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
Hardy's finest novel, written in most lyrical and atmospheric language. Set in the semi-fictional county of Wessex, the story follows life of a young woman who struggles to find her place in society. Tess, often viewed as an Earth goddess, and in Hardy's view, a truly good woman, is despised by society after loosing her virginity before marriage. A tale of seduction, love, betrayal, and murder. The book challenged the sexual norms of the day and was heavily censored when first published.