Books - Review

Showing all books by: Thomas Hardy

The Fiddler of the Reels
Three short stories. One about the preacher who falls in love with the lady smuggler, one about the lady who falls in love with the talented fiddler, and I can't remember the first one.
Jolly good.
Score: 8
Published: tbc
Read: November 6th 2001

Far From the Madding Crowd
Farmer Gabriel falls in love with the beautiful but vain Bathsheba Everdene. But she sends Farmer Boldwood a joke valentine, and then falls for the dashing but shallow Sergeant Troy!
I wouldn't have thought so many bad things could happen to a flock of sheep.
Score: 8
Published: tbc
Read: December 20th 2001

The Mayor of Casterbridge
Hay trusser Henchard sells his wife while drunk at a fair near Casterbridge, but regrets it, swears he won't touch booze for another 21 years and recreates himself as a successful corn merchant and eventually the mayor of Casterbridge. Then his sold wife reappears together with her lovely daughter Elizabeth Jane, and his life gets more complicated. At the same time, Donald Farfrae, a clever Scotch corn merchant also pops up, and for Henchard, the only way to go is down...
Smashing. But not as good as Far From the Madding Crowd, I didn't think. Although I appear to have given them both an 8.
Score: 8
Published: tbc
Read: February 26th 2002

The Woodlanders
Grace is supposed to marry Giles Winterbourne, simple but honest woodsman. But Grace's father decides that after spending so much on her education she deserves better and matches her up with the local doctor, Fitzpiers. But he turns out to be a bit of a wanderer, and wanders off with the local lady. Eventually he comes back though, but just as Grace and Giles are thinking things might work out between them after all. But just when you are looking for a happy ending, Giles gets pneumonia and dies.
I wouldn't say this was my favourite Hardy, although it is apparently the one that he liked best. Near the beginning I went through phases of liking it but then being bored, but once I reached the middle bit it was all good going. I still think The Mayor of Casterbridge is my fave so far, although Far From the Madding Crowd is good too, especially the sheep.
Score: 7.5
Published: 1887
Read: October 26th 2003

Jude the Obscure
Jude dreams of going to college, but gets married to the sly Arabella. Who then goes off to Australia, so Jude goes off to the city ('Oxford'), and meets Sue his cousin who he falls in love with. They nearly get married but don't, but act like they are, and look after Arabella and Jude's son. Who kills his baby brother and sister and himself. And Sue goes off with the old schoolteacher, and Jude has a tough old time of it really.
Not bad, but a bit dull in places.
Score: 7
Published: tbc
Read: March 25th 2005

The Return of the Native
Starring Egdon Heath, a brooding, mysterious, pagan, dark, gloomy, yet also bright, cheerful, homely, and even beautiful spot in Wessex. Co-starring Eustacia, Clym, Thomasin, Damon Wildeve, and reddleman Diggory Venn, who between them, have all the characteristics of the heath too. Secret meetings on the moor, dashed hopes, snakebites and death await nearly everybody.
Ok, but lots of dullish description of things, which meandered on a bit. Couple of good bits of witchcraft though.
Score: 6.5
Published: 1878
Read: May 14th 2009