A man struggling to make a future for himself, Gabriel Oak works hard and passionately as a sheep herder. He takes out a loan on good faith only to have his prospects run over a cliff. The catalyst to this need to succeed starts at the sight of Bathsheba Everdene, a head-strong young woman visiting relatives in the country. At first sight he is in awe but she is indifferent. After a series of events, let-downs and deaths, the two find themselves face-to-face again after an embarrassing confrontation months earlier. The only difference is that there is a significant role reversal in status and sense. Thrown together in the name of great farming, they loathe and avoid each other at all costs. Bathsheba, our immature heroine, plays with hearts, but eventually knows the pain that she has caused. Fuelled by the doubts of so many that such a woman could run a farm, she forges ahead, agreeing to heartless arrangements. But the oddities of fate save her from herself and set her on the right road. After what seems like a painfully long time, she grows up and listens to the small wise voice of her heart. Hardy does readers a favor by relating the realistic selfishness of everyday people and their struggle for happiness--illustrating that while we can be extremely stupid at times, the heart can also make us wise.--Submitted by melissa.
Gabriel Oak -- a man of good nature and intentions. He goes to church on Sundays - although he does not always listen and thinks more about dinner - and works honest work for his money. Bathsheba Everdene - a middle class woman who does not always make the right decisions and often acts on impulse, but really does care for the ones she loves. These two people are the hero and heroine of the novel. One is an ordinary farmer who can get by. The other is an upper class bailiff who has inherited a farm and workers. They meet when Bathsheba visits her Aunt. Oak develops an attraction to her and soon they frequently bump into each other. Oak happens to be looking for a job at one point in the novel and Bathsheba has one going! It is a perfect opportunity for Oak to get to know Bathsheba. The novel is one of romance and passion. When the reader put it down after reading a couple of chapters, they are left with questions buzzing around their minds - how will Mr Boldwood react with the Valentine? Will Oak have pity and help Boldwood and Bathsheba? What is Bathsheba going to do now that Troy has declared his love of another woman? This is an exciting read and will leave the reader itching for more.--Submitted by L.R.S.
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