Every summer I read a classic that I have never read before, and since I'm planning to visit Southwest England soon, I felt I should read a novel that takes place there. Descriptively written, with romance and suspense, Hardy portrays Tess as a beautiful, young woman born in poverty with a title that ends up doing her more harm than good. Tess, at the start of her tale, is moral, hard-working and loving, and through no fault of her own, she is forced to face hardship and tragedy. Hardy demonstrates what can happen to an innocent, trusting girl in a man's world.
If you want a quick, light read, Tess of the d'Urbervilles is not it. However, if you're looking for a beautifully written novel that captures life in rural England about 150 years ago, give Tess a try.— Nancy Randall
Thomas Hardy's second to last novel, "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" is the story of Teresa "Tess" Durbeyfield. The plot of the novel is set in motion when a local parson mentions that the Durbeyfields are actually related to the noble family the d'Urbervilles. Trying to capitalize on this knowledge the Durbeyfields send a reluctant Tess to work at the d'Urbervilles estate. There the tragic fate of Tess ensues. "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" challenged the sexual mores of the time and because of this was not well received when it was first published. The novel however has weathered the test of time and is now considered a great classic of English Literature.