When it was announced, a little while ago, that Anthony Trollope would be touring the Classics Circuit the timing seemed perfect.
I was thirteen when I read my first Victorian novel – Far From The Madding Crowd – and I was smitten. It would be the first of many – Bronte, Eliot, Collins, Braddon – so many authors, so many books to fall in love with.
Dickens I struggled with, but a couple of years back he finally clicked.
And this year, I decided, was the year I would finally make a start on the works of Anthony Trollope. I even bought a copy of The Warden, planning to read it during the winter months.
And then that tour was announced.
I put The Warden to one side, thinking that it was a book that many would choose, and picked up a lesser know Trollope that I had spotted in the library. Cousin Henry.
It wasn’t too long, and the concept seemed interesting: Henry Jones, a London clerk is the apparent heir to his wealthy uncle’s estate. But Henry knows that his uncle made a new will before his death, leaving his estate to Henry’s cousin Isabel. Henry conceals the will and inherits the estate, but his conscience troubles him …
I started to read. The prose was a little plain for my tastes, but very readable. I struggled though with the characters. I wasn’t engaged.
Cousin Henry started to feel like homework. The book sat on the table for a few days, glaring at me. I glared back, and on Monday I took Cousin Henry back to the library.
Maybe it was the wrong moment. I’m busy at work and at home, and right now more straightforward books are calling me. It wasn’t the time for the subtle details of this particular work.
Maybe it was the wrong book. I suspect that there’s a reason why Cousin Henry is a lesser known work.
I suspect that I may still come to love Trollope. I just need another time and another book.
Advice would be welcome!