cover image A Village Affair

A Village Affair

Joanna Trollope. HarperCollins Publishers, $17.95 (231pp) ISBN 978-0-06-039102-7

In this readable, emotionally nuanced novel, Trollope ( The Choir ) depicts a young wife and mother who gets what she wants--the perfect house in Pitcombe, a perfect village in England. But instead of being overjoyed, Alice is depressed until she meets Clodagh Unwin, an imperiously wayward daughter of local nobility. Clodagh falls in love with Alice and seduces her. But when the sexual relationship between the women is exposed, Alice's husband and the Pitcombe citizenry (who had accepted her as a depressed housewife), become less hospitable to the cheerful lesbians. Despite a tendency to stereotype, to recount offstage climactic moments instead of directly depicting them, and to quote George Eliot excessively, Trollope has abundant talents. Her spare, pithy style and resonant dialogue contribute to an absorbing story in which a woman learns to eschew conventions and embrace independence. (Sept.)