A sad little story, about as near to a tragedy as Trollope comes.
Sir Harry Hotspur is a wealthy land owner. He had a son, of whom he was very proud, and a daughter, Emily, who was bright and obedient. Sir Harry was happy that the future of the Hotspur name was secure, knowing that his lands and fortune and the title would be passed down to his son. The sudden death of this son upset all his plans. The law said that he could leave his estate to his daughter, but the title had to go to the next legal Hotspur, one George Hotspur, a distant cousin, a man of great personal charm but a spendthrift, a gambler and a card cheat.
When George and Emily meet she falls for his charm, and is convinced that she can win him away from his disreputable life to become suitable husband material. Her father is set against any such idea, and tries to find a suitor more to his own taste, who would take the Hotspur name upon marriage, but Emily will not comply
George continues his courtship of Emily, convincing her that he loves her and that only she can save him from his disreputable life. Her father is determined to prove George totally unworthy.
Gradually poor Emily is stripped of her illusions, and when George is finally paid off by her father’s lawyers and leaves her to marry his long-time mistress, an actress who has paid his debts on many occasions, she is carted off to Italy in the vain hope of recovering from her broken heart.
Can You Forgive Her? is the first book in the series of six Palliser novels (also known as the "Parliamentary Novels") by Anthony Trollope.
The common thread of the series is the wealthy aristocrat and politician Plantagenet Palliser and (in all but the last book) his wife Lady Glencora. The plots involve British and Irish politics in varying degrees, specifically in and around Parliament. The Pallisers do not always play a major role; in The Eustace Diamonds (the third novel) they only comment on the main action.
I am listening to this on an unabridged audiobook read by Timothy West, who was also the reader of the Chronicles of Barsetshire which I have listened to at intervals over the last couple of years. Hearing the same voice reading a narrative that is recognisably Trollope is very comfortable, and though only two CDs in I am expecting to enjoy this, even if it is politics.
It was serialised for BBC television in 1974, and although I didn't follow it I must have seen an episode or two along the way, as I remember very clearly Susan Hampshire in the role of Lady Glencora.
Having enjoyed my slow amble through the Barsetshire Chronicles I have decided to give the Pallisers a try.
I have vague memories of this series being dramatised on TV back in the nineteen seventies, but not having a TV at that time, and still having memories of the interminable Forsyte saga, I did not watch any of it.
I have now ordered the unabridged audiobook (22discs ) of the first in the series, Can You Forgive Her? from the library. It is currently on loan from the only branch that can trace it, and is due back in March. My reservation runs out in September.
I do not anticipate posting on this thread for a while, but if anyone has read this book, or any of the subsequent titles in the series feel free to add your comments here.
The Warden – Barchester Chronicles 1 - Anthony Trollope - 1855
I read this first of the Barchester Chronicles with my former book club in England. I have been trying to read one book every year ever since.I loved all of the books and have started a thread on each one of them so we can discuss the books separately.