Books, review

He Knew He Was Right

I finished reading this a few days ago, and this work by Anthony Trollope was very good indeed. I’m not sure if it’s on the level of the best Barsetshire novels, but it was certainly worth reading all 716 pages (according to my e-reader).

The book follows the marriage between Louis Trevelyan and Emily Trevelyan, nee Rowley, which is in turmoil for virtually the whole book, excepting only the first pages which give us the background leading up to the quarrel. They have been married for about two years at the time of the disagreement, which is on a matter ridiculously trivial: a friend of Emily’s father, Colonel Osborne, visits too often and treats her with too great a familiarity for her husband’s comfort; therefore, despite the fact that nothing strictly improper has been done, and Emily is true to her husband, her husband wishes her to (at least somewhat) drop the acquaintance. Emily takes this as a gross insult to her fidelity, and as she also has a temper, storms away. The rift grows and grows.

Complicating the matter is their son, also named Louis, who at the beginning of the book is ten months old. Emily’s sister, Nora, also lives with them, and has a subplot built around her. One of the members of this subplot branches off eventually into a different subplot, and another character, who participates in the main plot as well, has two sisters, one of whom has another subplot. Yet another subplot grows around a character in this subplot. This is typical of Trollope, and in this novel he gives nearly as much, if not more, time to the various subplots as to the main plot; a relief, since they are much more humorous, cheerful, and rather more interesting than the main plot.

I heartily recommend this book to my readers, once they have returned from reading the Barsetshire novels and The Way We Live Now. It might even read well before the latter book.


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