First sentence: 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.
Premise/plot: Can You Forgive Her? is the first in the Palliser series of novels by Anthony Trollope. The series--as a whole--has been adapted for film.
Does it have a main character? Yes. No. Maybe.
Alice Vavasor, the one Trollope asks readers if they can forgive, is unwise in matters of the heart. Perhaps she's been listening to the Hokey Pokey too much. She's taking herself "in" and "out" of love, "in" and "out" of engagements, a little too frequently to be a proper young lady. (That being said, nothing IMproper happens exactly. Just a bit of confusion on her part as to WHO it is she actually wants to marry and spend her life with.)
George Vavasor, a rascally rascal, is Alice's cousin and Kate's brother. He is Alice's "first" love and fiance. He has ambitions but lacks morals and funds. He sees Alice as his way to succeed politically. If not Alice, perhaps, his sister Kate can use her influence to get money out of some of their other relatives whom he has repulsed.
Kate Vavasor, Alice's "dear" friend and cousin, is blinded by sisterly affection. She loves George so much--and Alice so much--that she just HAS to see them come together and marry. Will her brother ever act so abominably that she cuts him off?!
John Grey, a good, wise, prudent, well-respected man, is Alice's second love and fiance. He could have turned away from the whole Vavasor clan when Alice jilted him--but he has faith that Alice will see George for the RASCAL and RAT that he is and come back to him.
Glencora Palliser, Alice's distant "cousin" and "bosom" friend, is a newly wed that is far from wedded bliss. She was madly, deeply, truly in love with another rascal--a gambling addict always low on funds, Burgo Fitzgerald. But she was persuaded by her elders to marry another. Can she make peace with her new life?!
Plantagenet Palliser, Glencora's husband, is a dignified, well-respected, wealthy and wise man--not a young, super-adorable one. How far will he go for love?! Can he persuade Glencora to give their marriage a chance? It is the Pallisers that will become the SUPERSTARS of the series--as a whole.
Other characters--relations and friends of the above--also people Trollope's world. A tiny handful have been introduced in Trollope's Barchester series.
So the main stories: Will Plantagenet and Glencora fall in love with each other AFTER the fact, after saying I do?! Will Alice Vavasor marry George OR marry John OR stay single? Will Kate or her aunt--a widow woman--marry? There are TWO suitors both "madly" in love with the aunt--or is it her money?! But Kate is young and beautiful and perhaps an excellent second prize for the loser. Meanwhile, will the GRANDFATHER Vavasor ever die? And who will he leave his money and estate to?!
My thoughts: I really do LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Trollope. I can't say that this one book is my absolute favorite and best. Though I do LOVE the characters of Glencora and Plantagenet. Alice--while deserving forgiveness--is far from being a heroine that I love and adore. John Grey is a GREAT catch--as is Plantagenet. But GEORGE is TROUBLE, TROUBLE, MORE TROUBLE. And I don't see the appeal of Burgo, for that matter.
I would recommend that readers COMMIT to reading the series at a good pace--keeping momentum high. If you only read ONE chapter per week, it will NOT be an enjoyable read and just be a book that you dread picking up. I read chapters 40 through 80 in about two weeks and these chapters were a thousand times more enjoyable than the first 40 which took me over six months to read!!!
- Most of us know when we enter a drawing-room whether it is a pretty room or no; but how few of us know how to make a drawing-room pretty!
- People always do seem to think it so terrible that a girl should have her own way in anything.
- A man never likes having his tooth pulled out, but all men do have their teeth pulled out, — and they who delay it too long suffer the very mischief.
- We have grown beyond our sugar-toothed ages, and are now men and women.
- She certainly did not look forty, and who can expect a woman to proclaim herself to be older than her looks?
- With all her absurdities I like her. Her faults are terrible faults, but she has not the fault of hiding them by falsehood.
- I don’t know that I was at all entitled to your good opinion, but I was not entitled to that special bad opinion.
- He went on saying a good deal about home matters, and foreign matters, proving that everything was right, just as easily as his enemy had proved that everything was wrong.
- When you discuss the value of a thing just purchased, you must mention the price before you know whether the purchaser has done well or badly.
- The schoolboy, when he sits down to make his rhymes, dares not say, even to his sister, that he hopes to rival Milton; but he nurses such a hope. The preacher, when he preaches his sermon, does not whisper, even to his wife, his belief that thousands may perhaps be turned to repentance by the strength of his words; but he thinks that the thousand converts are possible.
- Grief taken up because grief is supposed to be proper, is only one degree better than pretended grief.
- A woman may forgive deceit, treachery, desertion, — even the preference given to a rival. She may forgive them and forget them; but I do not think that a woman can forget a blow. And as for forgiveness, — it is not the blow that she cannot forgive, but the meanness of spirit that made it possible.
- You can’t make yourself unconscious of eyes that are always looking at you.
- If a cook can’t make soup between two and seven, she can’t make it in a week.
- I am beginning to know myself by degrees.
- “I like to have a plan,” said Mr Palliser. “And so do I,” said his wife,— “if only for the sake of not keeping it.”