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Orley Farm

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,037 ratings  ·  43 reviews
'Most of those among my friends who talk to me now about my novels, ' wrote Trollope in later life, 'and are competent to form an opinion on the subject, say that this is the best I have written.'Indeed, this fictional account of a case of forgery was much admired by the author's greatest contemporaries, including George Eliot and G.H. Lewes. Trollope himself singles it ou ...more
Paperback, World's Classics, 450 pages
Published October 31st 1985 by Oxford University Press (first published 1862)
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Petra X
This is perhaps the most unusual of all Trollope's books. The ending is quite extraordinary, morally outrageous even today or perhaps especially in this day and age, just absolutely disgusting.

Trollope writes these long sagas that contain multiple small plots, usually romantic, and writes the characters so well that you get quite involved and this book does not disappoint in this.

The plot seems to have been written about in just about every review so there is no point in the artificial drama o
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Bruce
The plot of Orley Farm is as complex and multilayered as we have come to expect from the pen of Anthony Trollope. And the narrative is as filled with authorial asides and conversations between Trollope and his readers as we have come to enjoy. This is a book to be read in a leisurely manner, without any urgency or rushing. Characterizations are brilliant and individual, and plot lines interweave and separate, creating a tapestry that is always of a whole but with distinctive shades and nuances i ...more
David
When people ask me, "David, you're obviously a complete nut when it comes to Trollope. I've never read one of his novels, and he wrote so damned many. Which one should I try?", this is the one I recommend. Some in the Barsetshire and Palliser series may be better, but the first book in each of those series is below standard for Trollope; I don't want anyone to embark on those until they know Trollope can deliver the goods. And deliver the goods he does in Orley Farm.

The plot revolves around a wi
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Janet
In a word, wow! Dare I say it? Yes, I prefer Trollope to Dickens - less sentimental and more fully formed characters. Another novel about the machinations of the legal system and how reputations are made and lost with honor and integrity making merely a cameo appearance. Trollope confirms the protagonist's guilt in the first few pages so the question to be answered is whether she'll get off or not. I really should go back and read Bleak House again to compare and contrast the two.
K.
I’ve been longing to review this wonderful book and it’s taken me too long to get to it and it’s just not as fresh on my mind as it was. More’s the pity.

This was an incredibly powerful book! Truly another Trollope masterpiece. Actually, Mr. Trollope mentioned during his lifetime that this was his favorite creation. He felt like it was a perfect mix of sensation and politics (or truth about humanity)—a book with a fascinating and fast-paced story no one could put down paired with political talk
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Margaret
This isn't one of Trollope's best-known novels (though it's hardly obscure), but I think it's one of his best. Years ago, when Sir Joseph Mason died, there had been some question about his will, which left most of his property to his eldest son but included a codicil leaving Orley Farm to his youngest, Lucius, son of his second wife. When the case came to trial, the authenticity of the will was apparently proved, and Lucius inherited. Now, though, an enemy of Lady Mason has uncovered evidence wh ...more
Jonathan
Like every Trollope book I read right after I read it, this was my favorite. One of the best legal suspense thrillers, where you can't help but love the wrong-doer and hope for her to get off the hook, but will she? Oodles of good characters, irony, tension, and plenty of pages to get into it. And then there's Sir Peregrine who makes you want to spend your days espousing honor and good character, sipping claret and eating mutton, playing whist and petting your dogs.
Tim
"Orley Farm" isn't part of Anthony Trollope's two six-volume "series" for which he is best known (the Barsetshire novels and the Palliser books) but its quality makes the standalone novel a pretty good option for those who don't want to explore that much territory.

At the center of the novel is a court case dealing with the disposition of property among family. Lady Mason is accused of forging the will of her husband 20 years ago to ensure that the property of the book's title was to go to her b
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Marialyce
This was the first (but hopefully not the last) Trollope book I have read. I thought the writing, so personal as if directed solely at me was exceptional. It was easy to follow the life and times of the characters as they ranged between love and the law. It was an all inclusive book that covered so many aspects of Victorian life and answered the question of what makes one a noble person.

I enjoyed all the characters and thought the author did a wonderful job of making them real and ever so vulne
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Karen
Sep 22, 2014 Karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Because apparently my life is not complete unless I'm reading a book that's at least 600 pages long :-)
Brad
Mar 31, 2008 Brad rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Insomniacs with a high tolerance for pain
Trollope was paid by the word to write this giant hunk of, er, "literature." Unless you are paid by the word to reead it, you should probably avoid it. Actually, if you like Dickens, you might like Orley Farm.
maven
The first Trollope novel I've read, this book kept making me think back to Dickens' Bleak House, which I read at the end of last year. Both deal with a major legal case, though each very different in nature.

It may not be a fair comparison, but I definitely preferred Bleak House, for the style and overall feeling of the story. Orley Farm felt too drawn out for much less of an overall story -- though it certainly had some of the same complexities -- and it didn't have the cozy feeling Bleak House
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Elizabeth (Alaska)
Dickens certainly wanted to show his readers the plight of the poor and wanted society to change. I have seen no evidence that Trollope had any agenda - he simply enjoyed telling his stories peopled primarily with the middle class. In this, however, he took pains to poke at the legal system. He complained that lawyers seemed to have no interest in finding the truth, but only in successfully defending their clients and the truth be damned. As this was first published in 1862, I can see only that ...more
Richard Thompson
The novel revolves around the question of whether or not Sir Joseph Mason left his whole estate, including Orley Farm, to his son Joseph Mason, or if there was a legitimate codicil to the original will which he signed leaving Orley Farm to his youth wife Mary and their new son, Lucius. At the time of his father’s death, Joseph Mason launch a law suit accusing his step-mother of having forged the codicil. He lost the case. Twenty years later, new evidence comes to light and Lady Mason is on trial ...more
Elizabeth
Well, it's a novel, and it's a fairly successful integration of the story of a legal case with the stories of the emotional lives and relationships among the people involved or somehow connected with it. But... with this novel Trollope is not consistently interesting or insightful. Occasionally he gives you a great line, or there's a passage describing the interactions among types of people who don't usually get the attention they should--old men and middle-aged women, for example. He's ambitiou ...more
Christina Dudley
"Gorillas he slew by scores, lions by hundreds, and elephants sufficient for an ivory palace." --Not exactly the parting description I expected to read about a character I pitied, but very 19th century.

This was not my favorite Trollope, and I am a die-hard Trollope lover. The tale of the lawsuit against Lady Mason took a VERY long time to unfold, and I missed a central love story to wind everything around. There are love stories, yes, and Lady Mason's with the inimitable Sir Peregrine is unique
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Diana
I adore Anthony Trollope's books. Typically nothing really happens but the characters are so well written that I just enjoy following along with their lives. This book is different in that there is an actual dramatic conflict that culminates in a trial. The era and its strict moral code plays a large part in this story and takes a harsh toll on the characters but the book still manages to be quite charming.
Al
Not so well-known now, Orley Farm was a favorite at the time Trollope was writing. It has his usual combination of clear writing, persuasive characters, an interesting story line, and insights into the human condition. In this book, a young widow, a second wife to an elderly man who died some years before the book begins, stands accused of forging a codicil to her husband's will to benefit her son from that marriage. The reader sees her through the eyes of the other characters as the truth unfo ...more
Aloke
Did Trollope need an editor? On one hand, this is a long book and sometimes the leisurely pace makes you wish he would skip quickly to more exciting subplots. On the other hand, maybe you should just relax and enjoy the ride. And I did! The book is filled with suspense, great characters, interesting historical observations and a surprising number of laugh-out-loud moments (The battle of the 'mercial room! Dinner at Groby Park! The demise of Martha Biggs! The ever mercenary Miss Furnival!). That ...more
Jennifer Griffith
It took me about a year to read Orley Farm, but I loved every minute of it. The edition I have explains that Trollope fancied himself one who understood law, but that he erred greatly when he concocted the plot of this novel.

It doesn't matter. I don't have a clue about 19th century English inheritance lawy anyway. To me, it's all fiction. I just loved the characters, their conflicts, the description of the hunt and the English countryside. Sigh. I'm a hopeless fan of Trollope. Is life long enou
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Stephen
I've read it twice and enjoyed it more the second time. Different twists than in T's other books.
Lucy
This is just like every other Trollope I've read (this is number twenty-four), that is, it is full of wonderful authorial asides, insights into human behaviour, and some beautifully drawn characters. I think my favourite in this novel has to be poor Mrs Furnival, though of course the incomparable Mr Chaffenbrass makes another appearance here. And who doesn't recognise Moulder, the bullying know-all? The scenes with the travelling salesmen are worthy of Dickens. If you wanted one book to typify T ...more
Jennifer
Phew! A long book which craftily goes up to 400 pages and then starts again with another 400 for no readily apparent reason. I very much enjoyed coming back to Anthony Trollope and his tales of humanity. Around a legal case, on whose outcome we wait breathlessly despite discovering the facts of the matter much earlier, he hangs many lives, small and great, and joys and sorrows, similarly small and great. He looks at what justice means, and what British, adversarial justice means - not necessaril ...more
Dave Morris
Dubious to begin with as it felt like Trollope was trying to do Dickens. You know when Stephen Moffat tries to do RTD humour and it doesn't quite work? Like that. But, to be fair to Trollope, he was probably doing it for the same reasons - a huge audience already there for these serialized sagas, which obliges the writer to play to that audience's tastes. Luckily he soon abandons that and focusses on getting it right for the tpb/box set. Overall this nudges a 5-star.
Gary
Sharper than the Barchester books, more akin to the Pallisers. Not got to the end yet, so have that pleasure to come. Its now reached the page-turner stage. Will review the rating when I've finished
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As usuall all the ends are tied together but the happy ending,doesn't come despite AT hinting way before the end that it might. Good satire on the Justice system and adversarial advocates. A rewarding read, but then I'm a fan.
Dominick
This is quite a meaty, complex exploration of guilt, crime, and punishment, raising serious questions about law and justice, legality and morality. The central issue is whether a will is legitimate or a forgery--and,if it isa forgery (because of course it is, or the story would be much less interesting), whether that criminal act is nevertheless justifiable. One of Trollope’s strongest efforts, despite a rather pallid love story.
Candace
Spectacular! Wonderful characterizations, a plot that keeps you turning the pages, but not so fast that you can't slow down to enjoy his usual skewering of certain aspects of the legal system, his pithy insights into human nature, and of course the portrayal of Victorian social mores. The Palliser novels remain my favorite Trollope series, but Orley Farm is definitely his masterpiece.
Cynthia
The first Trollope I read, and the one that enticed me into reading everything by him that I could get my hands on. I'll have to go back and reread it for fine points, but it has a wonderful complex plot and believable characters who are tormented but not so much so that it's annoying.
Sarah
If I had any clout and/or prize money, I'd offer a prize to any modern fiction writer who could churn out a 500+ pager on a lengthy real estate litigation and make it a page-turner. I don't think we can do this anymore. Anthony, Charles: hats off, gentlemen.
Leslie
Beautiful book full of beautiful people and a few not so beautiful who were nevertheless delightfull in their shameless speeches and hilarious hypocrisy. Proper review coming soon as this is being typed via i-phone and, i really hate texting of all kinds.
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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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