This novel is generally regarded as Hardy's finest. A brilliant tale of seduction, love, betrayal, and murder, Tess of the d'Ubervilles yields to narrative convention by punishing Tess's sin, but boldly exposes this standard denouement of unforgiving morality as cruelly unjust. Throughout, Hardy's most lyrical and atmospheric language frames his shattering narrative. The novel centers around a young woman who struggles to find her place in society. When it is discovered that the low-class Durbeyfield family is in reality the d'Urbervilles, the last of a famous bloodline that dates back hundreds of years, the mother sends her eldest daughter, Tess, to beg money from relations with the obvious desire that Tess wed the rich Mr. d'Urberville. Thus begins a tale of woe in which a wealthy man cruelly mistreats a poor girl. Tess is taken advantage of by Mr. d'Urberville and leaves his house, returning home to have their child, who subsequently dies. Throughout the rest of this fascinating novel, Tess is tormented by guilt at the thought of her impurity and vows to never marry. She is tested when she meets Angel, the clever son of a priest, and falls in love with him. After days of pleading, Tess gives in to Angel and consents to marry him. Angel deserts Tess when he finds the innocent country girl he fell in love with is not so pure.
I am so happy that in my teenage years I found this marvellous book in a second hand book shop. Till then I was not aware of Sir Thomas Hardy. I started reading and found that it was hard to put down. Being a strong adorer of mother Nature, I was thrilled by the author's minute descriptions of nature in old England. I was dumbfounded by his observations and narration. Coming to the story, I became an immediate fan of the Tess, the heroine. In other words I can say that her character has changed me and my personality. Her simplicity, innocence, perseverance, dedication and most importantly her love made me to be always like her in my daily life. Instantly Hardy became my favourite author and I never stopped reading almost all of his novels. Every person who likes romantic novels must read this novel first. I will never forget Tess in my life.--Submitted by Velijala Phanindra Charya, India
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