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 remains unscathed.
But it is above all on the predicament of women that Trollope focuses. "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.
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