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Miss Mackenzie

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

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. 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?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I don't suppose he need trouble you much. If you've made up your mind about it, I think you might as well ask her at once." From all which it may be seen that Miss Mackenzie had been invited to the Cedars with a direct object on the part of Mr Ball.

But though the old gentleman thus strongly advised instant action, nothing was done during Christmas week, nor had any hint been given up to the end of the year. John Ball, however, had not altogether lost his time, and had played the part of middle-aged lover better than might have been expected from one the whole tenor of whose life was so thoroughly unromantic. He did manage to make himself pleasant to Miss Mackenzie, and so far ingratiated himself with her that he won much of her confidence in regard to money matters.

"But that's a very large sum of money?" he said to her one day as they were sitting together in his father's study. He was alluding to the amount which she had lent to Messrs Rubb and Macken. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is my second reading of the unforgettable Miss Mackenzie. I liked it even better than the first go-around. It is really a fine example of Trollope's depth, as well as his inimitable and often humorous character portrayals.

When her brother dies and she is on her own for the very first time,...more

Margaret Mackenzie spent her youth caring for her ill father, only to spend her young womanhood - and beyond - caring for her brother who was also ill. When her brother died, and left Margaret his small fortune, she was 35 years old, had no friends and knew nothing of the world. But that small fo...more

I can think of no more amiable writer than Anthony Trollope, whose novels can be read again and again without any diminution of their original power. As a member of the Yahoo! Trollope group, I have read approximately three-quarters of his 47 novels, many of them twice, and at least one of them (...more

This is an overlooked small gem of a novel. Margaret Mackenzie is a spinster in her mid-thirties who receives a large inheritance when her brother dies and must then deal with what comes with the inheritance, including several suitors, who may or may not simply be after her money. Trollope depict...more

Una novela que nos presenta muy claramente las vicisitudes por las que una “solterona” debe pasar para encontrar el amor en una sociedad llena de gente mezquina e interesada. Ha habido un momento que me ha recordado a “Orgullo y prejuicio”, por cierto. La manera de Trollope es muy ágil, se lee co...more

Extremely soppy story that would make a stunning costume drama for the BBC as it has all the right elements - nasty dowager duchesses, scamming suitors, impoverished lovers and people dying, romantically, of consumption. At the end everyone's fortunes are reversed - the poor have money, the snott...more

A very pleasant read, although the story itself could have easily ended 50 pages sooner. However, the filler created by Trollope was also enjoyable.

It was an interesting portrait of a woman on her own in 19th century England. I became quite attached to Miss Mackenzie and absorbed in her story.

An...more

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a husband.

Miss Margaret Mackenzie,a middle aged spinster, has spent her life in service to her family. First she nursed her aged father through his final illness and now her older brother, Walter. When Walter's will is read, everyone is shocked he left his fortune to Margaret. None is more shocked than her...more

I never tire of returning to the novels of Anthony Trollope, and Miss Mackenzie has proved to be the treat I’d anticipated. This wonderful Victorian novelist never fails to delight. In this unassuming little novel, the less than attractive spinster, Margaret Mackenzie, unexpectedly inherits a sma...more

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