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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
I really enjoyed this book. It is the first of Joanna Trollope's novels for me and I am now reading my second Marrying the Mistress. I like stories which relate to real life situations so A Village Affair was a great choice I thought. It was well written, and I really felt I got to know the characters. Highly recommended.
Published on 22 Oct 2011 by Louisa

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts on A VILLAGE AFFAIR
I have never read a Trollope novel before, but I was given a copy of THE VILLAGE AFFAIR by one of my daughters recently, so I ploughed my way through it. I think it must have added at least half a stone to my weight, since it required much munching of crisps, sweets and sandwiches to keep me awake as I read. The plot was intrinsically interesting, being about a young...
Published on 28 July 2010 by Dr. Charles Muller


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 22 Oct 2011
This review is from: A Village Affair (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It is the first of Joanna Trollope's novels for me and I am now reading my second Marrying the Mistress. I like stories which relate to real life situations so A Village Affair was a great choice I thought. It was well written, and I really felt I got to know the characters. Highly recommended.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book true to Joanna Trollope's form, 11 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Village Affair (Paperback)
Joanna Trollope has once again proven her ability to portrait each character so well that it is impossible to take sides. She also shows that it is not always necessary to go into juicy detail. Her novels tell more about the status of women in British society than any thesis could. The ending of this book is not a happy ending in the American sense but a truly hopeful one, which makes this book very realistic and lets the reader identify themselves with the characters. Anyone who has ever been in a crisis knows how impossible it is to describe one's feelings as long as it is still going on. "A Village Affair" shows too how dependant we are on other people's opinion and how impossible it is to please everyone - including oneself. So when Alice breaks free it makes the reader feel very relieved.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts on A VILLAGE AFFAIR, 28 July 2010
By 
Dr. Charles Muller (The Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Village Affair (Paperback)
I have never read a Trollope novel before, but I was given a copy of THE VILLAGE AFFAIR by one of my daughters recently, so I ploughed my way through it. I think it must have added at least half a stone to my weight, since it required much munching of crisps, sweets and sandwiches to keep me awake as I read. The plot was intrinsically interesting, being about a young married woman Alice who, with her husband, an up-and-coming lawyer, moves to an enviably substantial house in a Wiltshire village where everyone votes Conservative. Alice is unexplainably miserable, discontented in spite of her faithful husband Martin, three healthy children and her acquisition of `The Grey House' which is the envy of many--miserable, that is, until she meets the vivacious foxy-loxy Clodagh, youngest daughter of Lady Unwin from the Big House. Just returned from New York, over-paid, over-sexed and over here (in Pitcombe), Clodagh is your Becky Sharp look-alike (wide cheeks, small chin) that no man or woman can resist, with her lively and electrifying spirit. Of course, miserable Alice is electrified into new life under her touch.

The consequences are disastrous. Alice comes alive, can paint again, loves everyone more than ever under this new awakening experience--apart from her husband Martin, of course, who, innocent, befuddled and confused by the turn of events, now seems dull and boring, like Pitcombe itself, aghast under the shock of the explosion of this lesbian firebomb. The fallout is so severe that both women, the cause of the eruption, have to move out.

What sticks in one's mind is that lives are carelessly destroyed, and I wondered if Trollope was actually trying to engage the reader's sympathy for Alice, the main character--I wondered, because, if anything, Alice's behaviour, her abiding misery that lies at the heart of her betrayal, seems groundless, and, if anything, I found my sympathies rushing unstoppably towards poor Martin, the betrayed husband who, poor chap, has to resort to masturbating "messily" in the bathroom (having been denied the marriage bed), and can almost be forgiven for going berserk, one night, when he clumsily attempts to rape his wife.

Was Trollope's intention to create sympathy for Alice? Well, yes, I suppose so. I recall a comment Graham Greene once made, that the novelist's intention is the create sympathy for the person normally outside society's normal sphere of sympathy. In 1966 Truman Capote published a book called IN COLD BLOOD in which he attempted to get into the mind if a serial killer, a cold-blooded murderer--having even interviewed the man (in prison) on which the main character was based. That seems to be the job of a writer--to create sympathy for, to help one understand people, to get into the mind of people, to know what makes them tick--people one normally relegates to severe judgment. But if Trollope wanted to help us understand better the motives of Alice, then I think she failed--for Alice (like most of the characters) are manifestly superficial. Given the devastatingly effects of her conduct, the way she unresistingly drifts into the arms (the wiles, one is tempted to say), of Clodagh, a selfish psychopathic predator, regardless of the consequences, one sees her as spineless and selfish rather than a bitterly and deeply unhappy woman who, at least, might make a valiant attempt to resist temptation.

Lesbian and gay relationships are acceptable in these enlightened "end times", of course, so that would not be sufficient grounds today to turn against poor Alice--or Clodagh. "Whatever works," as Woody Allan says in his recent movie by that name. My main difficulty with Trollope's novel is that Alice's betrayal, her inherent misery prior to the betrayal, and her subsequent escape, just wasn't convincing. And as for Clodough, well, she is little more than a foil for Alice, and like Alice, paper-thin, though perhaps a little less so than Alice: at least as a caricature, with her foxy face and red hair, she lingers a little longer in the memory!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, as usual, 23 April 2008
By 
Amazon Customer (Uckfield UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Village Affair (Paperback)
Another well written novel by Ms Trollope, whose narrative flair manages to hold your attention even when you get annoyed by some of the narrow caricatures she presents. Clodagh comes across as the stereoptypical lesbian. But Trollopes books are full of stereotypes. Normally though they are of working class people, who are almost always portrayed as dull-witted, lecherous, or criminal, and sometimes all three. In Trollopes world, only the Upper Middle class do anything worthwhile; and even when they sin it's for noble reasons. Adulterous upper middle class husbands are free spirits; transfer their behaviour to working class men, and they are merely lechers. Similarly, lower class women are sluts, whereas promiscuity among upper middle class women is mere temperament.

Despite the kind of narrow minded shortcomings described above, I like her books. I can't wait to find out if she ever produces a sympathetic characterisation of a working class person. It seems unlikely!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Theme Treated Disappointingly, 28 Feb 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Village Affair (Paperback)
Oh dear - this was a big disappointment after Trollope's 'The Choir'. A real pity as the main theme - woman in fairly humdrum marriage suddenly discovers that she's got lesbain leanings - could have been really interesting.

The story in short: Alice Jordan is married to the rich, rather dull solicitor Martin, and in an overly close relationship with her 'lady of the manor' mother-in-law Cicely, a gardening writer who has never recovered from the death of her first lover, which put pay to her career as a singer. Alice has clung to Martin and to Cicely and her exquisite manor house, 'Dummeridge', partly as an escape from her own neurotic mother and womanizing English lecturer father. She and Martin have three small, bratty children (this book is a good advert for never having kids!), a wonderful house in a small village outside Salisbury, and pots of money. However, Alice, an artist, is depressed - until the local Lord of the Manor's (another Manor, not Cicely's) daughter Clodagh comes home from the USA. Before long, Clodagh has seduced Alice, and they are having a passionate affair - but not before Martin has tried to get in with Clodagh too. Unfortunately, Alice's lesbian passion is short-lived; Martin's bad-brother Anthony turns up, keen to revenge himself after Alice spurned his advances some years before, and immediately works out what's going on. Of course, all hell breaks loose, and Alice, like many a Trollope heroine, has some impossible decisions to make.

I would have found the Alice/Clodagh affair very interesting had Trollope tried at all to make Clodagh sympathetic. But she's such a spoilt little rich girl that it's hard to understand the attraction between the two women, or why Alice even contemplates living with Clodagh. Martin is also so incredibly boring that it's difficult to see why Alice married him. This coupled with Clodagh's manipulativeness means Alice's dilemma at the end has no weight at all: to quote a music critic writing on Wagner's opera Tannhauser, Alice is caught 'between the devil and the shallow grey sea'. Trollope also implies throughout, using various of her characters to do so, that Alice's lesbianism is somehow 'wrong' which is mildly offensive. Trollope may not have intended this, but it is what comes across. The story is set in an irritatingly twee village (I've spent large amounts of time in Salisbury and the countryside around and have never come across a village like it) with a lot of aristocratic/rustic locals called things like Lettice, and a jovial vicar. The children are so unpleasant - one a spoilt tantrum-thrower, the other a cry-baby, and the baby only there to fill his nappy every now and then - that one wonders why Alice doesn't just abandon them all and go abroad or something. There are some interesting moments. Cicely would be quite an interesting character if Trollope didn't turn her into a dominating caricature in the later parts of the novel; there is a good scene where Cicely's husband confesses to Alice his misery that his wife has never really shown him love and his awareness of how he and his wife have failed their sons; and Trollope writes quite well towards the end of the book about Alice's amiable father, even though the mother fails to ever have much personality. But one's left feeling that a potentially very good idea for a novel has been wasted. Not one of her best by a long way!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book, 12 Jan 2012
By 
Mrs. L. Trump - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Village Affair (Kindle Edition)
a very good read first time of this author but will definatly read more of her books keeps you interested
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Blue Peter Lesbians, 17 Feb 2007
This review is from: A Village Affair (Bloomsbury Classic Series) (Hardcover)
Lesbian books are a rarer commodity then id like them to be, and so when i find out about this kind of book im much more inclined to like it then your average novel.

A Village Affair is a book about lesbians by someone who seems to have no understanding about the feelings involved in these sorts of relationships. It tells the story of Alice, a brattish and unlikeable character from page one, who begrudgingly moves to a cottage in an insular and prosperous village.

She meets Clodagh, another character i was completely indifferent yo, and the two of them begin an affair. But its so unconvincing - the way they get together for example, is frankly ridiculous.....

imagine this, a woman who (inexplicably and totally implausibly) knows nothing about lesbians and has never ever had any inclinations towards females...clodagh woos her by saying "but we all have a choice" !!!!

no build up, no tension, thats literally it...and then they begin an affair and her husband doesnt even get a second thought!!!!

this story had the potential of saying something important, not just about lesbians but about love - the choices it forces us to make and the disruptive consequences for anyone involved in an affair...

the affair itself continues until alice's husband finds out about it - even then its a dull and drama-free exchange where there are tears and a little bit of passion i guess, but generally its all a little flat and trollope doesnt really get her teeth into any of the human complexity...

her main focus in this novel seems to be the fall-out of the affair for alice's villagers... they condemn and belittle and it frustratingly becomes clear that they represent the views of the author...

in short, trollope has no sympathy for, and no understanding of her protagonists, and as such, they come across as self-indulgent, joyless bitches with no real affinity for one another....

if you want to read a book about the magic of love and inparticular the complex relationships women form with one another may i suggest anything by jeanette winterson, sarah waters or radclyffe hall.... this is a waste of time
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked more on re-reading, 10 May 2014
This review is from: A Village Affair (Paperback)
Alice has everything she could possibly want in life: a steady husband, three delightful children, loving in-laws, and now a new and gorgeous house … and yet something is missing.

This is the story of how she ‘wakes up’ and finds, most unexpectedly, what she needed. Yet she finds that what she wants most leads to great difficulties and stresses.

A controversial subject, movingly explored. I first read this in 1998 and didn’t like it so much as I do ten years later. Recommended.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing characters, 20 Nov 2009
By 
Amazon Customer (Edinburgh, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Village Affair (Paperback)
When I read the synopsis for this book I thought "Well, it sounds like she's going to become a lesbian, but surely they wouldn't give something like that away on the back cover, would they?" I was wrong. Exactly what I thought was going to occur happened - but there was no build up to it! Suddenly the main character seemed to think, "Hey, maybe becoming a lesbian will solve all of the problems in my marriage?" It was clear to me that the actual problem in the main character's life was that she'd married someone who she wasn't in love with. She even admitted that, so her decision to become a lesbain and start a relationship with Clo just seemed really unrealistic. Both of the main characters were really selfish, too, and it was really hard to enjoy reading a book where two of the main characters were so unlikeable, and all the minor characters were so uninteresting. So nothing in this book really interested me: the characters were all unappealing and I thought that the plot was pretty unconvincing. Plus, Joanna Trollope writes in a very depressing way. It was readable, but I don't think I'll read another of her novels.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! Jacqui Wales, 18 Oct 2013
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This review is from: A Village Affair (Kindle Edition)
Johanna Trollope is a wonderful writer who has a way of putting on paper real feelings. Highly recommended. Her use of language is superb.
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A Village Affair (Bloomsbury Classic Series)
A Village Affair (Bloomsbury Classic Series) by Joanna Trollope (Hardcover - 27 Oct 1994)
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