Barchester Towers (Chronicles of Barsetshire)
This 1857 sequel to The Warden wryly chronicles the struggle for control of the English diocese of Barchester. It opens with the Bishop of Barchester lying on his death bed; soon a battle begins over who will take over power, with key players including the rather incompetent Dr Proudie, his fiendishly unpleasant wife and his slippery curate, Slope. This is a wonderfully rich novel, in which men and women are too shy to tell each other of their love; misunderstandings abound; and Church of England officials are only too willing to undermine each other in the battle for power.
One of Trollope's best-loved novels, it is a dazzlingly real portrayal of nineteenth-century provincial England peppered with humour, wisdom and extraordinary characters.