Cousin Henry is the twenty-seventh of Anthony Trollope’s novels I have read and reviewed. It was written three years before Trollope’s death. Sadly, it is not one of Trollope’s finest creations for several reasons.
First, the plot of the novel. Squire Indefer Jones of Llanfeare in Wales knows he is dying. He has no children himself, but has adopted his niece Isabel Brodrick, whom he loves dearly. Because she is not a Jones, Squire Indefer has decided to leave the property to Cousin Henry, who is a Jones. Unfortunately, the squire hates and detests Cousin Henry; for that matter, Isabel also thinks her cousin is worthless. Nonetheless, the squire invites Cousin Henry to come down from London to Wales to prepare for his inheritance. The will leaving everything to Henry has been made and all that is left is for the squire to die, which he does not long after Henry has taken up residence at the Llanfeare estate.
With his dying breath Squire Indefer whispers to Isabel that he has made all things right. By this Isabel infers that the squire has made a new will, which he has. Where is it? We soon find out that the squire put the will into a book of sermons he had by his bedside and the book has been returned to his library where Henry finds it. The new will leaves everything to Isabel. Instead of making the will known to Isabel, Henry puts the book on the shelf and allows the earlier will leaving everything to him to be read.
Readers need not be worried about spoilers, for everything I have said happens early in the novel and is no mystery. The rest of the novel concerns the inner conflict Henry has with himself about the hidden will. He alone knows where it is, but others, including Isabel, are certain that another will has been made and think Henry has destroyed it.
This story may seem promising to potential readers of Cousin Henry, but unfortunately Henry’s inner turmoil became very tiresome to me. He is a weak and cowardly young man with nothing to recommend him to readers. His cousin Isabel is a strong and proud young woman, but she also became tiresome very quickly because of her hostile and unreasonable behavior toward her cousin Henry and her irrational conduct toward a would be suitor. Consequently, even though this is one of Trollope’s shortest novels, it seemed to drag on forever.
I am a big fan of Anthony Trollope’s novels and I think many of them such as The Way We Live Now are among the best novels in English literature. Certainly, Cousin Henry is well written and the anguish Henry feels about deceiving Isabel and stealing her inheritance feels real enough, but after a hundred pages of angst with no resolution I said, “Enough already.”
Typically in his longer novels Trollope has several different stories he tells, but Cousin Henry is not long enough for the development of other narratives. That said, Isabel’s plight after she is disinherited is taken up, but she is such an unpleasant and difficult person that I almost wished Henry held on to the inheritance. He was badly treated from the first by both the squire and Isabel and did not deserve what happened to him, at least in my opinion. Readers must decide for themselves if they agree with me. Comments are appreciated.
I counted forty-one novels that Trollope has written and as I have mentioned, some of them are great. My advice for first time readers is to skip Cousin Henry and instead start with any of the Palliser or Chronicles of Barsetshire series of novels. Both Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux in the Palliser novels are among my favorites. For those readers who have read many of Trollope’s novels and want to systematically read them all, I do recommend Cousin Henry as an oddity; that is, one of Trollope’s novels that does not represent the true excellence of the master.
- 语种： 英语
- ISBN: 1606647490
- 条形码: 9781606647493
- 商品尺寸: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
- 商品重量: 372 g
- ASIN: 1606647490
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