The Duke's Children is the sixth and final Palliser series novel by Anthony Trollope.
The Duke of Omnium (Plantagenet Palliser) is utterly devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of his beloved wife, Lady Glencora. To add to his woes, two of their three young adult offspring are in trouble, which their distant (though loving) father is ill-equipped to deal with.
The sole daughter, Lady Mary Palliser, has secretly gotten herself engaged to poor, idle Frank Tregear, a schoolmate of her elder brother and family heir, Lord Silverbridge. When the Duke learns of it, he is adamantly opposed to it, and unfairly blames Mrs. Finn, Lady Glencora's closest friend and Mary's temporary chaperone. Mary, however, remains steadfast to her love.
Meanwhile, Silverbridge intimates to Lady Mabel Grex that he would like to marry him, if shown any encouragement. She doesn't cooperate, but is confident that he will try again, and that she will accept him then, though she doesn't love nor much respect him. However, he falls in love with an American beauty named Isabel Boncassen instead. This disappoints the Duke, as do Silverbridge's gambling troubles.
In the end, however, those he most trusts all tell him that his opposition is useless, and his children's happiness means more to him than his own preferences, so he gives way.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's not a bad way to end the series. It's not the weakest link in the chain (that would be the first novel, Can You Forgive Her?).
Best scene in story:
The scene wherein Silverbridge talks Isabel out of changing her mind about him stands out a bit, particularly the part at the end where he compares her to Lady Mabel.
Opinion about the main character:
The Duke is not intended to be particularly likable, respected certainly, but not likable.