Doctor Thorne, Anthony Trollope, Narrator: Simon Vance

Doctor Thorne
Chronicles of Barsetshire, Book 3
Anthony Trollope
Narrator: Simon Vance
Blackstone Audio Inc.
20 hrs. 39 min.

Anthony Trollope Author, Doctor Thorne
Anthony Trollope

Simon Vance Narrator of Doctor Thorne
Narrator Simon Vance

An amazing narration by Simon Vance for Doctor Thorne, with his smooth and mellow tones Vance captures every personality and voice, making them all believable and demensional, I loved his narration and his ability to make not only the characters pop to life, but, also, Vance, has the tones, rich, with just the right amount of humility, snootiness or passion for the time period of the mid 1800's. It is a delightful and lovely listen by one of the worlds well known and popular narrators. Vance's, voice is tony without being excessive or phony. His female voices were more than well done and I dearly loved the way he captured Lady Arabella's snooty, shrill and superior voice and the full force of her personality came through his voice. Gentle and pliant Mary sounded young and naive and her lover Frank sounded youthful and full of passion. One has to listen to this long and wonderful book to appreciate fully the multifaceted talents of Simon Vance.

One of the first books by Anthony Trollope that I listened to was The Way We Live Now. Being very interested in history, I like listening to books written by authors from different time periods. The Way We Live Now, was sure to give an insight into how people perhaps really were during the 1800's as opposed to something written currently and what a modern author thinks people were like in that era. It was such a wonderful book that I've since, listened to many of Anthony Trollope's writings. Doctor Thorne was as expected, a fabulous book about Mary Thorne and Frank Gresham and their childhood affection for one another which grew into a passionate love in their maturity. Mary, the niece of Doctor Thorne was raised by him. Though not wealthy, Dr.Throne provided Mary with a comfortable life. Frank, the only son of Frank Gresham, lord of the manor, was raised with what was befitting an heir to an estate of generous proportions.

The elder Frank had mismanaged the estate and was deeply in debt and on the verge of losing everything. Frank and his pushy, overbearing wife, Arabella De Courcy, had their minds firmly set, that Frank had to marry money. It was the only thing that could save them from losing everything. Frank, dearly loves Mary Thorne, and was just as set on marrying her. Lady Arabella, was determined to prevent this marriage, forcing Frank to find a rich wife. Her attempts, contrivances and constant nagging were a burden to Frank and hard to tolerate. Mary's, origins were known to only a couple people, was of sketchy heritage, had no money but was of good character and a sweet, charming girl.

Had I not listened to the estimable Bill Bryson's At Home, and History of the World, it would have been a bit of a gulp, to understand how Frank could agree to going abroad for a year and a day, or how Mary could have been so patient and forbearing. It was typical during that time period that even adult children bowed in deference to the wishes of their parents. According to Bryson, Charles Darwin, as an adult, nearly did not go on his now famous voyage and write The Origin of the Species, as his father denied him permission to go and it was an uncle who interceded for him and persuaded him to allow Darwin to take the trip.

Parents could disinherit, or cut children out of the lives if they disobeyed them. In Doctor Thorne, Frank had a slight edge, since his father had Frank's inheritance so far in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy, he could not use it as a threat to disinherit him. Frank was unwavering that he loved Mary, more than he cared about the estate and his father loved him dearly and would not have shunned him out of the family. The power parents had over their children was tremendous at the time and the pressure that was constantly put on Frank would have been understood in the mid 1800's, just as today we understand certain things that are part of popular culture. Novels and serial stories written well into the twentieth century were maudlin, and full of pathos, way to sticky sweet for today's taste, yet, Anthony Trollope, manages to avoid the mawkish and still maintain a good story that keeps his books in popularity today.

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