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More informationClara Amedroz is the virtuous, intelligent, and quick-witted heroine of this novel. Like all women of her time, she has few options other than to marry. She is lucky enough to have two eligible suitors, and chooses the more urbane and worldly of the two. Alas, however, she realizes fairly quickly that Captain Aylmer is not a nice person. Throughout much of the novel we find her trying hard not to recognize that Will Belton - the suitor she rejected, and who still loves and wants to marry her - is.
As in all of Trollope's novels, the sub-plots are at least as engaging as the main story: here, we find Clara associated with, and ultimately for some time dependent on, Mr. and Mrs. Askerton, who - having perforce lived together for some time before they were married - are social outcasts. Clara is courageous enough to remain loyal to these friends, knowing that thus she, too, risks social condemnation and reduces her value on the marital market-place.
She becomes wiser, more generous, and more forgiving as her outlook on the world matures in various trials-by fire: the experiences she endures as a result of her mistaken allegiance to Captain Aylmer; her friendship with the Askertons; and the malicious gossip and social ostracization attendant on her loyalty to them. The question that will decide her ultimate happiness is whether she can be as generous and forgiving of herself. (Summary by Kirsten Wever)