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Cousin Henry

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  300 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Cousin Henry, first published in 1879, is perhaps the most unusual and intriguing of Trollope's shorter novels. Trollope's masterly handling of the novel's unlikely hero, a tiresome and timid coward, is notable for its insight and compassion.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 17th 1987 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1879)
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Apr 09, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four years ago I started to read my first Trollope - 'Cousin Henry' - for a Classics Circuit tour. I didn't get on with the book, I didn't finish it, but I at least had the sense to write:

"I suspect that I may still come to love Trollope. I just need another time and another book."

When I saw the same book in the library again last month I thought it was time to try again, time to see if another time and the other books I've read would make all the difference.

I think they did; because this time I
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I read Trollope from the Delphi Classics edition of Complete Works of Anthony Trollope, which always has a very brief description, usually different than that on Goodreads. In it is said this is Trollope's most experimental work. What could that mean? Surely Trollope would not deviate from his usual writing style! I was immediately reassured that he did not.

Trollope, in spite of his seeing somewhat expanding roles for women, is a traditionalist. This book suggests that the traditional blind adhe
May 01, 2007 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: trollope
Indefer Jones, childless, is torn between his love of primogeniture (which suggests that he leave his property to his nephew Henry) and his love for his niece, Isabelle, Henry's cousin. Ideally, this dilemma could be resolved by the marriage of Henry and Isabelle, but Henry's escutcheon is blotted, not horribly so, but too much so for Isabelle.

After wavering several times on his will, Indefer dies. Henry finds Indefer's final will, which leaves everything to Isabelle. Too greedy to reveal it, bu
Marts  (Thinker)
Quite an interesting novel, it highlights the effects of guilt, suspicion and procrastination.
Henry knows that his uncle changed the will but is afraid to tell the others what he has discovers he keeps procrastinating and suffers the ill effects that such guilt can bring eventually, and also as a means of discovering the truth, the late uncle's goodly lawyer encourages Henry to take legal action against all those who have published their suspicions about him, but Henry only realises that he must
Cousin Henry is one of Trollope's later and lesser-known novels, a powerful psychological study of a weak man. Cousin Henry is Henry Jones, a London clerk who is seemingly the heir to his wealthy uncle's estate. However, Henry knows that his uncle made a new will before his death, naming Henry's cousin Isabel the heir. Concealing his knowledge of the new will, Henry goes through an agony of guilt and suspicion, presented by Trollope with masterly insight and compassion.
Laura Leilani
Mar 29, 2016 Laura Leilani rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Certainly not Trollope's best, but Trollope is still an enjoyable read. An interesting study of a man no one likes. In some passages he almost seems to have Aspergers Syndrome. Maybe I'm projecting but he has no idea why people dislike him and in so many places he is unsure of how he should behave, as if he does not understand social customs. The story was enjoyable too, as you see what can happen why you make a quick decision without doing what you know to be right immediately; the decision sno ...more
Jun 12, 2015 Stephanie rated it liked it
Throughout the book I was greatly reminded of The Tell-Tale Heart and felt that Poe wrote the same themes in a much more enthralling, precise manner.
Aug 22, 2016 Anne rated it really liked it
The book is quite engaging from start to finish. Two cousins, Henry and Isabel, are pitted against each other as their uncle, Indefer Jones, keeps rewriting his will. When Uncle Indefer dies, leaving behind a last-minute will in favor of Isabel, Henry, as the only one who knows of its whereabouts, must decide whether to give up the will, wait for it to be found, or destroy it.

The internal conflict of Henry is quite well written. Here is a normal guy, not particularly likable, who finds himself f
Sep 06, 2015 Pgchuis rated it really liked it
Henry is summoned by his uncle Indefer, who is determined to leave his estate to Henry since he is a man, rather than to Henry's cousin Isabel, who has been brought up to believe she would be the heiress. Isabel goes to visit her father and while she is away the squire changes his mind again and makes a new will in her favour. He then dies, but no one can find the most recent will, even though two workers on the estate are ready to swear they witnessed it. We know, but no one else does, that Hen ...more
Elizabeth Schurman
Feb 02, 2011 Elizabeth Schurman rated it liked it
It's okay. I just hadn't read any Trollope. Interesting character study. Heavy redundancies from being paid by the word (I assume).
Jan 08, 2014 Diane rated it it was ok
The story line and characters were fine but the repetition was annoying. Was this perhaps because it was serialized?
Ricardo Moedano
More like a simplistic subplot extracted from another full, complex volume typical of Trollope, than a story in its own right, there is no foundation whatever for Isabels despite for her cousin Henry, who, precisely because of his feeble character, stands out as the strongest personage in this little interesting tale. Furthermore, it becomes repetitive once the business of the opposed wills has been settled, and yet, during the whole procedure it was obvious what it would all come down to in the ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Kythwena rated it really liked it
it was a pain to read this book, pretty antediluvian, leisure wording, action not moving an inch for chapters but nevertheless it was really good, capturing in it's impotence (English is not my mother tongue so for a while I might speak like that, especially 'hitherto' grown on me). Not much happens here, in last chapter you can find the accurate epitome of whole story, delivered in one monologue. I think it might look marvelous on stage. Leave a lot to work on for actors and keep you on toes if ...more
Dec 26, 2014 Hope rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Trollope prided himself in writing unadventurous stories. But unlike every other Trollope book I’ve read, this one was a real page turner. No, it doesn’t have any more action than usual. But it was a precursor to psychological thrillers because the action largely takes place in the mind of Cousin Henry. Early in the book he commits an error and spends the rest of the book deciding whether he is innocent or guilty. Can you be considered as guilty for NOT doing something as you could be for doing ...more
Rowland Bismark
Fred Neville, heir of the Earl of Scroope and a lieutenant of cavalry stationed in Ireland, was a self-indulgent young man, too weak to follow his own best impulses. The Earl wanted him to marry the eminently suitable Sophia Mellerby, but he had already fallen , in love with Kate O'Hara, a young girl living in the vicinity of his barracks. She and her mother had been deserted by Kate's scapegrace father, who had served a prison term for swindling and had fled to France to escape punishment for o ...more
In his old age, Welsh squire Indefer Jones makes his will for the disposition of his Carmarthen estate. The obvious heir is his niece Isabel Brodrick, who lives with the old man and on whom he dotes. But Jones is convinced that he must bequeath the property to a male heir - a tiresome, cowardly London clerk, Henry Jones. Young Jones duly inherits the estate, but rumours refuse to die that there was a last-minute change of heart on the part of the old man and that a final will restored Isabel to ...more
Jun 13, 2015 Diana rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
A pleasant Trollope book. At first I thought it was going to be his formulaic tough, unyielding heroine ultimately finds happiness with the man she loves but most of the book concerned Cousin Henry and the consequences of his bad deed. I found it interesting and well told. This satisfies my Books on the Nightstand bingo card spot for a book written before 1970. It certainly meets that criterion.
Jul 04, 2015 Melodee rated it really liked it
This was a good short read. This is the tale of two cousins who may or may not inherit the estate of their well-to-do uncle. I love Trollope's work anyway, but this was a surprise. I found many traits of this novel to be similar to Edgar Allen Poe's work. The story telling skills offer something completely new for Trollope fans. I highly recommend it.
Feb 08, 2013 Carol rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any fans of Anthony Trollope
Shelves: trollope, audio, 2013
Anthony Trollope nailed the vicissitudes of repentance: the strong determination to do the right thing, the shrinking back from the shame of confession, the change of mind when an opportunity comes, the consolation of not having done worse, the misery of a guilty conscience, the promise of making things right at a future date. Trollope brilliantly makes Cousin Henry's strife a sin of omission.

I also appreciated the roles, attitudes and responses of the people around Cousin Henry. Most of the cha
Mar 25, 2013 Lucy rated it liked it
Not a typical Trollope: if you're thinking of starting with Cousin Henry because it's a short one, then don't. It doesn't have his usual subplots, the confidential authorial voice is less cosy, and the heroine is much less sympathetic than most. Although Henry's plight is shown in excruciating detail, he doesn't come to life as a realistic character any more than Isabel and her cardboard curate do. There are two wonderful characters: the tough but kind attorney Apjohn and Young Cantor, whose bri ...more
Katy Wilson
Dec 22, 2015 Katy Wilson rated it really liked it
Not the best Trollope I have read but I enjoyed it as I always do his books.
Claire Chat de bibliothèques
Je voulais découvrir Trollope, mais c'est une déception, si le style est bien, je n'ai pas du tout accroché aux personnages :(

Dec 01, 2014 Flora rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
My first Kindle 2 item! To heir or not to heir is the brief summary of this tale. The young woman is not as satisfying as in Trollope's full length novels. Cousin Henry is suitably inept as Trollope's loser men can be but the heroine and hero are not as admirable. The characters are more one dimensional, not as nuanced. Very short. But I will continue to hunt down all of Trollope's books.
Jun 14, 2013 Maria rated it liked it
You know people who blame all their bad fortune or their station in life on others? I do. And now I know another one ... cousin Henry. Not that I didn't think many characters in this little book were unnecessarily cruel to him, but he also is the author of much of his own suffering. Times change, but people have the same tendencies still ....
Benjamin Kahn
Apr 05, 2016 Benjamin Kahn rated it it was ok
Cousin Henry wears out his welcome soon. I didn't care whether he revealed the will or not, but I just wanted him to make a decision - either destroy it or come forth with it. The agonizingly slow way that Trollope brings about the resolution to this tale makes it one of the least favourite of his books.
Jun 28, 2011 Rita rated it it was ok
I remember liking Trollope in highschool, but I didn't like this much. I found the actions, motives and logic of both main characters very hard to fathom, even with the fact that they are 19th century characters. They didn't behave in ways that seemed at all logical or realistic to me
May 08, 2008 Cheryl rated it liked it
Even though I really enjoyed the expert character development and subtle personality traits portrayed in this book, it failed to capture my interest as thoroughly as Can You Forgive Her? did. I guess I'm more of a love story fan than a fan of stories about a dead man's will.
Jason Reeser
Jul 30, 2009 Jason Reeser rated it really liked it
A wonderful classic dealing with guilt and obsession. As much as I love the classics, I can't always say I coultn't put it down. This one, though, I really couldn't. This one doesn't get a lot of mention, but it should.
Sep 16, 2011 Darcy rated it really liked it
Cousin Henry is such a weenie, but Isabel is so inflexible, it's crazy.

Poor Cousin Henry--he was weak and cowardly with no personality and nobody made the tiniest secret about their dislike and suspicion of him.

Nov 05, 2013 Ghaggard rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. An interesting tale with a deep description of Cousin Henry and his situation. I always think Trollope should have had a good editor, but I enjoy his books just the same. A quick read.
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Anthony Trollope became one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of Trollope's best-loved works, known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around the imaginary county of Barsetshire; he also wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts of his day.

Trollope has always been a popular novelist. Noted fans ha
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