The second novel in Anthony Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire series, Barchester Towers is a direct sequel to The Warden.
When the beloved old bishop of Barchester dies, everyone assumes his wealthy, worldly but respected, middle-aged son, Archdeacon Grantley, will take his place. However, the political party he supports loses power, and the appointment goes to a newcomer to the city, Bishop Proudie. He, his domineering wife and their chaplain, Obadiah Slope, soon make themselves very unpopular to most of the clergy. Among other things, Septimus Harding (the protagonist of The Warden) is not reappointed to his old position. Soon battle is joined between Grantley's faction and that of Mrs. Proudie.
In a subplot, Harding's widowed, rich, young, beautiful daughter, Eleanor Bold, attracts three suitors: Slope; a lazy young man named Bertie Stanhope; and Reverend Francis Arabin, a good friend of Grantley's. Through a series of misunderstandings, Eleanor's friends and relations come to fear that she may accept the odious Slope, but in the end, she chooses Arabin.
Slope's self-serving maneuvers are eventually exposed to all, and he is dismissed from his position. With that, the factional fighting subsides a bit.
Best part of story, including ending:
I go along with the general consensus that Mrs. Proudie makes a wonderful, vibrant villain.
Best scene in story:
The scenes in which Bishop Proudie tries (and fails) to assert his authority over his formidable wife are amusing.
Opinion about the main character:
Grantley, while fundamentally a good person, is much too concerned about worldly matters, unlike his saintly father and father-in-law (Harding).