From the opening pages you do know that this idyllic state of affairs cannot last. We have Anna patient and long suffering - 20 years of service to church and family, putting herself right at the very end of a long list of can and can't dos. A life governed not by the dictates of the needs of husband and family but by the dictatorial attitudes of a village community who decide in advance what clergy and their wives should and should not do.
I was cheering Anna from the beginning to the end and even though the end of her husband was a bit deflating I still felt vindicated for her at the end! Flora her youngest was a whinger, Luke the next tried hard to understand his mother's plight and he did to a great extent, Charlotte the eldest also understood but none of them knew how to communicate their support to her. Peter her husband was completely out of the equation. He did not understand Anna nor did he want to. He seemed to have blind tunnel vision as to what was needed in a bad situation. Anna is almost pushed into another man's arms by her husband himself though he would be the last person to even admit this.
I felt that this was a very good example of keeping a stiff upper lip, of maintaining space and not infringing into someone else's lives for fear of interfering and the lack of communication within a family. The break up of a marriage can be seen from the very beginning and I was not sad to see it go. For Anna it was going to be a beginning for herself.
As usual I like Trollope's books very much. This was no exception.