Classic Book Review: Dr. Wortle’s School

Dr. Wortle's School by Anthony Trollope

Dr. Wortle’s School
by Anthony Trollope
5 out of 5 stars

Dr. Wortle has hired Mr. Peacocke as a teacher in the boys prep school, but learns that Mr. Peacocke and his wife are hiding a terrible secret. The Peacocke’s are not to blame, but circumstances are against them. Dr. Wortle must decide whether to throw them out, or assist them in finding a solution to their difficulties. The ensuing scandal might be enough to close down the school unless Dr. Wortle can act quickly to silence the wild rumors.

I loved this book so much! What an exciting story! One of the characters travels to America and has some dangerous encounters there, while Dr. Wortle is at home having milder adventures of his own trying to keep vicious rumors out of the press. The plot is really interesting and full of surprises.

I adore all these characters so much! Each person has such a well-written and deeply complex personality. Mr. Peacocke is the soul of honor, but more inclined to follow the spirit of the moral law, rather than the letter of the law. Mrs. Peacocke has suffered so much and is so strong and sad. I really admired her courage. Dr. Wortle is indignant and kind and generous. I love it when he rises up in righteous anger to defend the weak! Mrs. Wortle is comfortable and pious and not too bright, but full of love and kindness. Mary is sensible and sweet. I just love them all!

I loved the little side romance between Dr. Wortle’s daughter, Mary, and a student at the school. It was just such a sweet and innocent little romance, that gave me all the warm fuzzy feelings!

This book explores many deep themes including religious morality and the Victorian perception of what is right and acceptable in society. In this society, reputation is everything. It was fascinating to see these issues discussed between the characters, and different points raised, and logical arguments made, and emotional pleas made for or against what each character considered to be an acceptable morality. Ultimately, each person is guided by their knowledge of God and by their own conscience to choose what is most Christ-like and good.

The writing style is wonderful! It really shows the delicate relationships between people, and the internal thoughts and emotions of various characters. I loved diving into these complex relationships, and seeing how each character’s personal motivations would change the direction of the story. The dialogue draws you right into the scene, and I really enjoyed analyzing each character and their relationships with the other characters.

I was delighted with everything about this book!

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