I’ve only read three of his books now, but I kind of love Thomas Hardy. Because he gets it. He gets how shitty social and moral conventions are to women. Does Hardy have an avid following like Austen or Dickens? Because he totally should! I demand more Hardy adaptations!
Bathsheba Everdene – what an awesome name – is a beautiful, intelligent, confident, and fiercely independent young woman. Upon inheriting her uncle’s farm, she moves to Weatherbury, where she attracts the attention of three very different men: loyal shepherd Gabriel Oak, reserved farmer William Boldwood, and dashing soldier Francis Troy.
There are so many vividly drawn scenes – for instance, Bathsheba falls for Troy after he gives her a display of his swordsmanship. (How perfectly Freudian!) And Bathsheba is just such a wonderful character, female or otherwise. She makes her own decisions, some of which are mistakes, but she is strong enough to own to those mistakes and grow from them.
Hardy is truly one of the masters of his craft. Despite his books’ gloomy reputations, he has a sense of humor that shines through. And I’m not a fan of descriptive prose, but his is gorgeous without being self-indulgent. I also learned more than I ever wanted to know about raising sheep and what can go wrong. (I admittedly did tune out whenever architecture or farming practices came up, but those passages don’t last long.) I highly recommend this book if you’re a fan of the marriage plot and/or soapy Masterpiece Theater productions.