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
Join us for a classic, long-considered to be one of Thomas Hardy's most important works, the story of a good-hearted woman, who becomes the victim of circumstances and social judgments. When Tess Durbeyfield, the daughter of a poor villager discovers she might be a descendent of the wealthy D'Urberville family, she is pressured to join them and seek her part of the fortune. One of the family seduces her however, and she returns home a ruined woman. Later, another man offers her a more stable life, but will she reveal her past, or live a lie?
About the Author
Thomas Hardy was born on June 2. 1840, in Stinsford, England, the son of a stonemason. He attended Mr. Last's Academy for Young Gentlemen in Dorchester, where he learned Latin. His schooling came to an end at age 16, due to money issues and he became an apprentice to an architect, winning prizes from the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. By 1867, he had moved back home to focus on writing. He wrote his first novel, "The Poor Man and the Lady" that same year. In 1874, he married Emma Lavinia Gifford, who died in 1912. In 1914, he married Florence Emily Dugdale, who was nearly 40 years younger. His final novel was published in 1897. Hardy died on January 11, 1928, of pleurisy, at the age of 87, in Dorchester. His heart is buried in Stinsford, while his ashes are at Westminster Abbey, in Poets' Corner.