There are number of very good reviews of this `classic' novel. I believe the other reviewers have given a good plot overview. So here goes on my thoughts of this unabridged audio presentation, for what they're worth. For my part I was introduced to this novel in my English Literature class and even then I enjoyed the narrative, I found out early on that Hardy had original produced his narrative as part of monthly serial for a magazine, and I think that this shows in the narrative. As the author had to keep his monthly readership keen and interested, so they would get the next enthralling `episode'.
As the serial progressed the story gained a broader audience. Eventually it gained mainly positive reviews and was ultimately compiled in a novel. What I didn't know, at the time and only realised until recently, is that Thomas Hardy revised/tweaked the narrative on number of occasions. So I guess what we read today, or in this case hear has changed from the early manuscripts.
For me this is a story that can be seen on many levels - yes it is a romance, a comment woman in society of the time, but for me it is the rural background that gives this tale that extra zest that I find so enjoyable.
This unabridged audio is very good, I found the narrator's voice comfortable to listen too, I guess on this front it is really down personal to taste, I'm sure there may be some detractors on how well the story is narrated. However, I really enjoyed this audio book and I recommend it