The Eustace diamonds

by Anthony Trollope

Paper Book, 1983

Status

Available

Publication

Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1983.

Description

The third novel in Trollopes Palliser series, The Eustace Diamonds bears all the hallmarks of his later works, blending dark cynicism with humor and a keen perception of human nature. Following the death of her husband, Sir Florian, beautiful Lizzie Eustace mysteriously comes into possession of a hugely expensive diamond necklace. She maintains it was a gift from her husband, but the Eustace lawyers insist she give it up, and while her cousin Frank takes her side, her new lover, Lord Fawn, declares that he will only marry her if the necklace is surrendered. As gossip and scandal intensify, Lizzies truthfulness is thrown into doubt, and, in her desire to keep the jewels, she is driven to increasingly desperate acts.

User reviews

LibraryThing member lit_chick
2011, Blackstone Audiobooks, Read by Simon Vance

Oh, Lizzie Eustace, what a piece of work you are! Described in turn by relatives and acquaintances as “cunning, obstinate, greedy, false, heartless, cruel, ignorant, ungrateful, and vile …” – you get the picture – Lizzie is the wiliest of
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Trollope’s female creations. Wily enough, in fact, to have attracted the attention of the enormously wealthy Sir Florian Eustace and to have induced him to marry her. Alas, Sir Florian lived only a few months into his marriage, leaving Lizzie an annual income of £4,000 and a Scotch property, Portray Castle. He left her a diamond necklace, too, valued at a staggering £10,000, which Lizzie claims was a gift. But Mr. Camperdown, the Eustace family lawyer, is adamant that “the Eustace diamonds” are a heirloom and cannot be thus gifted. Lizzie’s refusal to part with the jewels causes Mr. Camperdown to vow to pursue the “greedy blood-sucking harpie” to the full extent of the law. And it’s game on!

“She knew well enough that she was endeavouring to steal the Eustace diamonds; but she did not in the least know what power there might be in the law to prevent, or to punish her for the intended theft. She knew well that the thing was not really her own; but there were, as she thought, so many points in her favour, that she felt it to be a cruelty that any one should grudge her the plunder … She would break her heart should she abandon her prey and afterwards find that Mr. Camperdown would have been wholly powerless against her had she held on to it.” (Ch 6)

Finding neither widowhood nor idleness to her taste, Lizzie begins to search for a new husband. Amongst her prospective victims: Frank Greystock, a cousin and a handsome, though broke, barrister; Lord Fawn, a diplomatic undersecretary, who according to Greystock, is an “empty, stiff-necked, self-sufficient prig” (Ch 16); and finally Lord George de Bruce Carruthers, a guest of Lizze’s at Portray Castle, whom she believes might well be the “Corsair of her Byronic dreams.” But as Lizze becomes further embroiled in legal troubles, the gentlemen may well have cause to reconsider their options.

The plot thickens yet further when the diamonds are stolen not once, but twice! First, on a return trip from Portray to London, Lizzie’s hotel room at Carlisle is broken into and the safe in which she keeps the diamonds is stolen. That the diamonds were not in the safe, Lizzie neglects to report to the police. Lord George is suspected of being in league with the thieves, and the gossip is rife – reaching even Lady Glencora (to my utter delight!) and the Duke of Omniem. Shortly thereafter, there is a robbery at Lizzie’s London home. But how can the jewels be reported stolen from London when they were stolen from Carlisle? Oh, the woe!

“Lizzie, in defending herself to herself, felt that, though cruel magistrates and hard-hearted lawyers and pig-headed jurymen might call her little fault by the name of perjury, it could not be real, wicked perjury, because the diamonds had been her own. She had defrauded nobody,—had wished to defraud nobody,—if only the people would have left her alone. It had suited her to give—an incorrect version of facts, because people had troubled themselves about her affairs; and now all this had come upon her!” (Ch 71)

The Palliser novels just keep getting better! As always, I must compliment the sublime Simon Vance for brining Trollope’s best to life. Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member Urthona
I first listen to Anthony West's sublime narration while climbing the Alps on a StarTech elliptical, then return home suffused to read what I just heard -- though Lizzy Eustace is but second-hand Becky Sharp, my weakness for liars has no parameters...
LibraryThing member thorold
Fanny Price meets Becky Sharp in a straight fight, no holds barred. Plus a detective story à la Wilkie Collins, a cameo appearance by Lady Glencora Palliser, an attempt to introduce decimal currency a hundred years too soon, and a couple of racy Surteesian hunting sequences—plenty of fun for
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all. The story itself isn't as interesting as the detailing of the characters and dialogue (we have a pretty good idea how it's all going to turn out), but it's still good fun. Lizzie Eustace, the Becky-character, is especially nicely done: utterly amoral, a skilled liar, but just a fraction short of being clever enough to get everything she wants.

The political background this time isn't much (the decimal-currency saga is a very minor distraction), but the story of the diamonds does run along on the fringe of one of the hot topics of the time, the extent to which married women could own property in their own right. Very possibly this is the only place in English literature where the reader needs to understand the legal definition of "paraphernalia".
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LibraryThing member ritaer
This novel is notable for one unsympathetic female protagonist, Lizzie Greystock Eustace; one somewhat insipid protagonist, Lucy Morris; and a moving portrait of a woman driven into a nervous breakdown by pressure to marry a man she physically loathes, Lucinda Roanoke. Trollope may often adhere to
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the letter of Victorian morality in contemning some of his heroines that the modern reader finds unexceptional, but he also excels in understanding the pressures affecting his characters in the artificial structures of upper middle class life.
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LibraryThing member japaul22
This is the third book in Trollope's Palliser series. It follows the drama surrounding Lady Lizzie Eustace. Lizzie Eustace married a rich Lord who gave her (so she says) a diamond necklace worth 10,000 pounds. After he dies, she insists she will not give it up as it was a gift to her, but the
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Eustace family insists that the diamonds belong to the estate and she can't keep them. After arguing about this for about half the book the diamonds are stolen and there is lots of drama surrounding the truth of the matter for the rest of the book.

It was interesting to me that Trollope shakes things up a bit with this book in a couple of ways. First, it is a fairly dark book. Few of the characters are particularly appealing or redeemable. In other Trollope books, even when characters are behaving badly, I've viewed them more as having human faults than being bad people, but in The Eustace Diamonds I didn't have that sort of sympathy for the characters. Second, he flips the general order of things by focusing on a woman who has plenty of money and is looking for a husband more as a support, protector, and mate. This was kind of nice to see rather than the more familiar story of a penniless woman needing a rich man to secure her livelihood. Unfortunately, Lizzie is so irredeemable that I couldn't give Trollope much credit for this shift.

This book also suffered a bit from not having enough side stories despite its length. I'm used to 2 or 3 stories going on in Trollope's books in addition to the main story. This book certainly had side stories, but I didn't find them all the interesting or enough of a diversion to give me a break from Lizzie Eustace.

Now, all that sounded pretty negative, but I still did enjoy the book. It just wasn't up to the high standards I set for Trollope. Taking the book on its own, I'd give it 4 stars, but in comparison to the other Trollope books I've read, it only gets 3 stars from me.
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LibraryThing member mbmackay
This is the third Palliser novel, but not one of Trollope's best. It was written by published installments, and sorely needs a good edit - there are long patches that could be removed and improve the overall result. This book is more story-based than other novels, and he does a good job of keeping
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interest in the outcome of the anti-heroine and her diamonds. Characterisation is, as expected of Trollope,quite wonderful. Lady Eustace and her cronies are delightfully seedy and disreputable, but not overdone - they remain very believable. So, not the best book, but even a bad Trollope is a good book. Read on nook, August 2010.
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LibraryThing member cbl_tn
Young Lizzie Greystock has a taste for diamonds and other precious stones. Her brief marriage to Sir Florian Eustace leaves her with a title, an infant heir, and a diamond necklace valued at 10,000 pounds. The Eustace family lawyer, Mr. Camperdown, insists that the diamonds are part of the Eustace
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estate and must be returned. Lizzie claims that her husband gave the diamonds to her with no strings attached. She enlists her young lawyer cousin, Frank Greystock, to help her fend off Mr. Camperdown. The pretty young widow has a lifetime settlement from her late husband's estate. It's not an enormous amount of money, but it's enough to attract suitors like Lord Fawn and the somewhat disreputable Lord George de Bruce Carruthers. It may even be enough to tempt cousin Frank away from his beloved but penniless Lucy Morris. Trollope lets readers in on a secret that Lizzie's suitors only suspect. Lizzie is a shameless liar.

This will never be among my favorite Trollope novels. Unlike in some of his earlier novels, there is little humor to lighten the tone. Lizzie brings out the worst in her companions. In contrast, Lucy Morris brings out the best in others. There just isn't enough of Lucy in the novel. The first half of the novel hinges primarily on inheritance law that can no longer be assumed to be common knowledge. Things become much more interesting in the second half of the novel after a theft occurs.

I've always maintained that there are worse things than being single. The subplot of Lucinda Roanoke and her engagement to Sir Griffin Tewett could be Exhibit A for this argument. With money running out, Lucinda is forced to accept the first man who asks her to marry him, even though she finds him repulsive.

Even the friendships in the book are based on money. Although the Fawns and Lucy genuinely like each other, Lucy is still an employee in their household. Lizzie's friendship with Mrs. Carbuncle is measured out in pounds and shillings. I'm reminded of the old saying “money can't buy happiness”. If that's the point Trollope intended to make with this novel, he succeeded.
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LibraryThing member lauralkeet
In The Eustace Diamonds, Anthony Trollope explores the dark side of marriage in the Victorian era. Our heroine, Lizzie Eustace, is a very unlikeable young widow who, thanks to her husband's fortune, has a roof over her head and a steady income until her son comes of age and inherits everything. She
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is also in possession of a diamond necklace, which she insists was a gift from her husband but by law is not rightfully hers. A lawsuit is brought against her concerning the necklace, and Lizzie pouts and stamps her feet and refuses to deal with it. Her fiance, Lord Fawn, begins to regret his proposal. Meanwhile, Lizzie's cousin Frank Greystock has fallen in love with Lucy Morris, who works as a governess in the Fawn family and is Lizzie's complete opposite: kind, honest, and poor. Frank is a lawyer and Member of Parliament, but in the eyes of his family "needs" to marry money. In that respect, Lizzie would be a much better match and while Frank finds her attractive, he knows Lucy is the better person. When Lizzie's necklace is stolen, the pace picks up and Lizzie becomes further entrenched in selfish deceit.

I liked this book less than the earlier Palliser and Barchester novels. It was darker and lacked the satire Trollope is known for. The characters were unlikeable or boring, and familiar faces from previous books were not sufficiently present to compensate. There was also a strong anti-semitic thread involving jewelers, money-lenders, and a clergyman and while I understand the views expressed were typical of that time period, it made for unpleasant reading. But at least now I can say I'm halfway through the Palliser novels, and look forward to the next one.
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LibraryThing member paakre
The characters in this book are not nearly as much pleasure to read about as those in Phineas Finn. And it isn't because Trollope is misogynist. He gives the main character her due as a complicated, worthy anti-hero. But this book really frustrated me because it felt like something that was written
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in order to be paid by the word. There were many many redundancies and repetitions. The plot moved forward by tiny fractions of the inch. Finally at the end, when the pacing picked up, it was quite marvelous. But getting there was a plod.
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LibraryThing member cmbohn
Lizzie Eustace had to marry. So she went to work, captivated a wealthy man, and became Lady Eustace. Lord Eustace died, leaving Lizzie a house tenancy for life and everything to his son. He also left a diamond necklace. Was it left to Lizzie specifically, or was it left to his son, to give his
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bride one day? Lizzie is sure it was left to her, and she refuses to give it back.

That is the central plot of this Victorian novel by Anthony Trollope. It's the third in the Palliser series, but it is not necessary to read them in order to enjoy this one. Despite its age, I had no trouble reading and enjoying this book. Yes, Trollope does moralize a bit in places and some of the paragraphs are dauntingly large and wordy. But the characters are still fresh and very entertaining. I was only a few pages into the book when I thought, "Oh, this is going to be fun!" A beautiful, selfish, spoiled heroine and a meaty plot - what more could I want? I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning to finish last night, but had to go to bed and read the last few pages this morning. Definitely it did take longer than my usual read, since it took me about 3 days to read it. But it was worth it. The setting was well done and very interesting.

As always, if you want to read it and be surprised, DO NOT read the preface first. Just read the back of the book and jump in.
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LibraryThing member SallyApollon
The Eustace Diamonds
By Anthony Trollope
Sally Apollon
Overall Score: 6.5 out of 10

Literary Style

Formal, literary style, in keeping with 1873—the year in which it was initially published. No tricks, but an intimate approach to the reader, the author sometimes addresses us directly, which I found
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a little unnecessary. I think if I take issue with the style at all it was the degree to which the author takes his time. He does not know anything of the economies of time in the modern world! But then if I were Lucy Morris, passing six months at Lady Lithlingow’s I would be very appreciative of this, likewise if I were one of the Fawn girls, at Fawn Court waiting for something, ANYTHING to happen, I would love a book like this to sink my teeth into. Truthfully, I often wanted to skip over pages or chapters, but found myself unable to because I was afraid I’d miss something.

Themes

HONESTY: this is central to the book and to each character. The degree to which they are honest with themselves and those around them and the effect it has upon their lives. I do think Trollope very cleverly demonstrates that lies beget lies and truthfulness ultimately is it’s own reward. Lucy and Lizzie are polar opposites to demonstrate this, with Frank being the (questionable) prize. Lady Lithlingow is miserable, but honest and Lucy ends up liking her. Lady Fawn is compassionate & honest and although she is made to look like a fool at times, she is in the end a friend that anyone would appreciate. Mrs Carbuncle is delusional and false with all those around her & reaps the rewards of that. The LAW is almost another character in the book…interesting how slippery it is at times and how in the end Lizzie evades the worst, by finding legal ways around her predicament.

LOVE: Not really much in evidence with the exception of Lucy—she’s really the only one who demonstrated faithful & true passionate love and that you could imagine becoming a good spouse. Maternal love was well demonstrated by Lady Fawn. None of the men in the book seem to know the meaning of love, with the exception of Frank—and it seems it curiously sneaked up on him in the penultimate chapter—he sort of lost his mind for the ENTIRE BOOK, courtesy of Lizzie.

MARRIAGE: As was so important in those days “a good marriage” was the be-all and end all of a young lady’s social forays. The various marriages that woulda-coulda-shoulda been kept you wondering. The many suitors that Lizzie went through made my head spin, especially towards the end. I found it intriguing that Frank was the one that she really liked most of all, but you could never have convinced yourself that she loved him as she tossed him too easily aside when she realized that he was “JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU”. Curious too that she accepted the Jew-Preacher, Mr Emilius, when he was described as so vile, perhaps she saw in him someone not unlike herself and could respect that. She did not resent him his scheming and chose to believe his lies. I could almost imagine them scheming together on how to scam people. I guess he was the last reasonable option open to her that she could tell.

MONEY: This book principally deals with people who do not have enough for the life that they lead—hence are constantly trying to figure out how to get by, whether by creditors or sponging off others, or simply being frugal. Interesting insights. This was Lizzie’s upbringing and legacy, from her spendthrift father—you could say he scarred her into immediately seeking a financially sound marriage by DYING & leaving her young, penniless and almost friendless.

Mrs. Carbuncle’s wheeling & dealing over the wedding presents was astounding in it’s audacity—really quite pitiful.

Curious that the one person who truly needs money—Lucy, but sees the futility of it is the only one to adamantly refuse an unearned generous gift from the typically mean Lady Lithlingow. And she is vindicated; even a new frock would have made no difference to how Frank loved her in the end!

SOCIETY: How judgmental and fickle is the society then—but can we say it is any less so now? And yet realizing how harsh an audience, the people to whom it matters bow to social pressure over & over again. Lizzie stands alone in her defiance, first secretly then openly—but resultingly she is no longer welcome in London society and knows it. In the chapter: “Lord George gives his reasons”, Trollope reviews why Lizzie is rejected.

Characterization

LIZZIE EUSTACE: She would probably be interesting company, but you would quickly realize she’s not to be trusted. It took Frank a long time to realize this. Others, not quite so long. She’s referred to as “clever” a lot, but I’m not sure it was so. Quick-witted perhaps, but self-defeating in the end. If she had failed to marry Sir Eustace she should have been on the stage, as acting was her real talent. Narcissistic.

FRANK GREYSTOKE: He was often referred to as a hero, which, I suppose in the end he did turn out to be. But he was delightfully fallible and particularly susceptible to Lizzie’s wiles. Lucky for him, Lucy would still have him in the end…how could she not? With no other prospects—he was the hero she needed.

LUCY MORRIS: Dull—sort of a Jane Eyre. I wish that she had a little more spunk—I would have liked her better if she’d taken a few adventurous walks out of LL’s house, but at least she spoke her truth to Lizzie and didn’t back down.

LORD FAWN: Does anyone see him as anything other that a WUSS???

MRS CARBUNCLE: Devious & deluded.

LUCINDA: Mentally ill—probably masochist, at the very least clinically depressed. Interesting diversion though—I did wonder if she spent the rest of her life in a lunatic asylum—or if she was abused as a child.

SIR GRIFFIN: Headcase—probably a sadist. Maybe even borderline. Most certainly Grandiose.

LORD GEORGE DE BRUCE CARRUTHERS: Bizarre red herring. Truth teller.

MR BENJAMIN: The mastermind behind the robberies! Along with Smiley & whats-is-face. Not forgetting Patience CRABSTICK (what kind of a name is that Trollope????)

THE POLICE: bunch of twits—but they did plod on with it & eventually see an end to it.

THE CREW AT MATCHING (PALLISERS?): extremely dull—almost skipped this altogether—remind me not to read another Pallisers novel if this is who it’s all about.

SUMMARY:

I did enjoy the book, honestly I did, although I became frustrated with the sheer volume of extra stuffing in it and the extent to which I felt I had to wade through to get to the point of the plot. It took me FOREVER—about 2 months or more, waaay too long for a book. Not nearly rewarding enough for the effort expended. I did enjoy Lizzie & watching her unravel—I almost thought she would be utterly triumphant and return to London on the arm of a handsome and loaded and titled Peer of the Realm, but that would not have been a judicious ending, I suppose. I particularly enjoyed the scenes of hunting in Scotland—funny how Frank gets someone else’s horse. Made me think how I’d LOVE to be galloping across the moors & hedges in Scotland. I actually had a pang of sadness for MacNulty in the end and often felt that Lizzie’s son must be a poor dejected little thing.
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LibraryThing member Perednia
Fares better when the entire series is read consecutively. Trollope is a straight-forward storyteller who treats his readers well.
LibraryThing member cdeuker
Lizzie Eustace is one of the great anti-heroines in literature. At the end, one character summarizes this book thus: She told a lot of lies and lost some diamonds.
True, true . . . but there is so much more. I listened to Timothy West read this (audible.com) and then would read some on my own.
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Timothy West is an incredible reader--some parts probably are boring but his voice just smoothly pulls you through those points. So many portions of the book are fantastic. Trollope somehow makes us see through Lizzie's lying, greedy, ridiculous nature and still like her, like her in spite of the fact that she prefers lies to truth, thinks of poetry as jewelry, etc. etc.
I was sad to finish this book. I recently read Trollope's THE WAY WE LIVE NOW. That was also great, but it dwindled away at the end. This one stays strong to the last page. A great Victorian novel.
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LibraryThing member hemlokgang
Trollope continues, in this third installment of his Palliser series, to poke fun at the aristocracy. It is really more than poking fun, but the writing makes one laugh while also clearly identifying the vanities, hypocrisies, and various other frailties of the
English upper class in the mid 1800s.
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Lady Eustace, the melodramatic, manipulative, narcissistic widow will stop at nothing to hold onto her beloved diamond necklace, while desperately seeking a new spouse in the poetic incarnation of a corsair. In the course of pursuing her nefarious goals, she lies, cheats, double-crosses, perjures, and uses everyone in her path. I won't tell you what happens to the necklace or her love life, because that would spoil half the fun. I look forward to the next volume and what antics will occur there!
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LibraryThing member leslie.98
My favorite from the Palliser series so far. Lots of similarity with Vanity Fair but not quite as good - mostly due to Lizzy not being as clever as Becky.
LibraryThing member jemsw
The Eustace Diamonds, one of Trollope's finest and yet cruelest works, plays between the conventions of domestic fiction and picaresque. Lizzie Eustace is an opportunistic heroine in the tradition of Becky Sharpe, using her beauty and charm to secure title and fortune for herself. Her struggle to
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hold on to the fabled Eustace diamonds in the face of severe opposition forms the major conflict of the book, but Trollope also turns his attention, as he has so successfully elsewhere, to the impossibilities—or at least extreme difficulties—of marriage in Victorian England. Love is no guarantee of marriage, and neither is a promise, but the novel deals sensitively with the difficulties of women as well as men in facing the rigors of the marriage market.

Trollope is a great master of the subplot, and three separate plots emerge, intertwining neatly, each holding interest and enriching the novel's exploration of the depths to which love, encumbered by finance, can sink.

While some find the narrator's treatment of Lizzie herself overly harsh, the even-handedness elsewhere is a pleasure as characters behave well, behave badly, and are characterized with exquisite complexity. And through it all, Lizzie emerges as one of the great Victorian heroines: beautiful, unscrupulous, and fiercely protective of herself and what she has managed to secure.

Though the novel is harsh and occasionally bleak, there is hope to be found as a leaven for this searing critique.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
Anthony Trollope’s books are usually pretty light hearted marriage plots where situations like class or annual income interfere with true love. But The Eustace Diamonds was different in a refreshing way. In addition to the typical conundrum of two people without any income falling in love, there
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is the added intrigue of politics and … gasp, a stolen diamond necklace. And not just any necklace, but a family heirloom valued at 10,000 pounds. The mystery of the stolen necklace definitely added a bit of spice to the story, making it much more of page turner than the typical Victorian novel. As part of Trollope’s Palliser series, there are some familiar characters from earlier books, such as Lady Glencora and Madame Max Goesler, but they are very minor characters in this story. Although it was more of a side plot to the overall novel, I really enjoyed the conflict in Parliament over the change from the old Shilling money system to the current use of decimal system. So interesting to see the similarities of getting a bill passed in England and the United States – lots of back room deals as well as the necessity of a small fortune to win an election. Enjoyable book – definitely one of my favorite Trollope’s! Extra bonus – beautifully narrated by the ever wonderful Simon Vance.
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LibraryThing member BeyondEdenRock
Oh, what a maddening book!

As I read there were moments when I thought this might be my favourite Trollope (to date) and there were moments when I thought it would be at the bottom of the list.

In the end I did like it. But ….

The story spins around Lizzie Greystock, who will quickly rise to become
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Lady Eustace.

Lizzie was the only child of the disreputable Admiral Greystock, who died leaving her nothing but debts. Fortunately his daughter had learned to live by her wits, and she realised that to marry money to make her way in the world. And so she chose to live with a rather difficult elderly relation, because that put her in the right location and the right strata of society to catch a wealthy husband.

She caught Sir Florian Eustace. He was exceedingly rich, but he was in poor health, and Lizzie was a widow before her first wedding anniversary. She was wealthy, she would soon be the other of the Eustace heir, and she was in possession of the Eustace Diamonds; a fabulous diamond necklace, valued at ten thousand pounds then, which equates to around half a million now

73954 Lizzie said that they were hers; the Eustace family insisted that they were part of the estate and must be returned to the trustees. Though Lizzie knew her claim was shaky she held her ground, she spun a very good story, and she began to look for a husband who she hoped would protect her and look after her interests.
Lord Fawn proposed, but he tried to back out when he realised that dispute over the diamonds might have consequences for his own reputation for her. Lizzie didn’t want to marry a an like that, but she wasn’t going to let herself be jilted. She had to be the victor, she had to have the final word. Always.

She was fond of her cousin Frank, the only one of her relations who had stood by her, and Lizzie knew that, as a barrister and a member of parliament with very limited resources, he needed a wealthy bride. She didn’t understand why he didn’t propose. She didn’t know – he didn’t tell her – that he was engaged already.

Lucy Morris had been left alone in the world, just like Lizzie, but she had dealt with the situation rather differently. She accepted that she had to earn her own living, she became a governess, and she had the qualities she needed to make her a very good governess. She loved Frank, she knew that he loved her, but because she worked for the Fawn family she found herself in a rather awkward position.
One night, when she was travelling between her Scottish home and her London home Lizzie’s room was broken into, and the metal chest that kept her diamonds secure was stolen.

Who was responsible? Who had the diamonds?

The answer was surprising, and it seemed inevitable that Lizzie’s lies would be revealed and that she, and anyone close to her, would be ruined.

How ever could Lizzie rise above that.

The way the story played out was wonderful.

But I couldn’t help thinking that it didn’t suit its author, that there were other authors who might have handled this particular story rather better.

most of all, I was disappointed that Trollope, who usually had understanding for all of his characters, had none for Lizzie. He said at the start that he didn’t like her and he took every chance he could to point out that she was manipulative, dishonest, a compulsive liar, a thief …..

Yes, she was all of those things, but I understood why. I couldn’t warm to her, but I appreciated that she was taking charge of her own life, that she strove to be successful and to find her ‘corsair’ – the dashing romantic hero who would sweep her off her feet.

She was all those things, but she was so much more than that.

Others are judged less harshly.

Consider Frank, who proposes when he knows his financial situation makes marriage impossible, and who neglects his fiancée because he must look after his cousin’s interests.

Consider Lizzie’s friend Mrs Carbuncle who is determined that her niece Lucy must marry, who pushed her towards an engagement with a horrible man, and who fails to understand that her niece feels only revulsion, so that in the end her mind snaps.

Both of those stories were neglected; they felt secondary, and they are fatally compromised; Lucy would have been much more at home in a Dickens novel; I’d love to see what Wilkie Collins could do with Lucinda’s story.

A lot of this book just didn’t feel like Trollope; it feels like an attempt to do something a little different. There’s an early reference to ‘Vanity Fair’ and though this is a very different story I think that’s telling.

I still have to say that there was much that I loved.

I loved Lady Fawn, who was both warm and gracious, and who did her very best for Lucy.

I loved watching first Lizzie and then Lucy deal with the rather difficult Lady Linlithgow, in very different ways and with very different consequences.

I loved the sojourns – and the incidents – in the Scottish countryside.

I loved watching Lizzie outmanoeuvre Lord Fawn, who was ever bit as wishy-washy and self-serving as I remembered from ‘Phinneas Finn’

Most of all I loved watching Lizzie and following her progress.

Yes, I found much to enjoy, but I’m afraid that the book as a whole didn’t work as well as Trollope's usually does.
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LibraryThing member etxgardener
The third novel in Trollope’s Palliser series, this book is mostly a novel of manners and has very little to do with politics. It concerns the rather tawdry social career of Lizziw Freyatock, the beautifulm but extremely selfish daughter of an admiral who manages to induce the wealthy Sir Florian
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Eustace to marry her. Lord Eustace is a bore, so it is very convenient when he dies within a few months of his marriage. Lizzie is left with a baby son, the heir to the title, a life interest in the Scotch property, Portray Castle, and an income of £4,000 per year.. There is also a diamond necklace, valued at £10,000 which she claims was given to her by Sir Florian. The Eustace family lawyer, Mr. Camperdown, however claims that the necklace is a family heirloom and thus, not her personal property. Lizzie refuses to give up the necklace and the claims and counterclaims over the necklace drives the plot of this novel.
Lizzie is a Kardashian before that regrettable family existed Besides being pursued by the redoubtable Mr. Camperdown for the necklace, Lizzie is in pursuit of husband #2 who she thinks will protect her interests from these bothersome lawyers. She has two initial candidates: her cousin Frank Greenstock who is an MP and is also unfortunately engages to a poor governess, Lucy Morris; and Lord Fawn, an under secretary in the India office. Both these men appear to ne ninnies where Lizzie isa concerned, but finally, they see through her lies and deceits and back away from entanglements with her. Lizzie then falls in with a disreputable set of characters, tries to orchestrate the theft of her own necklace and ends up back at Portray Castle married to Mr. Emilius, a reformed Jew who has become a popular preacher in London.
Trollope’s richly drawn characters give readers of this novel a detailed picture of life in Victorian England from the top of society to the bottom where con artists and charlatans desperately hang on to their aura of respectability.
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LibraryThing member pgchuis
Lizzie Eustace marries a dying man for his money and then schemes to keep control of a diamond necklace which is rightfully a family piece, rather than her personal property. The necklace is stolen and Lizzie lies and schemes away. The third in the Palliser/political series, there is very little
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politics (although what little there is includes attempts to introduce decimal currency) and not much of the Pallisers either. Lizzie is a wonderful baddie and I am giving this five stars despite a) the obligatory hunting chapters, b) plenty of anti-semitism and c) the fact that I think Lucy should have told Frank where to go.
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LibraryThing member arubabookwoman
I continued to enjoy Trollope's Palliser novels in August with the delightfully devious Lizzie Eustace, who insists that her late husband gave her as her own property the Eustace family diamonds, so that they are not a part of his estate. Her assertion creates all sorts of problems, including the
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fact that her fiancé finds her assertions distasteful and dishonorable enough that he no longer feels able to honor his pledge. I mostly enjoyed this, although I found it went on rather a bit long about some things. I did specifically enjoy learning the arcane bits of English common law about what does and what does not constitute an "heirloom" (the Crown jewels--possibly yes; the Eustace diamonds--definitely no), and what a widow can claim as her "paraphernalia" after the death of her husband. On to Phineas Redux

4 stars
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LibraryThing member JBD1
Rather a darker installation of the Palliser books than the previous two, with nobody very pleasant except some of our friends from earlier volumes making cameo appearances. This book is pretty much a catalog of horribles, but with one of the most interesting horribles ever written populating its
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pages. Lizzie Eustace, to put it bluntly, is a real piece of work, a born schemer who can't seem to stop even when she knows she's just hurting herself and those around her. No matter how much you might want to, you can't look away, either. The subplots in this one aren't quite as well-developed (or as interesting) in other Trollope novels, but both, like the main storyline, are quite discomforting.

Now, back to the adventures of our old buddy Phineas Finn, if the title of the next book is in any way descriptive.
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LibraryThing member Matke
My, this old classic turned out to be far more controversial than I would have anticipated.

Like most of Trollope's work, this is a long book. I think reading it pays off, though, if one has any interest in Victorian life in the 1860's era. Most of the characters are less than admirable and keep
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their eyes directly on the main chance (in this case, money; social and political position runs second to financial concerns).

Lizzie, our main character, is a selfish and quite stupid woman who will lie, and lie badly, when the truth would serve her better. The plot revolves around some diamonds that Lizzie insists are hers, although others think they belong to the estate of her late husband. It's a bit complicated to explain, but the situation is quite clear within the novel.

Lizzie is advised by her cousin Frank and several others, but she makes her own decisions, all of them bad. Sounds dreadful, doesn't it?

And yet I found the book to have an undercurrent of almost bitter irony, inviting the reader to laugh at the machinations of the characters, most of which come to naught.

This novel is quite a change from the Barsetshire stories, but is refreshing in its complete lack of sentimentality.y, this old classic turned out to be far more controversial than I would have anticipated.

Like most of Trollope's work, this is a long book. I think reading it pays off, though, if one has any interest in Victorian life in the 1860's era. Most of the characters are less than admirable and keep their eyes directly on the main chance (in this case, money; social and political position runs second to financial concerns).

Lizzie, our main character, is a selfish and quite stupid woman who will lie, and lie badly, when the truth would serve her better. The plot revolves around some diamonds that Lizzie insists are hers, although others think they belong to the estate of her late husband. It's a bit complicated to explain, but the situation is quite clear within the novel.

Lizzie is advised by her cousin Frank and several others, but she makes her own decisions, all of them bad. Sounds dreadful, doesn't it?

And yet I found the book to have an undercurrent of almost bitter irony, inviting the reader to laugh at the machinations of the characters, most of which come to naught.

This novel is quite a change from the Barsetshire stories, but is refreshing in its complete lack of sentimentality.
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LibraryThing member charlie68
A very enjoyable novel well-read by Simon Vance.
LibraryThing member kaitanya64
This book had an entertaining plot, but it seemed to bog down in so many side plots that it nearly lost my interest at several points. Clearly, the side plots are meant to enrich and emphasize the main themes of the book, but I like a plot that moves a little more quickly. And some of the
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characters, particularly the "good" girl, Lucy Morris, seemed flat.
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