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Castle Richmond (English Edition) Format Kindle
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Castle Richmond is Trollope's romance in Ireland set against the backdrop of the Great Famine. You might wonder if the famine sequences get in the way of the main plot. I certainly thought so myself until I read a brilliantly written chapter two-thirds of the way through the book in which one of the heroes of the story encounters a starving mother and her children. In five paragraphs the book takes on a whole new prespective. Suddenly our hero (and ourselves) become aware that happiness is a relative thing, not something that should be dictated by those we love and how much are in our purses. What an enlightening concept! Anyone who thinks that Trollope is out-dated need only focus on what he is saying in Castle Richmond to see what a truly modern thinker he really was.
Castle Richmond's main plot is a look at two upper class families: the Desmonds and the Fitzgeralds. We follow them through their lives, watching as love is gained and love is lost. We get a complete glimpse into the morals of these people; people who really feel they are doing right no matter who is hurt. I was amazed that the melancholy scenes were almost better written then the happy ones. And there are very few writers of that age and ours that write better dialogue than he.
I hope readers who have read Trollope's more popular works will take the time to read this novel. Trollope obviously loved Ireland immensely, and he need not apologize for setting his story in that country. The land, the people, the circumstances are completely displayed for us to enjoy. It is a comfort to walk in his world, through the path between the elms, through the hilly countryside. I thought more then once that I would go there like a shot if it was offered to me. And that, I believe, is the true magic of Trollope's work.
THIS IS THE TALE OF 2 MEN IN LOVE WITH THE SAME WOMAN. THE FORTUNES OF THESE 2 MEN CONSTANTLY SHIFT THROUGHOUT THE STORY DUE TO A FAMILY INHERITANCE QUESTION - WHICH FORMS THE CENTRAL MYSTERY OF THE BOOK. AND AS THEIR FORTUNES CHANGE, THE MOTHER OF THE WOMAN WHOM BOTH LOVE, CONTINUES TO INTEFERE AND ATTEMPT TO SELL HER DAUGHTER'S HEART TO THE RICHEST BIDDER.
I'VE READ A LOT OF TROLLOPE, AND I WOULD RATE THIS ONE OF HIS FINEST. THE ONLY PART OF THE BOOK THAT I FOUND NOT THAT INTERESTING, WAS THE HISTORY PERTAINING TO THE GREAT IRISH FAMINE.NEVERTHELESS, IF YOU LIKE TROLLOPE, DO READ THIS ONE!
Some of his best writing describes the plight of the Irish who lost everything, including their lives, when the potato crop on which they chiefly lived failed year after year. One of the main characters in the novel, Herbert Fitzgerald of Castle Richmond, does all he can to help his neighbors, but is largely unsuccessful. That the landowners like Fitzgerald were able to do so little to prevent mass starvation, illness, and emigration speaks volumes about the indifference and incompetence of the English lawmakers who watched the disaster in Ireland unfold and did little to stop it from destroying a large part of the Irish population.
With the famine in the background, we watch the family problems of the Fitzgeralds and Desmonds, two landed and important families in Ireland. It comes to light that Herbert Fitzgerald may be illegitimate and the title to Castle Richmond may really belong to his poor cousin Owen Fitzgerald. Sorting out this problem takes up much of the novel. To complicate matters, both Herbert and Owen have fallen in love with and proposed marriage to Lady Clara Desmond. Lady Clara's mother wants her daughter married to the true heir of Castle Richmond and adjoining lands and property and we readers must wait until the end of the story to find out what happens to the Fitzgerald cousins and Lady Clara.
It is difficult for the reader to take seriously the problems of the Fitzgeralds when so many Irish people around them are struggling for survival. When Trollope takes us aside and talks to us about The Famine, he seems sincere in his concern for the Irish struggling for survival, but it is the concern of the landed English gentry who thought that creating workhouses and feeding the people corn based gruel satisfied their responsibility to care for a people whose lands they had stolen and whose freedoms they had taken.
The reader of this review might find it interesting to go to YouTube and listen to Sinead O'Connor sing her song Famine, or better yet, watch the film version of John B. Keane's play, The Field, much of which can also be found on YouTube.
Let there be no mistake; Anthony Trollope is one of my favorite authors. I have read fifteen of his novels and will certainly read more. I consider Castle Richmond to be representative of Trollope's work. I enjoyed it and recommend it without resvervation either in book form or on Kindle. Comment | Permalink
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