Anthony Trollope once said, "A novel should give a picture of common life enlivened by humour and sweetened by pathos." Trollope admirably fulfills his own criteria in this charming third novel in the Chronicles of Barsetshire.
Doctor Thorne adopts his niece Mary, keeping secret her illegitimate birth as he introduces her to the best local social circles. There she meets and falls in love with Frank Gresham, heir to a vastly mortgaged estate; yet Frank is obliged to find a wealthy wife. Only Doctor Thorne knows that Mary is to inherit a large legacy that will make her acceptable to the otherwise disapproving middle-class society to which Frank belongs.
Where fiery passion fails, understated English virtues of patience, persistence, and good humor prevail in this most appealing of Trollope's comedies, which is third in the series of six novels of The Chronicles of Barsetshire.