Trollope, Part 2

So, it’s half way through January.  I assume most of us have not given up on those resolutions yet.  As for me and mine…

Well I did actually finish The Way We Live Now in December and I’m about 5 minutes into this month’s pick–The Three Musketeers, so I’m rocketing ahead.


I haven’t seen this yet, but it’s Mr. Darcy in The Way We Live Now–

I’ll be finding this baby. (tee hee)

For another resolution, I made my first batch of yogurt–using a crock pot.  I’ll write about that sometime–maybe.   So far, I’d have to say, well worth it.  It’s easy, cheaper, and I’m not done trying to find the perfect recipe yet.  I want Liberte yogurt on the cheap.

As for The Way We Live Now.

Did I love it–yes.

Is it my favorite Trollope so far?  No, that still belongs to Doctor Thorne.

Do I recommend it?    … maybe.  It doesn’t have the out and out charm of Barchester Towers or Doctor Thorne.  But, it is funny.  And it’s full of swindlers.  Working with fraud as I do, it felt like my he was mocking my job at times.



The thing about The Way We Live Now is that it’s about all these people who are either straight out criminals or justify their shady behavior, because–it’s The Way We Live Now.  I think what bothered me the most was who got happier endings.  It felt like those who did–didn’t deserve them and those who didn’t were just screwed over.  Probably too much like real life for me.

********** SPOILERS**********

Especially Paul Montague.   And the lack of a happy ending for poor Roger.  I don’t care if Trollope says Roger was all smiles at the end–I think he was just hiding his pain.

So, here’s Paul’s story.  His money is wrapped up in some sort of American company though he’s British, and he’s trying to make his way in American.  Only to come back without his funds and with a fiancée.  Whom he promptly dumps at the recommendation of his good British friend (Roger) who is legitimately trying to look out for him.

Paul’s fiancée is this poor American divorceé who truly loves him, works out her finances in France (I assume so she can support him) and comes to England to win back her man.  At this point, however, stupid Paul jerk-face is in love with a genuinely good English lass.


But what does he do?


Oh, he makes out with the former fiancée, take her on trips, to the theater…all the while being PISSED that she’s taking up his time from that idiot girl Hetta.

He leads the fiancée on, giving her hope, only to finally crush her leaving her alone and friendless in a foreign country after having gotten in a few last kisses.  She threatens him at one point with a horse whip, and oh, how I wish she’d done it.  Man, I’d like to whip the crap out of that jerkhole.  I don’t care if he’s fictional–he deserves it.

And maybe, that’s why Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now is utterly brilliant.  Because you legitimately want beat up his characters. Oh, and slap some sense into Hetta.

Poor Hetta,  stupid enough to go for the guy with the previous fiancée–who she knows he screwed over.

These are Paul’s thoughts on the matter:

“No doubt he had behaved badly to Mrs. Hurtle but that trouble he had overcome. And now Hetta was quarreling with him though he had certainly never behaved badly to her. He was almost angry with Hetta as he walked home.”

That’s right–he’s angry that Hetta’s upset after finding out that Paul had a previous fiancée, treated her horribly, and then moved onto Hetta.

Oh Hetta.

Hetta, Hetta, Hetta.

*****Nearly unconnected thoughts, feel free to skip ahead:

Hetta, you make me “two face” myself by spoiling another book here.  For the preface to this thought, let me say, I LOVE Jane Austen, but man, I can NOT stand Mansfield Park.

Why you ask?

Well let me tell you, sure the guy who’s chasing Fanny is a ruffian or a scoundrel or whatever.  But when she ends up at her birth family’s home, working hard, alone, and friendless–who comes to her and helps her out?

Oh, the scoundrel.  Can you be the scoundrel and not genuinely in love when any guy that–especially at that time is like–“yeah, your family sucks, let me make this easier on you.”  I have to say, this action seems to make that scoundrel more a diamond in the rough that a loser.

And that is why Paul is a loser and what’s-his-name is a gem.

And that, my friends, is why I hate Mansfield Park with its pathetic little pseudo-love story which feels an awful lot more like a settling for the second-rate, cold-hearted cousin than actually falling in love.  And it’s why a beating would be good for Paul–and his getting one would be good for all of us.

*********End nearly unconnected thoughts.


Regardless, of my above nearly unconnected theory that once a scoundrel always a scoundrel or true love can help a rogue into a Mr. Darcy, I hate that Hetta married Paul instead of Roger.  If anyone was Mr. Darcy in this book–it was Roger.

And if anyone deserved to be loved, it was him.

But yay me for reading something that was well-written, fun, and intellectually stimulating   And now for perhaps for the best lines of the book, especially for me as a fraud investigator:

“There was much that he was ashamed of…But never once, not for a moment, did it occur to him to repent of the fraud in which his whole life had been passed…Not to cheat, not to be a scoundrel, not to live more luxuriously than others by cheating more brilliantly was a condition of things to which his mind had never turned itself.”

“One seems inclined to think, sometimes, that any fool may do an honest business, but fraud requires a man to be alive and wide awake at every turn.”

Amen, old school fraudsters, amen new school fraudsters.

If only you’d use your power for good.  Think of what a beautiful place earth could be.  Up next:


Not that one.  But it’s possible I’ll watch it.   If the tots like it, maybe I’ll watch it 

many, many, many times.


But the next one up is the actual book, The Three Musketeers.  Won’t you join me?



7 thoughts on “Trollope, Part 2”

  1. Love your sense of humor. Barbie and the Three Musketeers. Ha. Too funny. Jesting aside, you do make me want to read more. So hard to find the time to fit it in. Good for you for staying up on your resolutions!

    1. Honestly, it only happens when I’m at work. Sure I investigate fraud, but they’re not tricky very often, so I listen to audio books. The last month I was at home, I finished one book I had already started.

  2. Wow, it’s always fascinating to see how differently people can experience fiction. Friendly counterpoint to your comments on The Way We Live Now, because it’s fun to discuss: I saw Miranda Otto’s character as the villain to poor Paul. She shows up unasked for after she abandoned him for someone else, then even when he says he doesn’t love her anymore, she refuses to leave, and holds their previous engagement over his head as black mail to force him to spend time with her (hoping to rekindle the feelings). Not wanting to hurt her badly, or have his previous engagement made known when he’s in such a tender, beginning place with fairly naive Hetta, he gives in to her demands, hoping she’ll give up soon. But because he gave in, she has more to hold over his head and she becomes more and more abusive as she sees she isn’t winning him over. She then uses the situation she’s force on him to play the victim as a one last ditch effort to force him to marry her, which I was relieved he stayed strong and didn’t succumb to – so in that we’re in agreement, that the story works because you get involved in the outcome of things for the characters [smiley]. It’s sad that Roger had unreturned feelings for Hetta, but since she had no romantic feelings for him – growing up with him as a mentor/uncle figure, and being that much older than her – it seemed to me a little creepy for him to work so hard to try and get her away from Paul. In that sense he didn’t deserve a happy ending. He has to live with the two people, who are in love with each other, getting together. Did you read the book as well as watch the BBC mini-series?

  3. I am so glad you did reply. Talking about lit is my favorite! (Trashy books too :)) As for Paul, Hetta, Miranda, and Roger. Here are my thoughts.

    Paul, I could have given a pass to–if he didn’t make out with Miranda. But he did. The thing is…in the Victorian era…making out in that manner was the equivalent of having sex. Or at least very near to it. And I could forgive Paul for dealing with Miranda (not kissing her), but I can’t forgive him for passing beyond the bounds so far by kissing her and taking her on that trip. And then being all angry about it, while he’s doing it. No one is forcing your lips all over her’s dude. And WHERE ARE YOUR HANDS? I mean this was written in the same era as North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. (People you should check North & South out), and in that book what’s-her-name totally was made uncomfortable just by having someone want to take her HAND.

    On the other hand, (tee hee), Miranda did shoot a guy. Which–um, bwhahahahahahaha. And in addition to shooting a guy, she was a fan of Melmotte. It is interesting that the Americans in the book are the chick trying to force her love back who is also the chick who shot a dude and is maybe not divorced, the business man who married Melmotte’s daughter for her money (though she’s cool with it) and he’s also the guy who makes Melmotte’s scheme work. Or so we suppose. The Americans, really, are all those who are successful at The Way We Live Now.

    As for Hetta, I agree that no woman should be pushed into marriage with any man. Good man or not. Only I just didn’t get the creepster vibe from Roger, but what I did get was a sort of Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility) vibe. But, I can absolutely see what you’re saying about the creepster vibe. He is older than her. Even though that was much more normal then. And he is her cousin / mentor. Which could totally be construed as creepster-y. But, you know Mr. Knightly (Emma) was in a similar position, and he’s super hot. (He’d be a serious contender for my fictional-five.)

    I guess that as Roger was the guy who seemed to truly love, to truly be good–I wanted him to have love. I would have been just as satisfied if he’d just loved another. I wasn’t committed to him loving Hetta–just having an ending I could see as happy.

    As such, I can’t really see Paul and Hetta as a happy ending. Really, Paul was stroking my douche-vibe hardcore. And, I liked Hetta. I mean, she didn’t have to be honest with Melmotte’s daughter. But she was. She didn’t have to approach Miranda, but Hetta was ballsy enough to do so. She was my idea of a heroine–in fact, I can’t really see her learning the truth about Paul and the being, “That’s Ok!!! Let’s get married and live off Roger!”

    In general, too, I object to this idea that you fall in love and then your honor or idea of your honor says you can “Never love another again.” Please. That idea isn’t romantic at all. What I’d like to see…obviously if these were real people and not characters in a book whose ending works for the novel…is that Roger and Hetta are both like, “eff you all people.” Then they fall in love with people who are right for them later.

    But that would have been another book. So fun to talk to you!


    1. That may account for a lot of the way we’re seeing that characters so differently – the book is on my list to read, but at this point I’ve only seen the mini-series (twice), so my perspectives on characters may come out of the slant of the adapting writer (Andrew Davies, I think). When I’ve read the book itself I’ll come back and comment more.

      Many of the books on your reading list are on mine as well, so that’s exciting. And I’ll be back.

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