My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lily and Bell are two sisters, living with their widowed mother in the Small House, adjacent to their uncle’s estate at Allington. Both girls have trouble with love, trouble with money, and general family difficulties to overcome. Their uncle has his own plans for the family’s future, but the girls have their own independent ideas for their happiness.
A major theme in the book is misunderstandings, disappointments, and how people don’t really understand the motivations or inner hearts of those around them, even the people closest to them. As always, Trollope gives a compelling and interesting picture of human life.
I felt like that story was told almost out of sequence. It’s not quite chronological, and there are all these little scenes that are told out of order. It all makes sense, and it’s not confusing or anything, but it made the writing a little disjointed in places.
What the heck kind of stupid ending is that? I need my happy endings, people. This one is so indifferent and wishy-washy. I expected better from Trollope. I think the book just ended too soon. I needed more of a conclusion, and I can see where another ending is set up for the future of the characters, but the book idiotically ends before getting there.
A lot of people say that Lily is annoying, but I didn’t find her so until the very end. Her experience of heart-break is realistic, and I think that it certainly takes longer than 6 months to get over a broken heart when one is sensitive and sheltered as Lily was. For most of the book, she is in the denial stage of grief, and we don’t get to see her working through the other stages. She sounds to me like a person who allowed her emotions to control her, and her reactions and experiences are consistent with a person who feels deeply. Her character feels realistic, because her flaws are not ignored and her virtues are not overly-emphasized.
Johnny Eames is another character with a complex personality. He does things that are foolish and unwise, and that annoyed me a little. But he is the hero of the story, gradually growing out of his awkward youth into a confident man, so I can see why his foolishness was necessary to the story for his character development.