LibriVox recording of Miss Mackenzie, by Anthony Trollope. Read by Kirsten Wever.
The thirty-five year-old (hence utterly over-the-hill) Miss Margaret Mackenzie, having devoted her life to others, suddenly finds herself with no one to care for, and in possession of a moderate fortune. Having money, she is now much sought-after and no longer universally deemed too old to marry. Partly because she has spent her life taking care of the brother whose money she has now inherited, she has no experience of wealth or popularity. Miss Mackenzie is the definition of “other-oriented. (Indeed, Trollope originally considered naming the novel, and his heroine, “Griselda”, presumably to invoke the folkloric character’s qualities of stolid obedience and endless patience.) These circumstances are the perfect set-up for classic Trollopian swipes and snipes at various fortune-hunters and other obsequies, and more broadly at society’s sexism, classism, and Mammonism. She comes into her own and begins to try to enjoy life, at first juggling, but ultimately rejecting, three serious suitors. As the story unfolds, the particulars of her deceased brother’s life and death reveal themselves, Miss Mackenzie becomes increasingly able to know who she is and what she wants, and both she and the reader are better able to discern the true colors of those around her. The question is: Will her self-knowledge overcome both her personal history and various social prejudices, so as to allow her to fall in love with – and say “yes” to – a really good man? (Summary by Kirsten Wever)
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April 20, 2018 Subject:
Lively & original. How come it's so little known? Beautifully drawn characters, lots of humour. I often laughed out loud (especially the bazaar chapter) and felt the ups & downs of the hero(s) & heroine(s).
The reading is excellent, very well paced, allowing the listener just those 2 or 3 seconds needed to take developments, new situations etc. on board before moving on. (Sometimes it seems like the reader has a train to catch & it spoils it all for me.)
March 16, 2013 Subject:
Once again LibriVox proves its utility by making a work that is hard to read on the page palatable to the ear. Thank you Ms. Wever for a recording that will make many listeners realise that not all 19th-century novelists were prudes.
Trollope is underappreciated partly because of his subject matter that tends to involve the domestic manners of Church of England clergymen (e.g., the Barchester series). And I have to admit to a certain lack of interest in that topic myself. Yet several of his novels have decidedly modern topics -- such as the plight of independent, unmarried women in mid-19th century England (e.g., Miss MacKenzie, Nina Balatka, Rachel Ray).
TheBookworm (Mancester, UK)
January 26, 2013 Subject:
A Nice Reading
This was a very nice reading of a very nice book. Thank you, Ms. Wever, for an excellent job.