A priest is accused of theft, complicating the courtship of his daughter. The Last Chronicle of Barset is, as the title implies, the last of the six Barsetshire novels by Anthony Trollope.
Poverty-stricken Reverend Josiah Crawley is believed to have cashed a cheque for a substantial amount that did not belong to him in order to pay a pressing debt. Crawley, an honest man, doesn't himself know the truth of the matter; the bill was indeed paid, but where did the money come from?
Meanwhile, his eldest daughter, 19-year-old Grace, is being courted by young widower Major Henry Grantley, the son of wealthy Archdeacon Grantley (prominent in several books in the series). While not especially mercenary, the archdeacon considers Grace's social status and poverty, not to mention the shadow hanging over her father, as making the match totally impossible. Henry, however, (after much thought) does propose to Grace, and despite her wish to spare him from being connected to her family's impending disgrace, she loves him too much to reject him.
Reverend Crawley is brought to trial. In the end, Mrs. Arabin (the former Eleanor Bold of the first book) returns from a vacation abroad in time to clear up the matter: she gave the Crawleys the cheque that was cashed. Archdeacon Grantley gives way, making Grace and Henry Grantley very happy.
Best part of story, including ending:
Many of the major characters in the series make their final appearance, including Dr. Thorne, the Proudies (Mrs. Proudie dies), the Luftons, John Eames (Grace's cousin) and Lily Dale, etc., which is pleasant enough for fans of the series such as myself. However, Reverend Crawley is a rather thorny, unsympathetic person.
Best scene in story:
The scene where Bishop Proudie gains a small victory over his domineering wife, only to reflect on how temporary it will be (based on his past experience) is quite hilarious.
Opinion about the main character:
Crawley is extremely stubborn and hardened to a certain extent by his grinding poverty.