Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Society in 19th Century Rural Dorset, 22 May 2008
This review is from: The Woodlanders (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I have to agree with other reviewers - this, too, is my favourite Hardy novel. Although Thomas Hardy's stories are always fatalistic, he gives us a wonderful insight into 19th Century rural life and, as I love Dorset, I can really immerse myself into his tales. Although primarily a love story, The Woodlanders also deals with the subject of educating women to a high level; particularly educating them in order to obtain a better chance of marrying 'well'. As Hardy observes, this can lead to estrangement from the lifestyle of a girl's childhood and a difficulty in understanding where she now belongs. Although the social climate has changed a lot since this novel was first published in 1887, love and all its idiosyncrasies remain the same. And many of Hardy's observations still hold true today. eg., speaking of one of the main characters in the novel (Grace), he says: 'Nothing ever had brought home to her with such force as this death how little acquirements and culture weigh beside sterling personal character." As always, a most enjoyable and very thought provoking novel.
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