Can You Forgive Her? (1864-5) is the first of the six famous Palliser novels which, as a group, provide us with the most extensive and contradictory expose of British life during the period of its greatest prestige
In Can You Forgive Her? Trollope inextricably binds together the issues of parliamentary election and marriage, of politics and privacy. The values and aspirations of the governing stratum of Victorian society are ruthlessly examined and none remain unscathed. Above all Trollope focuses on the predicament of women. ''What should a woman do with her life?'' asks Alice Vavasor of herself, and this theme is echoed by every other woman in the novel, from the uncomfortably married Lady Glencora to the coquettish Mrs Greenow and Alice''s clear-headed cousin Kate.