I have just read “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy. I have never read it before now, and not even studied it at school like some people have, so i thought it was time to give it a go!

Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (via Amazon)

I felt sad for Tess because, as the oldest daughter, she was inevitably going to be forced to make a good marriage to help support her big family. The issue of finding out that she was probably a descendant of the once rich and noble d’Urbervilles turns out to be a blessing and a curse. This poor girl is forced to beg for help from her distant relations with the d’Urberville and starts working for an old blind woman and her son. The son is a little creepy and doesn’t leave Tess alone, and this inevitably leads to him raping her. She returns to her family and home after this, but her life has changed so hugely that it will never be the same again.

She suffers many hardships, but becomes very independent, earning her way by any means necessary in the countryside where she is comfortable. She makes friends and enemies but manages to keep herself going. She gains much attention from men, despite her efforts to keep a distance. She meets one charming young man who wants her for his wife but she refuses again and again, knowing that her secret will destroy her and those near her.

The ending of the book was a bit disappointing, after all the events which happen through it, and i was annoyed that it finished so abruptly.

Tess goes from being a figure of beauty and innocence, to a figure of pity and hardship, to a figure of pathetic, self-pitying, glutton for punishment, and finally to a figure of revenge and (short-lived) happiness.

I give this book 7/10 for being a classic tale, with a fascinating protagonist who covers so much ground, and deals with many issues. Worth reading at least once!

Note: I read this on my Kindle (as it is a free ebook).

  1. I have never read this book or anything by Tom Hardy but I have heard good things about Tess as a heroine and it wounds intriguing, especially after reading your review, I think I will have to pick it up and read it this summer 🙂

    Thanks for the awesome post! Cheers!

  2. Beckie says:

    I felt exactly the same about the ending, I loved the character of Tess but the ending was just wrong for her.

  3. Lauren says:

    I didn’t like the ending much either, but I guess it was part of Hardy’s vision for what he wanted Tess to be – if it had been a ‘happily ever after’ ending I don’t think the book would have been the classic that it is and it would have made Tess appear as a very different literary icon. Thanks for the review! Here’s mine if you want to have a look: http://thoughtsonmybookshelf.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/tess-of-the-durbervilles-by-thomas-hardy/

    • I didn’t want a “happy ever after” ending, i just didn’t want it to end so abruptly! A poor way to finish her story.
      Your review is good, i agree that i too kept finding i wanted to write any essay about Tess!

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