Anna, as rector’s wife in a small rural village, attracts a clearly defined role. When Peter fails to gain promotion on the religious ladder to archdeacon, not only does he fall into bitter isolation but their marriage also begins to suffer, and money remains tight. Despite her willingness and capabilities, the male-dominated world of the church deems it not appropriate for Anna to be seen earning a living outside of church duties. Her first step of rebellion, not only to recover her self-worth but to support her family in their hour of need, is to take a part-time job in a supermarket. The small-minded politics of the village – an idyllic setting on the surface – hides a hornet’s nest of disquiet, desire, and disapproval.
Originally published in 1991. If you’re looking for big dramatic plot developments and action then this isn’t one for you. If, however you enjoy the careful consideration of the family dynamic and the internal struggles of a woman needing to be recognised as her own person – then well worth the read. Trollope’s insight into relationships as well as the expectations and restraints of the church within the village community and beyond, makes for a quietly compelling read.