The first chapter is slow, as it would very much like to establish an actual meeting betweenand Fanny Trollope, but can get no farther than showing that it's not unlikely there was one. Thinking of Trollope as a character in an Austen novel is also a okay approximation until her marriage. But if it were common for a woman's life to expand after marriage the way Trollope's did, not even comedies could justify ending with wedding-bells.
She married a barrister Thomas Anthony Trollope; she was thirty, nearly old by the marriage-standards of the day. Their letters are charmingly literate. They had six children,built a big house on rented land, and it all started going wrong.
Thomas Anthony was depressive or something very like it: he antagonized most of the people he knew and couldn't finish, or even start, necessary work. He irritated an elderly uncle into marrying to get an alternate heir, was too attached to his expectations of genteel inheritance to work himself out of the hole, and late in life turned out to have failed to put Fanny's marriage settlements in order, so that he had squandered her money as well as his. As a barrister, he should have known better. No-one implies that he had planned to take advantage, merely that he always took the laziest route, hoping gloomily that it would come right.
Fanny had an opposite temperament, adn generally put two plans in motion to attack any single problem. In 1827, partly to cover their need to rent out their expensive house, she set sail for a new utopian community in the United States. She took three children, two servants, a wagon of furniture, and optimistic hopes that she would help build a truly free society in the republican idyll of Tennessee.
That particular idyll, Nashoba, was a muddy failure - and certainly Fanny had had no idea what pioneering was like. Fanny took the children away promptly, traveling with a young French painter Hervieu who had hoped to be an artist of the New World. They landed in Cincinnati, nearly penniless, with no letters of introduction. Society, such as it was, did not recognize her, especially because Hervieu's earnings (scant) were often supporting the whole crew.
Fanny developed another plan: she was the brains behind two sensationalist and successful waxwork shows - like Haunted Houses, with her children working the special effects. Emboldened by this success, she decided that Cincinnati needed an entire new building of preposterous style, to rent out meeting-rooms and lecture halls and symphony performances. Letters to her husband asked for investment; he sent ill-chosen shop goods instead of capital. Between that, and getting rooked by the builders, and general inexperience on her part, the Trollopes lost their shirts on the venture.¹
After struggling back to England under a cloud of suspicion (that French painter²), she wrote up her disappointed views of the United States in Domestic Manners of the Americans. I think she's unfair in comparing her experience as a penniless nobody in the US to her experience of society as a well-connected, if indebted, woman in England; but she was probably accurate in showing up the pretentious manners and coarse habits of the new republic³, and she was vividly condemnatory of slavery. It was, politically, a receptive moment for such a book in England, and both Tories and abolitionists took it up. It sold well. It sold even better in the States, but she didn't get any royalties from that.
Next, a potboiler novel set in the States, to reuse her notes while making more money; after that, twenty years of success and incredibly hard work as a writer. She was an equal of Dickens in some ways - output not least - she could keep several serialized novels going at a time, she wrote about Issues that reviewers considered improper for a lady, she has some minor 'firsts' for the English novel; sequels, an ex-policeman private eye. She churned them out like plain sewing while nursing her husband and three children through their deaths (TB), while running away from creditors to the Continent, while traveling around revolution-haunted Europe to find cheaper living or material for books.
Her sonis the better writer, but not quite as much better as he thought he was - he was so Victorian in his conventionality and expectation of ease, where she was still a bit rough and clear-spoken like the late Georgian she was. They both have novels that are easy to read as versions of each other's lives; he resented her for leaving for the States (he hadn't gone, and was extra sympathetic to his father), she could tell he was shy and ambitious even before he began to write. She didn't live long enough to read his Autobiography, which was particularly dismissive of her.
Neville-Sington chooses to believe that the unkind representation of the writing woman in Anthony's The Way We Live Now is not like Fanny, maybe not even like what Anthony finally remembered of the mother who supported him. Instead, she quotes a bit of his description of Glencora Palliser: "...in her disposition and temper she was altogether generous. I do not know that she was at all points a lady, but had Fate so willed it she would have been a perfect gentleman."
¹ The building seems to have been a modest success once it existed, though.
² There doesn't seem to have been any romance between them, but they were loyal coworkers for decades.
³ Mark Twain thought so.