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Joanna Trollope Biography

(1943– ), Eliza Stanhope, Parson Harding's Daughter, Leaves from the Valley, The City of Gems

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British novelist, born in Gloucestershire, educated at St Hugh's College, Oxford, a descendant of the Trollope family. Trollope worked in the Foreign Office and then taught English. Her first historical novel, Eliza Stanhope (1978), covered the Regency period. Several others have followed, with a variety of settings; eighteenth-century India for Parson Harding's Daughter (1979), the Crimean War for Leaves from the Valley (1980), Burma in the 1880s for The City of Gems (1981), and the Boer War for The Steps of the Sun (1983). All are carefully researched, well-written novels of people troubled by the times in which they live. In The Choir (1988) she used a contemporary setting, following it with A Village Affair (1989), a closely observed, witty account of English country life. The Best of Friends (1995) deals with adulterous betrayal and marital breakdown in a small country town and focuses on the relationships between two couples, exploring the ways in which longstanding friendships are tested by the strains of romantic involvement. Darker in mood than her earlier work, the novel offers the same mix of socially accurate observation and wry humour which have made her books so widely popular.

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