The third novel in the Pallisers series, "The Eustace Diamonds" is the least overtly political, though some of the main characters from the series re-appear in the book in minor roles. It could certainly be read independently of the other books in the series.
Lizzie Eustace is in many respects a latter-day Becky Sharp. Though less ruthless and more self-deceiving than Thackeray's anti-heroine, she is shallow, beautiful, manipulative, and without redeeming qualities. After marrying the dying Sir Florian Eustace for his money, she embarks on an expensive career as a society widow, and the story revolves around her possession—and subsequent loss—of a diamond necklace which has been an heirloom in the Eustace family, and which she claims is her personal property.
Though real-life Lizzies are highly unpleasant people, the fictional version is highly entertaining, and after several hundred pages of gripping legal, criminal and shenanigans, it is hard not to feel sorry when the naughty Lady Eustace is finally delivered up to her fate. The reading, by Timothy West, is top-notch. If you are not familiar with Trollope's work, this is as good a place as any to start.
This is a favourite book of mine: intelligent, witty and with what must be one of the saddest final lines in literature. Though I have read it countless times, I was thrilled to find it had been released as an audiobook, and very much enjoyed listening to it. Emilia Fox does an excellent job of the reading, and I hope very much that the companion novel, Love in a Cold Climate (which shares many of the settings and characters), also gets released for audio.
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