Synopses & Reviews
The first novel of Trollope's six-work Palliser series, also known as the Parliamentary Novels, Can You Forgive Her? revolves primarily around the young Alice Vavasor, a woman who cannot decide which of two men to marry. While the respectable gentleman John Grey seems the wiser choice, his lack of ambition pales to her virulent and aspiring cousin George. She alternately accepts and rejects each man, only increasing the confusion she feels concerning her emotions. Trollope's protagonist is most certainly breaching the moral code of the Victorian era, which he relates in a revealing description of the social sphere of his time. While Alice feels guilt for her indecision and wavering commitments, she is juxtaposed with the Lady Glencora, an affluent woman who sets her passion for a worthless man aside to marry the wealthy and successful politician Plantagenet Palliser. This character appears in every work of the series and provides a theme of English politics that binds the Parliamentary Novels together.