Son of a bankrupt landowner, Frank Gresham is intent on marrying his beloved Mary Thorne, despite her illegitimacy and apparent poverty. Frank's ambitious mother and haughty aunt are set against the match, however, and push him to save the family's mortgaged estate by making a good marriage to a wealthy heiress. Only Mary's loving uncle, Dr Thorne, knows the secret of her birth and the fortune she is to inherit that will make her socially acceptable in the eyes of Frank's family – but the high-principled doctor believes she should be accepted on her own terms. A telling examination of the relationship between society, money and morality, Dr Thorne (1858) is enduringly popular for Trollope's affectionate depiction of rural English life and his deceptively simple portrayal of human nature.
Anthony Trollope (1815 - 1882) established a successful career in the Post Office whilst also writing over forty novels, plus short stories. He enjoyed considerable acclaim during his lifetime. He is best remembered for the Barsetshire Chronicles. Crime novelist Ruth Rendell was born on 17 February 1930 in London, and educated at Loughton County High School, Essex. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has received many awards for her work, including the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger (lifetime achievement award), and the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence.