Can You Forgive Her? : The Pallisers

  • by Anthony Trollope
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • Series: The Pallisers
  • 27 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Can You Forgive Her? is the first of the six Palliser novels. Here Trollope examines parliamentary election and marriage, politics and privacy. As he dissects the Victorian upper class, issues and people shed their pretenses under his patient, ironic probe.
Alice Vavasor cannot decide whether to marry her ambitious but violent cousin George or the upright and gentlemanly John Grey—and so finds herself accepting and rejecting each of them in turn. She is increasingly confused about her own feelings and unable to forgive herself for such vacillation—a situation contrasted with that of her friend Lady Glencora, forced by “sagacious heads” to marry the rising politician Plantagenet Palliser in order to prevent her true love, the worthless Burgo Fitzgerald, from wasting her vast fortune. In asking his readers to pardon Alice for her transgression of the Victorian moral code, Trollope created a telling and wide-ranging account of the social world of his day.


What the Critics Say

Praise for Barchester Towers: “Obviously, [Vance] relishes impersonating the dramatis personae." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very Very Victorian

This is a long, long book, and the first in a series, though I understand that they mostly stand alone so you don't really have to read them in order. It centers around three women: one married, one single, and one widowed, and for each of them, the central question is the same - do I go with Mr. Dull and Dependable or do I go with Mr. Good Looks Who Will Spend All My Money and Ruin Me?

It might have been a more exciting book if Trollope was a more radical author, but I'm not spoiling too much to say that Trollope was actually a very conservative author. Everyone ultimately Does the Right Thing in a very Victorian way, but not before flirting with impropriety enough to raise the question asked by the title: Can You Forgive Her?

Besides jilted suitors and gentleman wastrels, there is a bit of Parliamentary politics in this book which I believe assumes greater importance in the future volumes.

Anthony Trollope had the gift of narrative and character development, so if your only exposure to Victorian social drama is Charles Dickens, then give Trollope a try. That said, I would probably start with The Way We Live Now, which I thought was a better book with a more engaging story.

Simon Vance is one of my favorite audiobook readers, and he delivers great Victorian performances equally well with his readings of James Bond novels.
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- David

Wonderful Trollope

What made the experience of listening to Can You Forgive Her? the most enjoyable?

I have just finished part I. I look forward with great anticipation to parts 2 3 and 4. All I can say is, I look forward to every minute I can get back to Alice, her marvelously well-drawn, nefarious cousins, the equally carefully drawn Mr. Grey and Alice's father, and of course, the Aunts.

Simon Vance, one of the great narrators of this world, does a magnificent job. He's got the characters down pat, and all the various accents in place.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Can You Forgive Her??

Too many to elucidate. However, there's isa marvelous scene that comes to mind. It is between John, one of the nefarious cousins, and Mr. Scrooby, a lawyer, and a publican, whose name eludes me. The lowliest, the publican, outfoxes them all in ways financial. Very satisfying, if nefarious in every way possible.

There's a marvelous scene between John, one of the nefarious cousins, and Mr. Scrooby, a lawyer, and a publican, whose name eludes me. The lowliest, the publican, outfoxes them all in ways financial. Very satisfying, if nefarious in every way possible.

Which scene was your favorite?

Too many too elucidate

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No way. Not possible, but if it were, it would be an insult to this great author.

Any additional comments?

Trollope, as opposed to Dickens, is never boring. His characters are real souls, never plainly good or evil, and always interesting. They have views, but do not preach.

Trollope himself, on the other hand, has views. They come as little nuggets when least expected and are a joy to hear or read. They are written with irony sometimes, other times just a pithy, mind-opening morsel I find I must jot down so they can be recalled, when, as is often, I am at a loss to summon the words I need. Trollope fills many gaps.

When one thinks of this man’s childhood and early manhood, unloved and uncared for as he was, it is a miracle we have him. He even uses his talented, hardworking, Mother, who was also a very successful aruthor, as a rather heroic character in his own books. She, preferring his elder brother, abandoned and neglected him mercilessly, taking his sibling on a successful American tour; leaving him shoeless and starving at the mercy of his absent father. Through all this, laughed at and outcast, he managed to get to school and educated and became the forgiving, gentle, great author we know and love.

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- Joyce

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-10-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.