How have I, a classic literature lover, gone so many years without reading this novel? This is what happens when you stick to what you know and only read the same authors and novels over and over; you miss out on some fantastic books!
I am still in awe of this novel, Thomas Hardy's writing style is so effortless to read, I found myself swept up and immersed in the story completely. It was so amazing; I finished this book in a day. Naturally with such an intense story, I felt exhausted afterwards but I have a new favorite novel to add to the list.
Tess Durbeyfield is such an amazing character, I was instantly enamored. Hardy combined such a mixture of strength and innocence, determination and independence that such a literary heroine is rarely found. Alec d’Urberville is sickening while Angel Clare seems diametrically opposite… However, if you take a closer look, you’ll notice one form of abuse hits Tess just as hard as the other. Early on in the story, Alec violates Tess an obvious form of abuse, then later Angel’s disgust at being deceived leads him to believe in an unfair double standard, and again Tess is the victim of a subtler abuse.
Hardy’s commentary on Victorian England’s double standard placed on women in view of their purity is stunning. Seriously, if you haven’t read this novel, do it, it’s fantastic.