Review: The Warden

Anthony Trollope (1855)

This was my first serious attempt at reading Trollope and I was pleasantly surprised. Unlike Dickens and Austen, Trollope is not often heard of outside of English Lit. classes, if at all, though he’s written shelves full of books and was a big deal author in his day. While The Warden, like all of Trollope’s stories, serves as a political and social commentary on Victorian England, it’s also an entertaining story, filled with characters and issues that are as relevant today as they were in 1855.

The plot involves an enthusiastic young do-gooder who brings a suit against the church warden administering a charity hospital for twelve aged laborers. His well-intentioned, yet naive, action stirs up a fury of legal machinations and media attention. Reputations are tarnished, good men are encouraged to unite against their kindly benefactor and the young man’s engagement to the warden’s daughter is put in jeopardy. Greed, pride and personal motivations converge upon the hospital, with the outcome of the legal case altering the life of each player.

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