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Harry Heathcote of Gangoil

Anthony Trollope


Harry Heathcote is a young immigrant “squatter,” farming thousands of acres in Queensland, Australia. His strong personality wins the loyalty of friends and family. But that same imperious nature makes him enemies, too, who would like nothing more than to see him ruined. As Christmas approaches, the conditions for his ruin arise naturally in the intense, scorching heat of a southern hemisphere summer. His enemies, however, spot an opportunity to give nature a helping hand. Their sharp conflict contrasts with a muted romantic subplot—but even here, Heathcote’s tone and temper complicate the path of true love.

An invitation to produce a “Christmas story” came while Anthony Trollope was writing The Way We Live Now. Harry Heathcote was the result, fulfilling the brief, but without the “humbug” that Trollope believed marred too much writing in that genre.

Harry Heathcote is one of Trollope’s shorter novels, but still displays his sharp psychological insight into his leading characters, and his capacity to produce natural dialog. It also draws on his first-hand knowledge of his son’s experience of farming in Australia, observed during Trollope’s extended tour of the Antipodes in 1871.

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