With his interest in manners and class, his delicate observations of the intimacies of loving and dying and especially in his invention of a town called Barrowcester, Gale and Joanna Trollope map a similar terrain. Artifice abounds, so does wit, and mystery along with some nice grisly moments. Gale, though, is capable of some piercingly tender moments as all the characters come to some self-knowledge and redemption.

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