Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
megustaleer

Can You Forgive Her? (Palliser novels)

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 'her' of the title is Alice Vavasour, and what we are asked if we can forgive is the way she treats the two men in her life, and the consequent outrage to her feminiity.

At the start of the book she is engaged to John Grey, a country gentleman who is approved of by her father and her upperclass relatives.  Prior to this she was engaged to her reckless cousin George, but after a particularly irresponsible period in his life she, with the encouragement of her family, broke off that engagement.

Alice still has a soft spot for George, and with additional pressure from Kate to assist him take up a political career she agrees to jilt John Grey and the engagement to her cousin is reinstated - but the marriage is not to take place for a year.

She quickly comes to regret this engagement, and realises that she really loves John Grey, but insists that she keeps her promise to give George money for his election campaigns. George is furious at her coldness towards him and vows to take every penny she has.

 

Alongside that plot is the story of Glencora and Plantganet Palliser.

Lady Glencora isn't yet 20, but has been married to her not-yet-thirty-but-seemimg-much-older husband for a year, without any sign of an heir. This is causing concern because Plantaganet is the nephew and heir to the Duke of Omnium (of Borsetershire), and a male child is needed for the succession.

Before her marriage Glencora had an unsuitable attachment to Burgo Fitzgerald, a strikingly beautiful young man with no scruples, and still harbours feelings for him, exacerbated by the seemingly cold, austere unfeeling attitude of her husband, and guilt about the lack of an heir.

Burgo makes plans to elope with Glencora,, but his plans are foiled. Plantaganet gives up his chance of a place in The Cabinet to take Glencora away on a year-long European tour, taking Alice as her companion.

 

A third 'romantic' trio is that of Kate's Aunt Greenow, recently widowed, and left very comfortably off after her marriage to a much older gentleman. She has two suitors who she plays off against each other, Mr Cheeseacre, a wealthy farmer, and penniless soldier, Captain Bellfield.

 

I had to suppress my feminist outrage at some of the C19 attitudes, but that's only to be expected in a C19 novel ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By megustaleer
      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.
    • By megustaleer
      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.
    • By Momo
      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.
    • By Momo
      Barchester Towers – Barchester Chronicles 2 - Anthony Trollope - 1857
      I can see why this is the most popular of his books because there are so many characters in it. However, I think it is very hard to decide. I think my favourite is Doctor Thorne .
    • By Momo
      Doctor Thorne – Barchester Chronicles 3 - Anthony Trollope - 1858
      Even though I like all of the Barchester Chronicles, this is my favourite. Trollope manages to describe the people in his fictive city so well, you think you live among them.
×
×
  • Create New...