice and our small choices that reflect how we personally define it. There are figures on both sides of the main conflict who believe they know what’s definitively “right,” but it’s only the warden of Barchester who casts his idea of “right” in an individual light. I’ve heard this is nowhere near Trollope’s best, and I’m not surprised (as it was pleasant but not especially memorable), but I enjoyed this one and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    Here's proof that you can read a Trollope during a cross country flight. That's a testament to the quality of Trollope's writing as well as the unusual brevity of this story. Still, there were a handful of wonderfully developed characters and a display of what the English language can be. Here's just a brief example: In the world Dr. Grantly never lays aside that demeanor which so well becomes him, He has all the dignity of an ancient saint with the sleekness of a modern bishop; he is always the Here's proof that you can read a Trollope during a cross country flight. That's a testament to the quality of Trollope's writing as well as the unusual brevity of this story. Still, there were a handful of wonderfully developed characters and a display of what the English language can be. Here's just a brief example: In the world Dr. Grantly never lays aside that demeanor which so well becomes him, He has all the dignity of an ancient saint with the sleekness of a modern bishop; he is always the same; he is always the archdeacon; unlike Homer, he never nods. You have to smile at those last three words. You really have to.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    I’ve been on Goodreads for nearly two years now (where has the time gone?) yet I’m doing something for the very first time with this book: reading something Goodreads has recommended to me! I’ve read lots of books that were recommended to me by my GR friends but this is the first one I’ve read that was recommended by GR itself. To paraphrase Amazon: You liked Oliver Twist so you may also like The Chronicles of Barchester (of which this is the first book). Well, Goodreads, I am happy to say that I’ve been on Goodreads for nearly two years now (where has the time gone?) yet I’m doing something for the very first time with this book: reading something Goodreads has recommended to me! I’ve read lots of books that were recommended to me by my GR friends but this is the first one I’ve read that was recommended by GR itself. To paraphrase Amazon: You liked Oliver Twist so you may also like The Chronicles of Barchester (of which this is the first book). Well, Goodreads, I am happy to say that you were right: I did enjoy this book, so thanks for the recommendation! It was no Oliver Twist… not by a country mile… but it was a thoroughly enjoyable book. The irony of this recommendation, of course, is that Trollope has a bit of a dig at Dickens in this book, so I’m not sure what he would have thought of me finding his book due to my loving Charlie-Boy! Trollope’s message in The Warden seems to be that all these namby-pamby social reformers (of which Dickens was the poster boy) should just leave well alone because society is fine as it is and they’ll only make things worse. Personally, I couldn’t disagree with this message more, knowing what I do of some of the horrors of British life in the time of Trollope and Dickens, but I’ll be damned if Trollope’s opposing political views were going to stop me enjoying his writing! My beliefs are robust enough to take a good poking every now and then and it’s a well worthwhile poking when it’s done by an author who writes as well as Trollope. His work is very readable and really witty. I was particularly enamoured of his asides ‘to camera’ as it were. Breaking the fourth wall always tickles me and Trollope does it really well but, importantly, doesn’t overdo it. My only complaint about this book is that the plot is overly simplistic. I know Trollope’s goal was to write a short novel (he says as much in one of his fourth-wall pummellings) but a low page count doesn’t have to mean an extremely basic plot, does it? Despite this quibble, I definitely enjoyed The Warden enough to want to carry on with the series, so I declare this experiment with taking Goodreads’ recommendation to be a success!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Umut Rados

    This was my first Trollope, but surely won't be the last. I loved it. I'm so glad people say this is the slowest, and most dry of the Barsetshire chronicles, because even I liked this book a lot. Trollope is a writer with a character, he makes fun remarks sometimes in the middle of the story from himself, which makes it unique to him. I really liked his style and looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    This was only my second book by Trollope, but I was surprised by how easy and often witty a read it was! There were bits that felt a little plodding, and frankly the plot itself is hardly going to be an action movie, but as a piece of satire, it was clever and well-paced. Looking forward to the next book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire:-) Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  14. 5 out of 5

    TheSkepticalReader

    Other then Septimius’ character and a few tidbits here and there, this was boring as fuck. I realize that that isn’t the most appropriate criticism but ultimately, that was still my reaction to this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    This is a conservative book and not simply because former Conservative British Prime Minister John Major enjoyed Trollope. The Warden's abiding message of 'if only everything had been left well alone, left the way things were in the first place, everything would have been better' must place it amongst the top ten most conservative books ever written. Surely even Edmund Burke would take his hat off to The Warden. The only possible note of potentially positive, yet obviously pernicious change, is This is a conservative book and not simply because former Conservative British Prime Minister John Major enjoyed Trollope. The Warden's abiding message of 'if only everything had been left well alone, left the way things were in the first place, everything would have been better' must place it amongst the top ten most conservative books ever written. Surely even Edmund Burke would take his hat off to The Warden. The only possible note of potentially positive, yet obviously pernicious change, is that the boy gets the girl. But Reader, be of good cheer, for had John Bold held the right and proper beliefs and the correct outlook of a true gentlemen he doubtless would have married fair Eleanor without shaking that very English social tree, grown in the rich soil of tradition and bestowing its fruits in a correct, limited and most appropriate manner! Interesting to note the role that Trollope has "The Times" play in this drama in a provincial town, and Trollope's line is very much 'fake news!' ie that a 'reforming' newspaper is just playing identity politics stirring up all kinds of mischief through misrepresenting the true story - that everything is fine, the only problem are the people complaining. All of which reminds me that this is the age when the railway makes possible the sale of London daily papers in the county towns. I find that the reader can play a fun game with Trollope guessing how the novel is going to play out based on the surnames of characters. Also I like to reflect on how Trollope as a senior post office employee in Ireland accepted bribes for the award of the post contract for carrying the mail to and fro the mainland, which adds a certain something to his depiction of Victorian society.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    The 1st Barchester novel. More political than Barchester Towers and with a much smaller cast. Mostly concerning the validity (or otherwise) of Mr Harding's generous remuneration for being warden of Hiram's Hospital and how that debate affects the burgeoning relationship between his younger daughter Eleanor, and the campaigning John Bold. Interestingly "modern" twist of layers of stories: the basic plot is a parody of real events and in the story a fictionalised Dickens (Mr Popular Sentiment) The 1st Barchester novel. More political than Barchester Towers and with a much smaller cast. Mostly concerning the validity (or otherwise) of Mr Harding's generous remuneration for being warden of Hiram's Hospital and how that debate affects the burgeoning relationship between his younger daughter Eleanor, and the campaigning John Bold. Interestingly "modern" twist of layers of stories: the basic plot is a parody of real events and in the story a fictionalised Dickens (Mr Popular Sentiment) writes a story on the same theme!

  17. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Classics Cleanup Challenge #5 Audio #153 This may be my first Trollope. He’s much more sedate than say, Dickens or Maugham, but still engrossing. I look forward to reading more of his works.

  18. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    Activists and budding political strategists of all stripes should read 'The Warden' by Anthony Trollope. The plot revolves around characters who are ideologically opposed to each other. We would label the antagonists conservatives and progressives today. They do combat with each through the media (newspapers) and England's House of Lords of 1855 (when the book was published), but caught in the middle are unsophisticated non-political small-town villagers of England, interested only in community Activists and budding political strategists of all stripes should read 'The Warden' by Anthony Trollope. The plot revolves around characters who are ideologically opposed to each other. We would label the antagonists conservatives and progressives today. They do combat with each through the media (newspapers) and England's House of Lords of 1855 (when the book was published), but caught in the middle are unsophisticated non-political small-town villagers of England, interested only in community and marriage. The concepts of class equity and fairness are pitted against institutional survival, and I was reminded once again organizing a majority is key to change. This novel is my first Trollope, and I was pleasantly surprised! He writes like a polite mannered Charles Dickens. There isn't any subterranean growl and bite to him as Dickens has, despite his topic of the intersection of power and class, of personal morality and built-in institutional injustice. He simply wrote like the kind of journalist who does a lightweight local interest piece, while yet including all of the circumstances which leads to an inference of the Truth. 'The Warden' is the first in a series of novels called the Chronicles of Barsetshire. (I have not read the others - yet!) Although the books apparently revolve around employees of the Church of England and the small-town people of the imaginary village parish of Barsetshire, this particular novel was in response to an actual ongoing scandal. The Church was the beneficiary of financial gifts from centuries ago, set up by dying Church members who possessed savings and land they willingly donated to the Church in their wills. Often, the wills set up certain conditions for how the Church should use the donated money and land, which was usually for the benefit of orphans, or the elderly, or ex-soldiers, and the like. However, pious believers could not see the future. Land which had been undeveloped farm and woods later would become valuable real estate; and business earnings and rents which had been set up to be distributed in an equitable and sane dispersal for the maintenance of the Church's activities and the poor instead ended up in a 90-10% split decades later, with the majority percentage of earned annual funds ending up as churchmen salaries. The poor would barely receive any money for survival benefits, like housing-clothes-food, while Church employees lived like aristocrats on huge salaries. Many church jobs were sinecures. The Warden, Mr. Harding, is a simple non-political village Church employee. He is profoundly grateful for his sinecure, given him by his brother-in-law, the conservative archdeacon Dr. Grantly, and his friend the bishop - of which the job is being in charge of a nearby group of apartments for twelve uneducated old men, set up by John Hiram's will of a hundred years ago. The old men are not assigned any money at all, just housing and food. Harding is not at all political, but he has become morally uncomfortable on occasion when he picks up his 800 pounds a year, and living in the nice house bequeathed by Hiram for whoever is assigned as Warden. However, Harding is happy for his youngest daughter, Eleanor, who is in love with the rich surgeon, John Bold, local progressive. Harding does not at all ever take into consideration Bold's politics, or any kind of politics, for the matter. Until Bold tells him he has contacted the largest newspaper about the Warden's unfair, maybe illegal, and definitely immoral 'job'. Bold tells Harding to get a lawyer, as Bold has retained a lawyer to prosecute the Church over Harding's job. Eleanor, when she hears of what Bold has done, must choose between her love for her innocent father and the well-meaning Bold. Grantly is shocked by the attack on the Church and its dignity as well as the prospect of having Bold as a brother-in-law, while the old men fear for the loss of their apartments and, belatedly, losing the kindly Harding, who actually gives them a small monthly stipend out of his own pocket. What will happen? Tears, gentle reader, lots of tears. This is a story based on reality, not a sweetened cozy, despite the emphasis on manners and polite society. I highly recommend this quick read, even if Trollope does dump a load of disapproval on the muckracking newpaper.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    3.5 stars. My first Trollope. I was warned not to start with this one, as it is a bit dry, and that's no lie. It is all about church politics and there is a Point, and at times, you are beaten over the head with it until you lose the will to press on. But then that chapter ends, and Trollope moves back into the lives of the Warden and his surrounding family and friends, and things pick up again. The audio narrator for my library's cd copy was Simon Vance, who did a wonderful job. He changes 3.5 stars. My first Trollope. I was warned not to start with this one, as it is a bit dry, and that's no lie. It is all about church politics and there is a Point, and at times, you are beaten over the head with it until you lose the will to press on. But then that chapter ends, and Trollope moves back into the lives of the Warden and his surrounding family and friends, and things pick up again. The audio narrator for my library's cd copy was Simon Vance, who did a wonderful job. He changes voices so smoothly and his intonations help the reader move through some of the more difficult passages at a faster pace. Although this wasn't a book to adore with each page turned, by the time I finished, I had come to know and love many of the characters in the Barchester community and I'm very excited to continue on with the series to the second volume, which I hear is a goodie: Barchester Towers. Really looking forward to that one. I want to once again thank Katie, a booktuber at Books and Things (https://www.youtube.com/user/thesilve...) , for capturing my heart so much with her review of The Small House at Allington, (which is either the fourth or fifth volume in this series), that I decided to finally try Trollope. It'll be quite the adventure reading to that point in the series, and I'm looking forward to it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I've always resisted the idea of Trollope. But this book has changed my opinion. It's a kind, generous, humane book--generous to a fault. I've never seen a book where the concluding chapter tells you the bad guy isn't really as bad as he seems. The writing is mostly clean and simple: more like Jane Austen (though not as clever) than Thomas Carlyle (who is parodied in one of the book's less memorable moments), or even Dickens. The story of a weak, easily-led Anglican clergyman who is driven by I've always resisted the idea of Trollope. But this book has changed my opinion. It's a kind, generous, humane book--generous to a fault. I've never seen a book where the concluding chapter tells you the bad guy isn't really as bad as he seems. The writing is mostly clean and simple: more like Jane Austen (though not as clever) than Thomas Carlyle (who is parodied in one of the book's less memorable moments), or even Dickens. The story of a weak, easily-led Anglican clergyman who is driven by his conscience to resign an 800 pound/year sinecure is a profile in courage where least expected.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    Poor Warden. What did he do to deserve to be treated so cruelly? An innocent man, accused of misallocating funds from the inheritance of the hospital that he administrates, faces litigation from his future son in law. The Warden’s story is such a tragedy. So much so that many Trollope readers consider this to be the worst story in the Barchester Chronicles series. Well, I do agree that this story suffers from simplicity. Fortunately it was written by Anthony Trollope so what it loses in Poor Warden. What did he do to deserve to be treated so cruelly? An innocent man, accused of misallocating funds from the inheritance of the hospital that he administrates, faces litigation from his future son in law. The Warden’s story is such a tragedy. So much so that many Trollope readers consider this to be the worst story in the Barchester Chronicles series. Well, I do agree that this story suffers from simplicity. Fortunately it was written by Anthony Trollope so what it loses in substance it makes up for in style and clever narration. Next up is Barchester Towers which is supposedly a vastly superior continuation of this famous Victorian era series.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Diem

    That went much too quickly. I'm afraid I ate it in the manner called Full American: as rapidly as possible without pausing even to breathe. I kid, of course. But, only sort of. I had already read this book for a literature class in college, theoretically. That is, I answered many essay questions about it and may have even written about it in a paper. However, there is nothing familiar in it that suggests I ever actually opened the book. My loss entirely. It is marvelous. If you read it for no That went much too quickly. I'm afraid I ate it in the manner called Full American: as rapidly as possible without pausing even to breathe. I kid, of course. But, only sort of. I had already read this book for a literature class in college, theoretically. That is, I answered many essay questions about it and may have even written about it in a paper. However, there is nothing familiar in it that suggests I ever actually opened the book. My loss entirely. It is marvelous. If you read it for no other reason than to witness Trollope's savage evisceration of Charles Dickens that would be time well spent. And, though I do like Dickens I cannot disagree with Trollope's criticisms. You'll see and decide for yourself. As a kind of counter-argument to Dickens, Trollope's characters are fully realized. They are neither very good nor very evil. They are like real people who can be a befuddling amalgam of the best and worst traits of the breed. Though, truth be told, most people are just a beige and lumpy pudding of the mediumest blandness of humanity without the slightest hint of good or evil to add some flavor. Sidebar: the women here tend to remain caricatures and play only an ancillary role. Not a judgment, just an observation. Summation: the writing is the perfect balance of elegant and economical. The narrative is clean and all story arcs are well resolved. The characters are charming and well-rounded. The plot is constantly moving forward with infrequent pauses for pedagogical meandering. I will be back for more.

  23. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    This has been called the perfect novel. No arguments here. When I first read it, I was incapable of discerning the Warden’s high ethical standards. With each subsequent reread, Trollope's subtle message has worn away at my materialistic veneer. May I suspect I am not alone? Yet I still find myself siding with the kindly Bishop or the Warden’s older daughter when it comes to surrendering the entire income. But after 18 years of knowing this text, I like to hope that faced by his challenge I would This has been called the perfect novel. No arguments here. When I first read it, I was incapable of discerning the Warden’s high ethical standards. With each subsequent reread, Trollope's subtle message has worn away at my materialistic veneer. May I suspect I am not alone? Yet I still find myself siding with the kindly Bishop or the Warden’s older daughter when it comes to surrendering the entire income. But after 18 years of knowing this text, I like to hope that faced by his challenge I would prove worthy of taking the high road. The Warden is my Hero and this little book could—should be the basis of any Ethics class. Up from 4 to 5 stars. April 14, 2000: I remember how frustrated I was when I discovered (midway through Barchester Towers) that it was the second book in the series. The Warden is the first. It's nowhere near as good as Barchester Towers and if you're only going to read one by Trollope, or think you might have trouble reading him because he's a 19th century author, then by all means read BT--it is hilariously funny. The Warden is not. It's a more serious statement by Trollope--part satire on the Church of England, part attack on the reformers, but mostly a deep look at one man's private drama of conscience. The shortest of the six books in the series and after BT, my favorite. Started: 10 April 2000

  24. 4 out of 5

    classic reverie

    In deciding my reading focus for 2018, I decided to read several series and Anthony Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire was choosen, and of course I started with the first, "The Warden." This is my third Trollope and having fairly recently read his first book "The Macdermots of Ballycloran" (which remains my favorite thus far) and "The Way We Live Now." I am going into this series blind, meaning I have not read anything on these stories but that they are placed in Barsetshire. I soon found out In deciding my reading focus for 2018, I decided to read several series and Anthony Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire was choosen, and of course I started with the first, "The Warden." This is my third Trollope and having fairly recently read his first book "The Macdermots of Ballycloran" (which remains my favorite thus far) and "The Way We Live Now." I am going into this series blind, meaning I have not read anything on these stories but that they are placed in Barsetshire. I soon found out it was about a church warden of a small hospital, his family and a grievance placed on his position. With his other books, I seemed to read the chapters faster than this one which is actually quite shorter and that is probably more to the drama, adventure and romance angle of the other two. Usually those factors increase my speed but here there was less of that and more contemplating of what is right regarding the hospital and the legacy. At one point a romance angle peeked out and soon after returned to the warden. I finished and took a step back and realized that even missing those factors, this was such an interesting and insightful story. I look to see how this series plays out. While I was reading, I found several passages where Trollope comments on Dickens and Radcliffe (he spells it Ratcliffe) "Mrs Ratcliffe’s heroines, and still be listened to. Perhaps, however, Mr Sentiment’s great attraction is in his second-rate characters. If his heroes and heroines walk upon stilts, as heroes and heroines, I fear, ever must, their attendant satellites are as natural as though one met them in the street: they walk and talk like men and women, and live among our friends a rattling, lively life; yes, live, and will live till the names of their calling shall be forgotten in their own, and Buckett and Mrs Gamp will be the only words left to us to signify a detective police officer or a monthly nurse. " I have many favorite authors which Trollope is one, as well as Dickens and Radcliffe. He says her "hero may talk much twaddle" and " possessed of every virtue. " I love her twaddle and virtue ridden books as well as Dickens look into social problems. I have no idea about Trollope and his contemporary Dickens feelings about one another but they have more in common than not. Since Trollope brought up a character in "Bleak House", both Dickens and himself are no fans of the justice system. Another quote which seems to point to Dickens, "and the radical reform which has now swept over such establishments has owed more to the twenty numbers of Mr Sentiment’s novel, than to all the true complaints which have escaped from the public for the last half century. " It is quite funny because as he states this, in the books of his I have read there is a message about society which he conveys to the reader. I always find other authors comments about a fellow writer noteworthy. There is a complicated and not easily decided answer, what is for the best in the end. I read the Delphi collection of his work where you can see highlights and public comments, if you are interested, that will not give the story away.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible. This is the first novel in the Barchester Chronicles—attentive friends may remember that I listened to the second novel, Barchester Towers, first, loved it and then found it was the abridged version (grrrr) and decided to go back to the beginning and listen to the whole series, unabridged. There are several different audio versions available, and after listening to the samples I opted for this one, narrated by David Shaw-Parker who does a nice job. It’s Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible. This is the first novel in the Barchester Chronicles—attentive friends may remember that I listened to the second novel, Barchester Towers, first, loved it and then found it was the abridged version (grrrr) and decided to go back to the beginning and listen to the whole series, unabridged. There are several different audio versions available, and after listening to the samples I opted for this one, narrated by David Shaw-Parker who does a nice job. It’s a simple enough story: clergyman Septimus Harding is living a peaceful life as the Warden of a hospital (a sort of charity home) for old, indigent men. It’s a nice job with few responsibilities and a fat stipend, allowing Mr. Harding to live as a gentleman and support his single daughter Eleanor. But then reformer John Bold (who happens to be Eleanor’s sweetheart) starts asking questions about the legacy that set up the hospital in the first place, and why the Warden lives so well when the old men only receive a small payment. The newspapers start paying attention, and poor Mr. Harding (who’s been supplementing the old men’s living out of his own pocket) has to choose between giving up his comfortable life or putting up with the glare of publicity brought about by a lawsuit. Trollope’s sympathies seem to be squarely on the side of tradition in this story, which was inspired by a number of cases brought against clergymen who were living too well. Having just listened to Barchester Towers (which, of course, I shall be listening to again soon in the unabridged version) I was surprised to realize how closely the two novels are connected—if you’re going to read Barchester Towers, generally considered Trollope’s greatest novel, you should doubtless read The Warden first. Being Trollope there’s a great deal of legal and political detail, interspersed with character sketches at some length. At one point we follow Mr. Harding through just about every minute of a difficult afternoon spent in London, which is hard going even though for the historian it does supply an enormous amount of detail about how people actually lived. It’s during this day that Trollope also goes into a long riff on the power of the press, which is decidedly tedious. In today’s terms, this novel’s got a bit of a saggy middle. And yet I enjoyed the story on the whole, and the audiobook format definitely makes it easier to digest. I’m looking forward to revisiting Barchester in the near future.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    3.5 What is any public question but a conglomeration of private interests?" After nearly ten years of wanting to read this novel, and try Trollope, I have finally managed it. I don't know why I was so hesitant. This is a good Victorian novel, admitedly not my favourite, but worth reading nonetheless. The story revolves around the question of the possible misuse of charitable funds.The reformerside is personalised by Mr. Bold, while the holder of the warden position is Mr Harding.Both sides are 3.5 What is any public question but a conglomeration of private interests?"  After nearly ten years of wanting to read this novel, and try Trollope, I have finally managed it. I don't know why I was so hesitant. This is a good Victorian novel, admitedly not my favourite, but worth reading nonetheless. The story revolves around the question of the possible misuse of charitable funds. The reformer side is personalised by Mr. Bold, while the holder of the warden position is Mr Harding. Both sides are shown very well, personal and social spheres included. Trollope also adds many complicating elements to the equation. Mr Harding is a genuine and caring person, doing his job with heart, while Mr Bold is not a bad person per se, but rather someone who gets taken by his ideals without considering what this battle will mean or grow into. He is actually a friend of the current warden and in love with his daughter! Trollope didn't just focus on the Church either; other institutions were also scrutinised such as the Press. Mostly, what comes across again and again is that behind good intentions there are many people more interested in their own interests then on rectifying possible wrongs. Through his writing, the author made me feel the plight of the poor warden and his situation. His main characters were well drawn, full of realistic contradictions and quirks. Many scenes and descriptions, such as the ones of the party, or Mrs Grantly's discussion with her husband, were delightful and not devoid of humour.  I look forward to the next instalment of the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was a little slow-going at first and felt a bit repetitive. After the midpoint I was more invested in the story, though, and was surprised by the end. I'm not sorry I read this, though I'm looking forward to the hopefully more enjoyable books in the rest of the Chronicles of Barsetshire. Side note on this edition: for some reading OWC has included a short story "The Two Heroines of Plumpington" after The Warden, but this short story takes place after the sixth book in the series. I can This was a little slow-going at first and felt a bit repetitive. After the midpoint I was more invested in the story, though, and was surprised by the end. I'm not sorry I read this, though I'm looking forward to the hopefully more enjoyable books in the rest of the Chronicles of Barsetshire. Side note on this edition: for some reading OWC has included a short story "The Two Heroines of Plumpington" after The Warden, but this short story takes place after the sixth book in the series. I can think of no rational reason to include the last story directly after the first book in a series except they didn't want The Warden to have so thin a spine and didn't know where else to include the short story. I won't get to that story for at least a year, after I've finished the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nita Kohli

    The Warden is the first book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire that is regarded as Anthony Trollope's finest work. This book was first published in 1855 and is set in the fictitious province of Barsetshire and is a story of a clergyman in cathedral town of Barchester. Book Cover As goes for all the classics, the cover is beautiful. So, no complaints here. Plot The story is of Septimus Harding, a clergymen who is living a peaceful and happy life as a Warden of Hiram's Hospital and as the precentor of The Warden is the first book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire that is regarded as Anthony Trollope's finest work. This book was first published in 1855 and is set in the fictitious province of Barsetshire and is a story of a clergyman in cathedral town of Barchester. Book Cover As goes for all the classics, the cover is beautiful. So, no complaints here. Plot The story is of Septimus Harding, a clergymen who is living a peaceful and happy life as a Warden of Hiram's Hospital and as the precentor of Barchester Cathedral. He has two daughters - Susan who is married to bishop's son Dr. Grantly and Eleanor who is single but in love with a young reformist, John Bold. Hiram's Hospital is supported by charity and this income maintains this almhouse and supports its twelve bedesmen(in this book old men who could no longer support themselves and are ill). Mr. Warden performs his duty well and takes care of these men. He treats them as his friends and often meets them every evening. The happy state of affair is disturbed when John Bold starts questioning the legacy and how the money is being used for the welfare of hospital's bedesmen. He exposes the big disproportion in Mr. Harding's fat stipend and the money received by the twelve bedesmen. Soon, this news becomes talk of the town and Mr. Harding who has not done any thing wrong in his life becomes a villain who lives a luxurious life with the money that is meant to help the poor bedesman. Characters Trollope has created characters that are memorable and these characters will remain with you for one reason or the other for a long time. The characters are so real for they have weakness, flaws and dilemmas that one will come across in real life. Mr. Harding or the Warden is quiet and loves music. He has done no wrongs in his life but finds himself in centre of a controversy so bad that it threatens to bring disgrace to his name and I could not help but feel sorry for poor Mr. Harding. He performed his role of Warden well and did not by any means try to misuse the charity income. Though he did not question the fat stipend he was getting. But, who does that? There was one time when I got annoyed with him.I am a very practical person and I make decisions based on what my mind says is correct rather than what my heart does. So, I got really irritated with the Warden for his decision taken on a whim. The step that he wants to take may appear correct to his conscience but which I, like other characters in this book, found irrational. But, later in the book, I did agree with him. Dr. Grantly may appear a villain to most but at times I did agree with him but I did find his methods too drastic and his speech pungent. John Bold, well, had he not been there, Mr. Harding and the twelve bedesmen would have led a peaceful life. But, when he tries to set things right, its too late and the matter is out of his hands. What I like I enjoyed this book to a great deal though I was apprehensive in the beginning as I had no idea of the church and its dealings in England in the Victorian Times. When I started reading it, I feared I might not understand it at all. But, I was absorbed in this book pretty soon. The story keeps its readers entertained. As, I said before, the characters in this book are memorable and one can feel for them and can connect with them. This was my first book from Trollope and I liked his writing style though some may find it slow. What I liked about his writing is that sometimes he starts talking directly to his readers. He will ask you questions or will give you details while addressing you directly. I personally like this but I know people who find this a turn off. The other thing that stands out in this book and something which I have never seen in a book before, is that there is a chapter towards the end of the book where the author tells its reader that the bad guy in this book is not as bad as he appears. The author puts forward the positive traits of the 'supposed' villain giving justification that he indeed is a good guy but unfortunately what comes across of him in this story appears to be bad. This was rather a unique style of Trollope and it put a smile on my face. What I did not like For most part I enjoyed the book but there were two parts in one of which he talks about the power of press and in the other about his day spent in London that I found rather monotonous. A lot of pages were devoted to these and I felt it was not required to talk about them in so much detail. But, one can neglect this as the book otherwise is great. My final thoughts on the book The book is a must read for all the book lovers and especially the ones who love classics. A delightful read and I plan to read other books in this series for sure. Do pick it up if you come across this book. For this and my other book reviews, please visit www.book-choose.com

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dawnie

    this is one of those books that always reminds me of the lord of the rings. not because they have similar themes or are even the same genre but because they are similar in the way that you can either appreciate what the author is doing with his writing or you are unbelievable bored and at your wits end with the books. in lord of the rings it’s the endless descriptions of things and the story telling. in the warden it’s the church politics. either you enjoy the view into this world, like being into this is one of those books that always reminds me of the lord of the rings. not because they have similar themes or are even the same genre but because they are similar in the way that you can either appreciate what the author is doing with his writing or you are unbelievable bored and at your wits end with the books. in lord of the rings it’s the endless descriptions of things and the story telling. in the warden it’s the church politics. either you enjoy the view into this world, like being into it and let yourself be taking away into the time and place where the story is set and try to understand why it is that important to all those people ... or you don’t get the book and ask yourself why it would have ever survived as a beloved classic. i don’t think there is mich between those two. i personally fall into the first type. i love what trollope has done here, giving us this slice of history, this view into a time that has past. sure it’s a fictional story but i think a lot is based on real facts and things that happens during the time. i also love this book because it leads into the next books of this series that i love. and i know a lot of people say you don’t have to read this to love and appreciate the chronicles of barsetshire, i personally disagree with that and think that this book is a fantastic prolog into tage series and needs to be read! i always love my rereads is this book and actually think that i get more out of it every time i reread it - but i think that for most classics i regularly reread. the only reason why it’s not five starts is really just that the other five books in rios series are even better. and because i know that i can’t give this first and in comparison weakest book of the series the same rating as all the other. i wouldn’t recommend this book as your first victorian book or your first trollope! but everyone else should give this a try and than continue right on to barchester towers no matter how you feel about this book!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This was my first Trollope! It concerns Septimus Harding, the warden of an almshouse, whose remuneration comes under question from John Bold. Unlike Dickens we have no villains; Septimus is guilt-ridden that he may have unwittingly been doing something wrong, or even seen to be wrong. Even his son-in-law, Dr Grantly, who comes across as a bit of a tyrant and who advises Septimus to stick to his guns throughout the novel, is still very human—and it's this aspect of Trollope's writing that greatly This was my first Trollope! It concerns Septimus Harding, the warden of an almshouse, whose remuneration comes under question from John Bold. Unlike Dickens we have no villains; Septimus is guilt-ridden that he may have unwittingly been doing something wrong, or even seen to be wrong. Even his son-in-law, Dr Grantly, who comes across as a bit of a tyrant and who advises Septimus to stick to his guns throughout the novel, is still very human—and it's this aspect of Trollope's writing that greatly appealed to me. I may even read some more of his works. Included in the OUP version I read was the story, The Two Heroines of Plumplington. In many ways I preferred this story to The Warden as it was more humorous, more playful. The heroines are two young middle-class girls, Polly Peppercorn and Emily Greenmantle, who manage to outwit their fathers into marrying the 'unsuitable' men that want to marry rather than the 'suitable' young men that their fathers want them to marry. It's a Christmas story so we get a happy ending—it's ok to have a happy ending sometimes. I particularly like Dr. Freeborn who seems to thoroughly enjoy stirring things up between fathers and daughters.

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