How can a story with no villain be interesting? By falling into the (probably earlier and larger) category of gossip, as most love-stories and stories of manners do. It is obvious on introduction that Ayala and her sister will overcome their orphan state and probably marry well and gain a moral victory over their relatives; but then, Pride and Prejudice has few plot surprises either. (At least the Dormers don't conveniently fall in love with their landed swains.)
I like Trollope best when he's being wry and broadminded both at once - as when he pities and mocks Tom Tringle for being such a tacky lubber, but also shows us why a tacky lubber is heroic when steadfast in his accordingly hopeless love. The heroine Ayala is also largely a silly widgeon, and would not have come out so well if she weren't irresistibly pretty and charming. Well, there are silly widgeons on all sides - there are at least six marriages in the course of the story, and the best-matched couples are not the least silly. For that matter, the Victorian mechanics of marrying for money make almost all of the young people seem immature, since so few of them expect anyone to earn a living. The men who do earn their livings probably don't get much stage time since they aren't silly enough to hold the pace.
Excellent novel if you have the 'flu, in short.
Added much later, and tangentially: see autobiographical musing on being a hobbledehoy, as Trollope called his tacky lubbers.'
ISBN: 0-19-281747-7So wrote clew in Fiction (19th c.). | TrackBack