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Can You Forgive Her?

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

“Can You Forgive Her?” is the first in a series of six Trollope novels dealing broadly with 19th Century English political scene. It introduces the reader to Plantagenet and Glencora Palliser, as they court, marry, and as Plantagenet sets out on his political career, which is carried on in the foreground or background throughout the series. Each novel has a focus on other particular characters, as well. In this one, it is the dilemma of Alice Vavasor, who is a young woman choosing between two suitors: one who has all the best qualities, but who prefers a retiring private life, and another, whose qualities are doubtful, but who is ambitious for public office. There is also a comic subplot involving a widowed aunt, who also must choose between two suitors: Mr. Cheeseacre, a dull but stable farmer, and Capt. Bellfield, a charming but somewhat erratic retired military man.

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Book Excerpt: 
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"For a hundred and fifty," said Calder Jones, "and she wasn't worth the odd fifty."

"He won seventy with her at Leamington," said Maxwell, "and I doubt whether he'd take his money now."

"Is Cinquebars coming down here this year?"

"I don't know," said Maxwell. "I hope not. He's the best fellow in the world, but he can't ride, and he don't care for hunting, and he makes more row than any fellow I ever met. I wish some fellow could tell me something about that fellow's brown horse."

"I'd never buy a horse of Vavasor's if I were you," said Grindley. "He never has anything that's all right all round."

"And who has?" said Maxwell, as he took into his plate a second mutton chop, which had just been brought up hot into the room especially for him. "That's the mistake men make about horses, and that's why there's so much cheating. I never ask for a warranty with a horse, and don't very often have a hor. . . Read More

Community Reviews

George Costanza excepted, I know less about women than anyone in the world, but I’d imagine that even liberated, post-feminist women could relate to the three feisty chicks at the centre of Can You Forgive Her? Pushed willy-nilly onto the marriage market, these wealthy Victorian ladies are faced...more

Can you Forgive Her? is the story of a young woman who is engaged to be married to a very respectable gentleman. She has some doubts and starts to wonder if she should have been with the less than respectable paramour of her younger days. Along with a few other intermingling story lines, 800 page...more

Can You Forgive Her?

The author addresses us directly before we even begin reading. Forgive whom and for what? There is an unspoken suggestion in the question that you ought to forgive her. I've always been vaguely intrigued by the title of this novel. Why did I wait so long to read it? It's delig...more

Ho finito di leggere questo mastodontico romanzo, primo di una serie, cd. politica, scritta da Trollope. Non posso dire che la lettra non sia stata piacevole, non mi sono annoiata mai, anche se la scrittura si è svolta in modo sereno e fluente come le acque di un lento fiume che attraversa la buo...more

This was magnificent. I love Anthony Trollope's writing style, his explorations of marriage, love and responsibilities. Few people can make me love and hate characters like Trollope can, and this is another resounding success. What an author.

Reader, I forgave her.

This is an excellent, if long, read. Trollope tells a good story and I think his female characters are stronger, better developed and more believeable than any other male Victorian novelist. He is still conventional (apart from the novel Marion Fay perhaps) but he has a strong empathy with his fe...more

ETA: Cecily read my review and didn't understand why I only gave it three stars. I think her question is absolutely legitimate; I don't explain that very well. I had trouble understanding one of the prime protagonists - Alice. Please see messages 5, 6, 7 and 8 below. I explain in more detail ther...more

This is the second Trollope book I read, after a one-off of the Barset books, and I was astounded. I was 35 years old, newly married and with a child on the way, and the question, what must a woman do with her life was so pertinent. I was stunned at how Alice's questions of how she could act in t...more

All Trollope aficionados are periodically asked The Big Question: Which of Trollope's books should a newcomer read first? With 47 novels to choose from it's difficult to answer that question. I think you have to have read all of Trollope and be re-reading him before you truly appreciate his books...more

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