I started reading the Palliser novels after seeing a review describing them as "still the best description of British political life". They do, indeed, contain a lot of politics - particularly the later volumes, "Phineas Finn" and "Phineas Redux"; and this remains astonishingly contemporary. But the most up-to-date aspect of this extraordinary series of books is the sexual politics, as a series of vividly drawn women and men struggle to find happiness between social convention and sexual attraction. "Can You Forgive Her", which features the headstrong Lady Glencora Palliser and the intense Alice Vavasor both torn between desirable rakes and steady pillars of society, is to my mind one of the best of the series. It's also very funny, alive with irony and sophisticated wit.
For: beautiful writing, unforgettable characters, entertaining read.
Against: nothing. But it is quite long.