Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $22.94

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Can it be right to persist in a bigamous marriage? Mr. Peacocke, a classical scholar, has come to Broughtonshire with his beautiful American wife to live as a schoolmaster. But when the blackmailing brother of her first husband - a reprobate from Louisiana - appears at the school gates, their dreadful secret is revealed and the county is scandalised.  

With its scathing depiction of American manhood, it's jousting with convention, and its amiable, egotistical protagonist, Dr Wortle's School is one of the sharpest and most engaging of Trollope's later novels.

Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Dr Wortle's School

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joseph R
  • Joseph R
  • 29-08-2009

What is a Little Bigamy Among Friends?

Timothy West turned in his usual five star performance with this story. He has an amazingly flexible voice, narrating seemingly without effort bringing out the nuances of Trollope's work. This narrative was of special interest to me because the two villains as well as the heroine are fellow Louisianans. I say the two villains but actually I think their blackest crimes are almost venial in comparison to the evil done by the gossiping women, particularly Mrs. Stanalope in this story. Indeed, the pain and damage inflicted by gossips is a real evil today as it was during the time of this story.

Trollope had a talent for picking hot topics, in this case, the heroine was a bigamist albeit unwittingly. This subject is just as hot today judging from stories in the press. What paper or television news program could restrain itself from leading with such a story? Trollope, I think rather liked taking on heroines with flaws. For instant, in Doctor Thorne the lady was born illegitimate. In essence, Trollope digs a hole for himself to scramble out dragging his heroine with him. The author's job is to make the reader like the heroine. Bigamy certainly didn't make his job any easier but these stories sold newspapers, then and now.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Claire
  • Claire
  • 18-04-2012

Trollope is amazing, and Timothy West is amazing

This is my first and only review of a Trollope novel. It is not my favourite of his novels, but I think it’s in the top five. I love ALL of Trollope’s novels and have listened to almost all of them available on Audible.

I’m a fan of classic fiction and I appreciate good classical writing. My favourite another’s are Dostoevsky, Jane Austen, Willkie Collins… and now Trollope. I went through an Audible Trollope marathon and started to find the books all resembled one another so much I was losing track of which characters stared in which books. So I went on to some modern fiction (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and some other classics like the Count of Monte Cristo and Madame Bovary. Then I went back to Trollope and am now convinced that he is one of the best writers I’ve come across. His characters make you love them AND hate them, sympathize with them AND censure them. I’m very sad that I’ve almost listened to them all.

My favourite is The Way We Live Now, but they are all really good. I recommend listening to the chronicled books in their proper sequence, so you don’t get confused (there are websites that can help) and I recommend the recordings narrated by Timothy West; his voice is perfect for these novels.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for murray
  • murray
  • 29-10-2012

trollope rocks!

What did you love best about Dr Wortle's School?

just loved all the characters and the story just moved right along - sorry it ended so soon

What did you like best about this story?

the shock of the storyline - couldn't believe it in victorian times

Which character – as performed by Timothy West – was your favorite?

the doctor who timothy west plays to perfection - makes you see that person.

Any additional comments?

as much as i love mr. west i am always amused the way he portrays american women with a deep voice

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lynn Darling
  • Lynn Darling
  • 22-11-2011

A modest Trollope gem

If you are already a Trollope addict you'll enjoy this sharply etched study of manners and morals among the rural Victorian clergy and gentry. If you're new to the master, start with one of the more famous classics, where the pace is faster and the humour more pronounced. Timothy West, as always, is superb.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tad Davis
  • Tad Davis
  • 25-08-2017

Charming and short

Dr Wortle is a fiercely loyal man whose very loyalty brings about a terrible crisis for him. A married couple at the school turn out to be not quite married. All of Trollope's most charming traits as a writer are in evidence, and Timothy West gives his usual sterling performance.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anicee Apple
  • Anicee Apple
  • 02-04-2015

Wonderful story

Excellent story and narration. Thoroughly enjoyed each characters. I love the spunk of the doctor and how he ran his school and selected the applicants.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Philip
  • Philip
  • 09-06-2010

well-done

Trollope is no too popular these days, which is a shame. This a good story, with modern sensibilities. The narration is excellent, with the exception of Mrs. Peacock's voice. Fortunately, as in much of Dickens, the female characters in Trollope are not very important actors, so this is not such a big deal.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John
  • John
  • 10-01-2018

B +

Life is full of ironies. I bought this book because, after the six-volume odyssey of Barsetshire, I was wondering what Trollope was like in a shorter format. Maybe I could get the same enjoyment for a less daunting time commitment. Alas, I ended up wishing the book was longer.

True, I was enchanted by Trollope’s opening gambit—revealing the “mystery” of the story and declaring that he would not rely on that to draw me on, but rather would try to hold my interest by showing the ways in which the doctor, the bishop, the schoolboys, their parents, the neighborhood and society in general discover and react to that mystery. Human nature, human actions and reactions, are the heart and soul of Trollope’s best works.

But by the end, something was missing. I perused online reviews and reactions; was I missing the finer shades, or did others have that same, weird, stepping-on-the-last-step-that-somehow-isn’t-there feeling about this novel?

Turns out some think it a minor masterpiece, while more sense the disappointment I felt. As mentioned above, Doctor Wortle is vintage Trollope: an exposition of what happens when good intentions get misunderstood; an exploration of the tension between the clear-cut doctrines of faith and faith as you and I live it out in the less clear-cut circumstances of everyday life. Trollope knows we need doctrine, a common understanding of right and wrong. But we also need to weigh cases on their individual merits. (the Peacocke’s, for all their misfortunes, nevertheless acted wrongly). But the real complications of the story—complications that threaten to destroy Doctor Wortle’s School—are the result of gossiping backbiters who, over their teacups and muffins, forget the delicate balance between unbending truth and unfailing mercy.

Doctor Wortle’s School is a place where we can learn a lot. But ultimately, the story is unsatisfying. The ending is rushed. The loose ends get tied up too neatly—and too happily. For all his acknowledgement that the young Mary Wortle and her affianced may be headed for trouble—a standard dose of Trollopeian Reality, and another aspect of his work that makes me place him higher in the Pantheon than Dickens—we’re left wanting to see what that trouble might be. Unlike Mr. Harding, who lost his post as warden in the first of the Barset novels, or young John Eames who, in the fourth and fifth installments, fails to win his ladylove, the Peacocke’s end up happily (and legally) united, Doctor Wortle’s School recoups the boys it lost, and the doctor’s daughter gets her sprig of nobility. I’m not saying a Trollope novel can’t end happily. But there’s usually more suffering and uncertainty along the way. In other words, more pages.

Before embarking of the Barset Chronicles, I had to decide between Simon Vance and Timothy West. Vance won, so now I was eager to see how West read Trollope. Overall, he does an exceptional job; clear, crisp diction, the perfect lilt of irony or humor, characters who sound like people. My only real quibble (beyond mispronouncing some American place names) is his tendency to make the American Mrs. Peacocke’s southern accent sound very much like her gravelly, ne’er-do-well brother-in-law’s.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Robin
  • Robin
  • 10-11-2020

Great narration, minimal plot

I have read a lot of Trollope and I know that there isn't a lot of action. But this one seemed to consist of a lot of people rehashing the same events in multiple conversations. It reminded me of soap operas where you can miss them for days or weeks and pick right up. There are a couple unique elements here, a trip to America, where pistols are drawn. The view of Americans is entertaining. The narration is very good.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for B. Mays
  • B. Mays
  • 28-06-2020

A lesser Trollope

I love the best of Trollope and unfortunately this didn’t measure up. He did take the time to really connect the stories or develop most of the characters. Timothy West is a terrific narrator so I listened the whole way through.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Arlene
  • Arlene
  • 15-03-2010

Dr Wortle's School

Timothy West reads the book with great clarity. The characters are clearly delineated. Trollope has the ability to describe a character so that you are able to know not only what they look like but how they think and act. Timothy West does justice to the author and I was completely absorbed in the story from beginning to end. The mark of a great author is that even though this is set in a time far removed from ours as regards marriage, living in sin and other moral situations we can easily identify with the moral dilemmas.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David
  • David
  • 05-11-2017

A situation no longer remarkable

The moral dilemma Dr Wortle finds himself and to which he responds in what I think most of us these days would consider an enlightened and compassionate manner must have been pretty revolutionary at the time - at least, Trollope's treatment of it must have been. I read another review, suggesting Trollope's attitude was 'compassionate' and I think one can't improve on that description. That's one of the great joys of Trollope's writing: his attitudes to a number of things are way ahead of his time and his characters, particularly his women, have credible intellects and he appears to value their opinions - compare Dickens, whose women, though vastly entertaining, are almost all either monsters or ninnies.

So: another interesting and enjoyable story and, as ever, Timothy West is perfectly matched to the material. The man is a master of this. There seem to be some titles still that he hasn't recorded...can someone from Audible ensure he record the remaining ones and that as soon as possible?

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for p m wootton-davies
  • p m wootton-davies
  • 19-06-2014

Gentle tale

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes Because it is a very interesting reflection on the time it was written

Who was your favorite character and why?

The curate, because he was an old fashioned gentleman

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The reconciliation at the end

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No It was a book to listen to at leisure

Any additional comments?

Anthony Trollop's stories are all worth reading or listening to

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-05-2018

Masterful performance

As always, Timothy West reads perfectly. It is wonderful how he manages subtly to suggest the voices of the characters, even the American accent of Mrs Peacock. His interpretation adds hugely to my enjoyment of the book, as does all his Trollope readings. I wish he would record more of them.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for tonyridgway
  • tonyridgway
  • 20-01-2015

Typically Trollope.

Brilliant narration . An excellent story with subtle humour and an intriguing plot.I feel that Dr.Wortle must be at the very least half cousin to Barchesters Archdeacon Grantly.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mrs Anne Dunne
  • Mrs Anne Dunne
  • 02-06-2014

Great storytelling, beautifully read

This is a short, stand alone Trollope novel revolving around morality and the clergy. The characters are well drawn and the moral dilemma at the heart of the story is dealt with compassionately.
I have listened to the Palliser and Barcherster series and Timothy West's reading of Trollope is a great treat.
The book was published more than a century ago and some of the ideas and language are peculiar to that time.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mrs Lesley Jones
  • Mrs Lesley Jones
  • 09-08-2019

Masterful reading by Timothy West

It’s fun to discover the standalone Trollope novels and I cannot imagine a better narrator for this purpose than Timothy West. He is subtle and intelligent, bringing out all the dry wit and good humour, as well as the good-heartedness, which characterise Trollope. An unusual story with very different and surprising elements, with a wonderful character at the centre and some genuinely interesting questions about true moral values.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for bibliophile
  • bibliophile
  • 27-09-2014

Very enjoyable.

Perhaps not to everyone's taste, but this is a very enjoyable narrative, and it is expertly read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Radio Fan
  • Radio Fan
  • 06-06-2020

Excellent reading of a minor Trollope

This may not have the breadth of some of the author's other works, but I much enjoyed his humane examination of what must have been a rather shocking subject at the time in which it was written. Superb narration by Timothy West.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pavarotta
  • Pavarotta
  • 10-05-2020

great narrator, dull story

I love Trollope but this one was dull- only one story thread instead of the usual intertwining ones of Trollope. Timothy West is a fabulous narrator, especially of Trollope, but he couldn't redeem the tedious, stretched plot.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.