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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matrimonial dilemma--For love or for money?
Mary Thorne, orphaned (and illegitimate) niece of Dr. Thorne, has long been a favorite at Greshamsbury House--until Lady Arabella Gresham learns that her only son Frank is in love with Mary. The unhappy Mary is banished forthwith, because the Gresham family fortunes are so depleted that Frank must marry money.
Frank, however, is one of the few completely honorable...
Published on July 9, 1998 by Leonard L. Wilson

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bound Manuscript, not really as expected
While this may be truly a copy of Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope, it is in the format of typed or wordprocessed pages that have been bound. It is very large, the size of printer paper. Could not just tuck it in my purse for holiday travels as planned at all. I don't like the printed format, and so I ordered a Penguin version to replace it. This goes in the...
Published 18 months ago by concurrent1


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matrimonial dilemma--For love or for money?, July 9, 1998
By 
Leonard L. Wilson (Springfield, OH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Mary Thorne, orphaned (and illegitimate) niece of Dr. Thorne, has long been a favorite at Greshamsbury House--until Lady Arabella Gresham learns that her only son Frank is in love with Mary. The unhappy Mary is banished forthwith, because the Gresham family fortunes are so depleted that Frank must marry money.
Frank, however, is one of the few completely honorable young men in Trollope's novels and remains stubbornly true to his love. Well, he does propose to another woman, at the insistence of his mother, but only with the virtual certainty that he will be rejected--as indeed he is. The lady is Miss Dunstable, one of Trollope's most delightful characters, a fabulously wealthy thirtyish heiress of an ointment company. She is a bold, witty woman, not beautiful, but attractive in her way, whose wealth invites countless proposals.
After the rather complicated plot unfolds, the tables are completely turned, and Mary is eagerly welcomed by Lady Arabella (who, of course, has always loved her) as the savior of the family.
I concede that "The Last Chronicle of Barset" is the best of the Barsetshire novels, but I dearly love "Dr. Thorne." The character of the doctor himself is strong and sympathetic. Frank, Mary, Miss Dunstable, Lady Arabella, Sir Roger Scatcherd, and such minor characters as Dr. Thorne's rival, Dr. Fillgrave (one of Trollope's punnily named characters), form a superb cast. And the outcome is thoroughly satisfying. I probably enjoyed reading this novel more than any of the others.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't give up on this one, May 26, 2000
"Dr. Thorne" is the third in the series of Barsetshire novels by Anthony Trollope. But unlike the first two, this has little to do with the politics of the Church of England. It is the tale of two lovers from different classes, and their struggle to keep their love alive in spite of social pressures to go their own ways. Unlike the first two novels, the plot starts out very slowly, with long descriptions of the history and conditions of the fictional "Greshamsbury" estate. The author even apologizes about 30 pages in for trying the patience of his readers.
While "Dr. Thorne" lacks the crispness and economy of the first two novels ("The Warden" and "Barchester Towers"), it builds to a satisfying conclusion, and the author paints his usual precise characterizations.
If you are a fan of Anthony Trollope, be patient with this one. You will be rewarded.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The highest literary entertainment, November 6, 2003
By 
mulcahey (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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It's impossible to imagine a novel more completely entertaining than DR THORNE. You know from almost the first page how the plot will conclude, but the getting there is delicious.
It is not as economically told as THE WARDEN, not as discursive (or laugh-out-loud hilarious) as BARCHESTER TOWERS. Instead it has balance and energy and the characters fairly sparkle, especially the "good" romantic hero and heroine. We are used to allowing the novelist a boring romantic interest, as long as we're given other pleasures along the way; but Frank and Mary may just be the most fun personalities in their own story. No mean feat, as any reader knows, the creation of virtuous characters who are also sharp and amusing enough to carry their weight. Frank's quasi-courtship of Miss Dunstable, the delightful if ugly "oil of Lebanon" heiress, is a brilliant stroke, and the happy ending is (very carefully) not reached until Frank has proven himself worthy of it.
You feel in such good hands with Trollope. Nothing too awful will happen to anyone, at least not without much warning, and all the deserving characters will get their heart's desire. It's like sitting down after a good dinner over brandy with a friend who is incomparably witty, candid, and good-natured. It might, literarily speaking, be fluff, after all; but it's fluff raised to an art form.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best novel of a great author, January 5, 2007
By 
John Blackwell (Northern Virginia, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
OK, I'm a Trollope fan, and I sometimes wonder why these novels about social interactions 150 years ago interest me so much when I know I would have suffocated in such a rigid society.

First of all, Trollope describes human behaviour in a way I can understand better than any other novelist. I suffer from mild asperger syndrome, and am often baffled by peoples' behaviour in real life. I think I get some relief from this frustration by watching Trollope's characters while the author makes their motives clear and enables me to feel real compassion for them.

His novels reflect his belief that English gentlemen had found something close to the ideal system of values, and they explore the effects of someone violating those values, or of difficulties arising as they try to fit special circumstances into them.

In some of his other novels, he has been accused of antisemitism, and by modern standards there is some truth to this. I do not believe it was his intention to attack Jews, but in his efforts to plausibly create characters who did not behave like English gentlemen, he used the examples he saw of people who were raised in different cultures, but were to be found in London society. This issue does not arise in Dr. Thorne, partly because it is set in the country.

Dr. Thorne contains one scene that (to me) perfectly exemplifies his virtues. Dr. Thorne asks the heroine if she would like to be rich. She mentions a trivial luxury she would buy if she were. He offers to buy it for her. I will not spoil your enjoyment of her reply, but it moved me deeply.

I'm sure Trollope had no idea that this novel also illustrates why Britain later lost her world empire. It was written in 1858, twelve years before the Franco-Prussian war demonstrated that Germany was the rising power that must challenge England, thanks to the Prussian education system's emphasis on technical skills, but after Prussia had achieved a higher rate of economic growth than England.

A very successful railway engineer-businessman (a Bill Gates?) is drinking himself to death, and Dr. Thorne asks why.

'Oh my God! Have you not unbounded wealth? Can you not do anything you wish? anything you choose?'

'No' and the sick man shrieked with an energy that made him audible all throughout the house. 'I can do nothing that I would choose to do; be nothing that I would wish to be! What can I do? What can I be? What gratification can I have except the brandy bottle? If I go among gentlemen, can I talk to them? If they have anything to say about a railway, they will ask me a question: if they speak to me beyond that I must be dumb.'

It is not clear to me that Trollope recognized that this describes a limitation in the English gentlemen, let alone that this limitation would ultimately doom the empire. The US is definitely treating Bill Gates better than this.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love above riches, though the riches follow, too, November 13, 2007
By 
Bomojaz (South Central PA, USA) - See all my reviews
Making money and a good marriage: the bulwarks of solid middle-class society, and the theme of Trollope's third Barchester novel. The good Dr. Thorne has raised his brother's illegitimate daughter Mary, and she and Frank Gresham fall in love. Unfortunately for Frank his once well-off family is now in desperate straits, and he is implored to "marry money" - which pretty much rules Mary out. He goes off to seek his fortune with the rich Miss Dunstable, but cannot be untrue to Mary, and in a very humorous chapter, Miss Dunstable calls him out.

Unknown to everyone except the reader and Dr. Thorne, however, Mary will inherit a great fortune if events go a certain way, and, of course, they do. The reader is, therefore, cheated out of the "surprise" waiting Mary at the end, but the scenes preceding this of Frank going through the motions of pleasing his family while he and Mary remain faithful to each other is worth that disappointment. The chapter in which Dr. Thorne stands up to Lady Arabella (Frank's mother) and defends Mary after she's been banished from the Gresham home after being seen as an obstacle to Frank's marrying money, is a highlight of the novel. Just as good, of course, is the scene near the end where Mary defends herself against Lady Arabella. Trollope didn't think much of this novel; in fact, he couldn't understand why it was so popular with the public, but he's been about the only one to feel that way. Perhaps not as good as BARCHESTER TOWERS, it's still one of Trollope's most enjoyable works.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking an idiom literally, June 6, 2007
By 
When we ask someone if they are engaged, we are asking if they have made with their partner an explicit and reciprocal promise to enter marriage. When Mary Thorne is asked the question, she takes it literally and means something wholly different.

Mary Thorne is the niece and adopted daughter of the eponymous main character of the novel, Doctor Thorne. (If you'll permit an aside before proceeding, Trollope begins the novel by addressing the question of who is in fact the main character of his novel. He doesn't answer this question, rather he leaves the final verdict up to the reader.) Though a member of an ancient Barsetshire family, Doctor Thorne's material fortunes have fallen and he cannot hope to arrange a marriage of wealth for his niece. However, this hardly matters since the doctor wishes his niece happiness, not wealth, and when prospects of wealth do come her way, he is rather perplexed as to what he should do.

Another important character, young Mr. Frank Gresham, is in a similar situation, though in his case his fortunes are falling rather than already fallen. As Doctor Thorne does for his niece, Frank cares for his happiness rather than his wealth. Alas, Frank's family has decided he must marry money. He objects and declares his love for Ms. Mary Thorne. She reciprocates Frank's feelings for her but in the face of his family's opposition, and their accusations of impropriety on her part, she cannot accept his proposal.

And yet Mary declares herself engaged even when she's renounced her beloved. Her heart is engaged to his and she cannot move it. He may do as he pleases, he may follow the wishes of his family and marry another. It doesn't matter, her heart will be nonetheless engaged to his with no prospect of turning to another.

It is this precise use of words and this detailed development of a plot turning on the quite literal nuances of an idiom which make Anthony Trollope's books a joy to read. This chapter of Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire, his "Comédie Humaine", is as satisfying as the previous two, and I warmly recommend it.

Vincent Poirier, Dublin
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A month in the country..., April 28, 2009
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...which is what this lovely, gentle book feels like. Smaller in scope than its predecessor (the sprawling, boisterous "Barchester Towers"), "Doctor Thorne" is more of a character study; the story of a simple man facing difficult decisions. Not that it's in any way devoid of Trollope's incisive social insights or intuitive humor. If you're a fan of this particular writer, or the English comedy of manners in general, this will be an enjoyable read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addicted to Trollope, June 22, 2006
By 
KH1 (Middle America) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
DOCTOR THORNE is the third installment of Anthony Trollope's Barchester Cycle, preceded by THE WARDEN (ISBN#0140432140) and BARCHESTER TOWERS (ISBN#0192834320). You don't have to read the first two installments in the cycle to enjoy DOCTOR THORNE, though they are highly recommended, and will give a good background as to the goings-on in Barchester at the time that the tale commences.

Dr Thorne is the oldest son of a respected prebendary (some position in the Church of England), and elder brother to Henry Thorne, a notorious drunk and cad. The Thorne family can trace its noble roots to times before the Norman invasion of England, and they are very proud of it. (If you have read BARCHESTER TOWERS, you may recall Dr and Miss Thorne of Ullathorne - cousins of this Dr Thorne.) Though he is not heir to the estate of Ullathorne, Dr Thorne is still highly respected in Barchester as a doctor, and welcomed at his ancestral home.

But then trouble. Henry Thorne has seduced, drugged, and impregnated a young seamstress, Mary Scatcherd. Her brother Roger, also a notorious toper, is furious, and kills his sister's seducer. Though Miss Scatchered has not been disgraced by the affair, she too must leave town, should she have any hope of a normal, happy life. Her fiance begs her to leave the child behind in England and emigrate to America to start over. Dr Thorne arranges for legal representation for his brother's murderer, sees that Roger gets a short prison term, and takes it upon himself to raise his brother's daughter. Dr Thorne leaves Barchester for Greshamsbury to start anew, after disowning his family at Ullathorne, and establishes himself with the Greshams of Greshamsbury, the wealthiest 'commoners' in the county. Or they used to be.

Over the years, Frank Gresham, Sr. has mortgaged the estate to the hilt. He has been horrible at managing his funds, and with ten children and a wife who insists on spending as though they had all they wanted, he is broke. Worse for him htough, is that his only son, Frank, Jr., has come of age and is ready to find a wife.

His mother and countess-aunt have agreed: if the estate is to be spared, Frank must marry a rich woman. They scheme and contrive to marry off the young heir, but to no use. Frank, ignorant as everyone else is of the story of her birth, is in love with Dr Thorne's niece: poor, illegitimate Mary Thorne. And then the novel begins.

Trollope has created another masterpiece here: never have I endured so much suspense reading a what amounts to a romance novel (though, their is plenty of politics and legal scandal for those who enjoy that too.) There are perfectly orchestrated twists, cliffhanging moments that will have you on the edge of your seat, and plenty of dramatic irony. Of course, it all turns out alright in the end - it always does, but you won't believe it until the last page.

They really need to put a warning label on Anthony Trollope's novels that reads 'Careful: Addictive, may cause sleepless nights becuase you can't put it down.' Great novel, extremely entertaining, and highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Thorne recommended with reservations., March 3, 2011
By 
Dr. Thorne, the third book in Anthony Trollope's six book series The Chronicles of Barsetshire, can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. The plot is deceptively simple; Mary Thorne, an illegitimate child, falls in love with the son of the local squire. The son, Frank Gresham, loves Mary, but is told he must marry wealth to save the estate. The entire five hundred page novel centers on this problem; some modern readers may find the story line a bit thin for their taste. In the next novel in the series, Framley Parsonage, the story line is similar, but with an expanded cast of characters and plot twists and turns - Framley Parsonage is a more satisfying novel, in my opinion.

Even so, I recommend Dr. Thorne for these reasons: Trollope was a psychoanalyst who understood more about the inner life of human beings than some of those professionals who make their living by listening to people talk about their problems. We come to know and understand Mary Thorne from the inside out and we are better for this knowledge. Additionally, few novelists equal Trollope as an observer and chronicler of wealth and class in English society, and wealth and class are what Dr. Thorne is about. Mary is poor and illegitimate. Even though she is loved by all around her, illegitimacy and poverty appear to make it impossible for her to rise in station to become Frank's wife. Yet at the time Trollope was writing his novel, great wealth could overcome all obstacles. Will Mary Thorne become Cinderella and win her prince charming? Most readers will accurately guess the outcome of the story.

Trollope enjoyed conversing directly with us his readers and he does so frequently in Dr. Thorne. Henry James might have found this novelistic technique artificial, but not me. I enjoyed Trollope's comments, not only about his characters, but also about life and living. He had great sensitivity to the plight of women in Victorian Society and treated his heroine Mary Thorne with loving care and sensitivity.

While Dr. Thorne is not one of Trollope's finest novels, it is still better than almost anything the reader is likely to find on the current best seller list.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prejudices and pride, October 18, 2011
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Volume 3 in Trollope's Barchester series moves away from the intricacies of church politics and focuses on the English caste system in the mid 19th century.
The novel is called after a man whom Trollope declares as his hero: a poor country doctor with professional competence and an admirable honest stubbornness, a bachelor who lives with a lovely niece, whom he treats like a daughter. Doc Thorne is a proud man, proud to be a poor man from a high family.
The niece might be considered the real heroine. She is an illegitimate child of the Doc's late brother with a woman who emigrated with another man, leaving the girl behind. The girl's social status is that of a pariah, which begins to be relevant when men start seeing her as a woman.
She is a proud and smart person, with a mind at war with itself. She fully accepts the social ranking system that condemns her to be an underdog. She knows that she is a superior person in all other respects.
Trollope is overdoing his communication with the reader a little here. He insists on telling us that the real hero of the novel is young Frank Gresham, the local squire's only son. Frank is just growing up in the world and needs to find his way in questions of rank and preferences. He finds out that all is not well with the estate and that he better finds a way to marry money if he wants to keep up the life style that he has grown up expecting. Or are emotions more important? One has social duties as well!
The ground is thus prepared for a plot with psychological and social depth, all wrapped in satirical fun poked at pretensions and stupidity. Maybe Trollope's most Austenian novel, at least among those that I know so far.
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Doctor Thorne (Barsetshire Novels)
Doctor Thorne (Barsetshire Novels) by Anthony Trollope (Paperback - May 15, 2007)
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