The Eustace Diamonds, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)

Description

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 states that he will only marry her if the necklace is surrendered.

As gossip and scandal intensify, Lizzie's truthfulness is thrown into doubt, and, in her desire to keep the jewels, she is driven to increasingly desperate acts.

The third in Trollope's Palliser series, The Eustace Diamonds bears all the hallmarks of his later works, blending dark cynicism with humour and a keen perception of human nature.

Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780141441207

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by
4

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 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.

Review by
4

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 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.

Review by
4

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 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.

Review by
5

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 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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