Monday, May 07, 2018

Orley Farm

Orley Farm. Anthony Trollope. 1862. 825 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: It is not true that a rose by any other name will smell as sweet. Were it true, I should call this story “The Great Orley Farm Case.” But who would ask for the ninth number of a serial work burthened with so very uncouth an appellation? Thence, and therefore, — Orley Farm.

Premise/plot: Can Orley Farm be condensed into a single plot or premise?! Doubtful. Should it have been condensed into a single plot or premise by an editor way back when? Maybe. There are essentially two very different stories unfolding with a few overlapping characters to tie them together.

Lady Mason is one of the heroines of the novel. Twenty years before our novel properly opens she made a decision inspired by the story of Rebekah and Isaac from the book of Genesis. Her husband was dying, and, she needed to act then and there to do what was best for her baby son, Lucius. She did not think it fair that Orley Farm should be left to the older son, Joseph, Lucius' much much older half-brother. Why should he get it all when he already had property? There was a trial after the husband's death. Joseph found it strange--suspicious--that his father should at the last minute add a codicil to his will leaving Orley Farm to Lucius. But the jury found in favor of Lady Mason.

Twenty years have come and gone. Her son is all grown up. Her son is beginning to have ambitions of his own. Ambitions for improving the property. Ambitions of marrying well. But obstacles spring up in his path. An embittered man with questionable motives and intents decides the Orley Farm case should be reopened. He just has to convince Joseph Mason and the lawyers that it will be worth their while. And emphasis that if it is worth their while that they will make it worth his while.

The community is shocked when Lady Mason's honor and innocence is challenged. Hasn't the will and its codicil been challenged and verified already? What new evidence could there be to make a new trial worth the time and effort? Who will stand by Lady Mason?

Lady Mason takes refuge with the Orme family of The Cleeve. She's disliked by the grandson, but BELOVED by the grandfather. He falls madly, deeply head-over-heels in love with her. He's ready to sacrifice his good reputation for her sake, to be a complete fool for her. But will she let him make that sacrifice? She finds great support with Mrs. Orme--the daughter-in law/mother. Mrs. Orme may best be compared to Melanie Wilkes. She sees the best in people even in the darkest situations. She is compassionate, sympathetic, true to herself and steadfast to others. Is it any wonder that she's my favorite character in the book?

There are PLENTY of other characters in the book. Some of them are loosely connected to the 'main' story by being friends, neighbors, lawyers, or even acquaintances. For example, there are several young men that are acquaintances/friends with Lucius Mason. The book begins following their adventures/misadventures in love and courtship.

Mr. and Mrs. Furnival are two people we meet in the novel. Mr. Furnival is one of Lady Mason's lawyers. Mrs. Furnival is VERY unhappy in her marriage and becomes viciously jealous. Is she right to do so? She is right to suspect that her husband's attentions are not what they used to be and not what they should be. But she is wrong to suspect that Lady Mason is a no-good flirt out to steal Mr. Furnival. These domestic scenes are lively to say the least.

Two young women that we meet are Sophia Furnival and Madeline Staveley. The young men we meet are Lucius Mason, Augustus Staveley, Peregrine Orme (the younger), and Felix Graham. One successful marriage results in the end. But NOT every proposal gets a yes in this one.

My thoughts: Last year I set out to read Anthony Trollope in chronological order. I knew it would take more than one year. I knew that it could possibly take a good many years. I knew there would be stumbles along the way and that I'd encounter books that would be sluggish to get through. I knew that there would be books that were "easy" because I LOVED them from the start. I knew that there would be books that were "hard" because I'd find them difficult to get into. I didn't expect any book to take as long to read as Orley Farm did. It is a LONG book not made any easier because of its story.

I found it picked up quite nicely once the new trial began. But that was like sixty-something chapters into an eighty-chapter novel!!!

Quotes to share since last week's My Victorian Year:
But a woman can do things for which a man’s courage would never be sufficient.
“As long as a man can pay twenty shillings in the pound and a trifle over, what does it matter if all the judges in the land was to call him stupid?” said Snengkeld. “Stupid is as stupid does,” said Kantwise.
Had Lady Mason been guilty of all the sins in the calendar except one, Mrs. Furnival could find it within her heart to forgive her.
But no lesson is truer than that which teaches us to believe that God does temper the wind to the shorn lamb. To how many has it not seemed, at some one period of their lives, that all was over for them, and that to them in their afflictions there was nothing left but to die! And yet they have lived to laugh again, to feel that the air was warm and the earth fair, and that God in giving them ever-springing hope had given everything.
My top quotes overall:
Men will not be talked out of the convictions of their lives. No living orator would convince a grocer that coffee should be sold without chicory; and no amount of eloquence will make an English lawyer think that loyalty to truth should come before loyalty to his client.
We can do nothing by interference. Remember the old saying, You cannot touch pitch without being defiled.
Nobody holds a good opinion of a man who has a low opinion of himself.
What are love and friendship worth if they cannot stand against such trials as these?
Friendship between true friends must extend to all the affairs of life.
 It is easy to talk of repentance, but repentance will not come with a word.
When heart has spoken to heart, or even head to head, very little other speaking is absolutely necessary.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP