Richard Rorty says that fiction is superceding philosophy as the place of moral discourse, and he's glad of it because novels raise questions of what to do within a human context, guiding us not by principles but by our lived sympathy. Anthony Trollope's "The Warden" could be the poster boy for Rorty's position, for it not only develops its moral ideas within a context of love and strong personality, it even reflects on the inadequacy of principle as a guide to behavior.
It also tells a compelling story with Trollope's usually wit and an eye for human foibles that stops just short of cynicism.
The story tells of Rev. Harding who, in the 1850s in England, is the warden of a home for the poor. He is a kind and simple man, devoted to his daughter and going the extra mile for his wards. The poor house was established four hundred years ago and its terms have not altered: the inhabitants get one shilling fourpence a day and the rest of the income from the various properties goes to the warden. So, although Rev. Harding is abiding strictly by the terms of the original bequest, as have his predecessors, he's making a fine living while his wards are only making ends meet.
Along comes John Bold, a clever young man, who is genuinely outraged by this injustice. He prosecutes the Warden in court and in the press, even though it means rupturing his relationship with the Warden's daughter, whom he, of course, loves. Bold genuinely admires and likes Rev. Harding, but principles must be followed. (We also smell the whiff of ambition coming from Bold's principled stance.)
While Rev. Harding's son-in-law and superior both believe Harding is in the right, Harding instantly recognizes the justice of Bold's claim, even if he disagrees with how Bold came to his conclusion and how Bold is prosecuting his case. The Warden responds beyond principle. Or, perhaps, he responds because principle has touched something deeper.
It's a love story, a satire about church and press, and a disquisition on the varieties of moral experience...all within an entertaining narrative.