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Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

Can You Forgive Her?

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Palliser Novels (1)

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Written in 1864, this is a wonderful view into the lives of the British lower aristocracy, or gentry, and how they relate to their cousins "born to the purple." A book of manners, with insight into the hearts, minds and motivations of the people of its time and place. The story centers around Alice, a woman of twenty-five, and her delicate sensibilities in regards to marriage. Since she is a woman who cannot make up her mind, and as soon as she does, she doubts her decision, there is a decided flavor of suspense.

Trollope is one of my favorite writers of his period. He takes us deep into the characters, and helps us to see them from several directions at once. He shows us not only the surface action and dialog, but the inner dialog and the objective view as well. He does this with a gentle sense of humor, seeing the ridiculous when we take ourselves too seriously.

All that being said, I'm afraid I haven't the patience for long absorbing reads any more. I ended up skimming many of the scenes which were not focused on the characters I cared about. By the end of the story, I did not care much for any of the women in it. Probably a fault of the time it was written in and what was expected of women then. I wish I knew how women received this story when it was written. Not one of these women seemed to have a lick of common sense. They were ready to throw away all they had without thought of their future on the romantic idea of helping the user men around them. I hope, I really hope that has changed, although I am afraid it is a trait of women to want to "save" men. ( )
  MrsLee | Feb 12, 2016 |
Being the first of Trollope's political series, there's a little bit of politics, but the focus of the book is matrimonial. Alice repeatedly makes bad decisions, alledgedly based on false ideas of compatibility. Lots of typical 19th century to-ing and fro-ing before virtually everyone ends up in a better place than they started in. ( )
  gbelik | Jan 8, 2016 |
The first of the Palliser novels. Although many of the characters drove me absolutely bananas for much of the book, it was a great read nonetheless, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the gang will get up to next. Some excellent humor, good political machinations, and romantic antics ... as always, Trollope really is able to get at the humanity of his subjects. ( )
  JBD1 | Dec 16, 2015 |
I enjoyed this and intend to listen to/read the rest of the Palliser series but I must admit that the thought of any more time spent with collassel stick in the mud Plantagenent Palliser and his ninny of a wife Glencora is enough to set my teeth on edge. I'm sure there were meant to be redeeming features in both but I could not find them. Although Alice spends alot of time finding herself unworthy of everything, she was much more real and I was rooting for her and Mr. Grey. George made a wonderful villian and all the extra characters were fun to love or hate. I'm enjoying my Trollope times!
  amyem58 | Nov 13, 2015 |
Alice Vavasor breaks off her engagement to John Grey and becomes re-engaged to her immoral cousin George who spends much of her money on attempts to be returned to Parliament. The other main thread of the plot concerns Glencora, who has been persuaded to marry the saintly Plantagenet Palliser, rather than the worthless man she loves, and who feels guilty that she has not been able to provide him with an heir. Light relief is supplied by Aunt Greenow and her suitors, Mr Cheesacre, who cannot stop talking about his money, and the penniless but dashing Captain Bellfield.

In answer to the title question - no, I never really understood why Alice broke things off with Mr Grey, although her dealings with George made more sense in a twisted sort of way. I thought Plantagenet was an excellent character - perfect in a crisis, but obtuse in so many ways. I also enjoyed Alice's father, who was a straight and honourable man, apart from his extreme laziness. I'm not sure that Trollope was exactly saying this, but a lot might have been avoided if Alice could have stood for Parliament herself ( )
1 vote pgchuis | May 24, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Birch, DinahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skilton, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Whether or no, she, whom you are to forgive, if you can, did or did not belong to the Upper Ten Thousand of this our English world, I am not prepared to say with any strength of affirmation.
She wanted the little daily assurance of her supremacy in the man's feelings, the constant touch of love, half accidental half contrived, the passing glance of the eye telling perhaps of some little joke understood only between them two rather than of love, the softness of an occasional kiss given here and there when chance might bring them together, some half-pretended interest in her little doings, a nod, a wink, a shake of the head, or even a pout. It should have been given to her to feed upon such food as this daily, and then she would have forgotten Burgo Fitzgerald.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140430865, Paperback)

The first novel in Anthony Trollope's "Palliser" series, "Can You Forgive Her?" traces the fortunes of three very different women in an exploration of whether social obligations and personal happiness can ever coincide. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction by Stephen Wall. Alice Vavasor cannot decide whether to marry her ambitious but violent cousin George or the upright and gentlemanly John Grey - and finds herself accepting and rejecting each of them in turn. Increasingly confused about her own feelings and unable to forgive herself for such vacillation, her situation is contrasted with that of her friend Lady Glencora - forced to marry the rising politician Plantagenet Palliser in order to prevent the worthless Burgo Fitzgerald from wasting her vast fortune. In asking his readers to pardon Alice for her transgression of the Victorian moral code, Trollope created a telling and wide-ranging account of the social world of his day. In his introduction, Stephen Wall examines Trollope's skill in depicting the strengths and weaknesses of his characters, their behaviour and inner lives. This edition also includes notes and a bibliography. Anthony Trollope (1815-82) had an unhappy childhood characterised by a stark contrast between his family's high social standing and their comparative poverty. He wrote his earliest novels while working as a Post Office inspector, but did not meet with success until the publication of the first of his 'Barsetshire novels', "The Warden" (1855). As well as writing over forty novels, including such popular works as "Can You Forgive Her?" (1865), "Phineas Finn" (1869), "He Knew He Was Right" (1869) and "The Way We Live Now" (1875) Trollope is credited with introducing the postbox to England. If you enjoyed "Can You Forgive Her?", you might enjoy Henry James' "The Ambassadors", also available in "Penguin Classics".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:15 -0400)

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CAN YOU FORGIVE HER? is the first of the six Palliser novels. In this volume Trollope examines parliamentary election and marriage, politics and privacy. He dissects the Victorian upper class. Issues and people shed their pretenses under his patient, ironic probe. But it is on women and their predicament that Trollope particularly focuses. "What should a woman do with her life?" asks Alice Vavasor. And each woman, being different and unique, has her own answer, from the uncomfortably married Lady Glencora to the coquettish Mrs. Greenow, to Alice's clear-headed cousin Kate.… (more)

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