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Miss Mackenzie

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Reading A Love Story Without Love In Anthony Trollope’s Miss Mackenzie

Miss Mackenzie might not be the most popular of Anthony Trollope’s works, but it is definitely a must-read. The author himself admitted to having tried to prove that a novel can be written without any love only to “break down before the conclusion”.

This Victorian era novel depicts a middle-aged woman who is said to be past her best. She isn’t very beautiful – plain would describe her best. She is unremarkable in many ways, yet she is the heroine of the story.

After many years of tending for her ill older brother, Margaret Mackenzie finds herself inheriting 12,000 pounds. This legacy gets her 800 pounds per year, which is not inconsiderable, and so do others think. Margaret finds herself called by her brothers who expect her to move in with the family. The heroine decides to decline her brothers’ invitation to move with the family and moves to the provincial fictional watering place of Littlebath.

At her new location, Miss Mackenzie starts to attract the attention of local suitors who are after her money. This unremarkable middle aged woman becomes the center of the little community, having even the local Reverend focusing his attention on her. While she is asking herself whether she should live in her own right or not, the community dismisses the idea as the concept of an independent woman was unheard of at that time.

In Miss Mackenzie, Trollope not only depicts a comic portray of the province community as well as show that a novel can be free of love, that until the end when the heroine unsentimentally falls in love. Miss Mackenzie is a recommended read for people interested in Victorian-era literature as well as anyone wanting to read about the struggles of women long before feminism came to rise.

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