This month’s challenge was to read a book the colour of the sky (at the time of receiving the challenge/choosing a book), which I thought was one of my more creative recent prompts! 😁 In my case, at the time of setting the challenge, that colour was a dark-ish, desaturated blue, as it was pretty cloudy, and getting into the evening… and luckily, my kindle copy of The Warden matched up almost perfectly!
As warden of Hiram’s Hospital, Mr. Harding lives quite happily on £800 a year, but when the fairness of the division of income from the hospital is called into question, he finds himself struggling with his conscience. Meanwhile Mr. Bold, the first of his accusers, must contend with what he feels to be the necessity of becoming the enemy of his old friend, and the father of the woman he loves.
This was an enjoyable read overall, and relatively easy to get into for a classic, but I have some mixed feelings… The found the main characters to be likeable and sympathetic – with the exception of Dr. Grantly, who was at least entertaining in all his bluster – and the book as a whole made for an excellent character study of Mr. Harding in particular, whose friendship with Mr. Bold and fondness towards his bedesmen are tenderly portrayed.
The writing, too, was very witty, but tended to go on rather; for instance, sometimes Trollope would spend several pages describing (albeit amusingly) a new character, only for them to have a brief interaction with the main cast, then never be heard from again.
And lastly, I found the plot somewhat unsatisfying. The story resolves around a disagreement over the interpretation of a will, and although many people are consulted on both sides of the debate over legal proceedings, and how each character can best to get their own way, it’s never made clear what the will actually says. The main purpose of this conflict seems to be give us a greater understanding of Mr. Harding more than anything else, and in that regard it definitely succeeds, but I wish that the story (as opposed to the character arcs) had had more of a resolution…
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