It has been a few months since my last Charles Dickens novel so I thought I would tackle something similar but by a different author. I do love reading the classics.
Written in the late 1800's, the setting is rural England and the subject is a young girl's struggle with the three men in her life who are pursuing her. Yes, it is basically a love story, but the reader gets a good feel for life on an English sheep farm at the turn of the century.
The character development is excellent, and unlike a Dickens' novel, we are made aware of the place in the story of each character as they are introduced.
Bathsheba Everdene has inherited a substantial farm from a dying uncle and being intelligent and head strong, she attempts to run it on her own. She has already been sought after by Oak, a young man from her past who now becomes her foreman. The neighbouring farmer, a handsome yet stoic bachelor by the name of Boldwood, is drawn into Everdene's life as a result of a foolish and girlish Valentine's prank. And then there is the dashing and romantic, but somewhat evil Troy, a soldier, who chances on Everdene one evening and sweeps her off her feet despite the protestations of almost everyone in her life.
There are some good plot twists and an ending that satisfyingly ties up all the loose ends. Hardy is an excellent writer both in his descriptions, humour, and his ability to draw the reader into a somewhat emotional involvement in the story.
I give this one 4 1/2 stars.