- Author Thomas Hardy
When I first started reading this, with no background knowledge at all, I figured it was going to be another of those classic books about a country bumpkin who marries or becomes successful but doesn’t do much else. How wrong I was. This book is packed with drama, and action. The “love” triangle twists and turns back and forth until it is impossible to second-guess what is going to happen.
The first half of the book is full of wide-eyed wonder - at what happens to Tess to start her downfall, and then how she still manages to find love in what seems to be a perfect match. As soon as the wedding happens, however, things take a massively downward spiral and it’s pretty much bleakness and misery from thereon out. The ending is just so sad, when you consider how easily things could have turned out differently.
In fact, that is where my single concern lies - in that it doesn’t make sense when Angel turns away from his new wife. He learns her secret and leaves, but has already shown and described that he isn’t too worried about what the wider public deem to be acceptable. He has a confession, she has a confession, let’s call it equal? Unfortunately not, and so we ride the rollercoaster to the bitter end. I can’t say I enjoyed reading it because it was heart-breaking at times, but I thought it was great, and is one of my favourites of the classics I’ve been reading recently.