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on 7 January 2014
This is the very first Thomas Hardy book I have ever read. Although not his most famous work (or his best some would say), it has definitely given me the taste to go on and read more. If this is not his best work, as suggested, I can't wait to read some more.

Once you get by the unusual diction and arrangement of a 19th century classic, the story unfolds. It's one of innocence, young love, and simple propriety, which would seem absurd in today's society. It proceeds at a leisurely pace, until the characters encounter misunderstandings, suspense, doubt, betrayal, heartbreak, jealousy, until a very unexpected twist in the tale.

An excellent piece of literature and one I would certainly recommend.
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on 16 April 2016
Lovely short story.
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on 27 August 2017
OK
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on 29 June 2014
Lots of similarities here with Tess: the innocent, trusting girl brought down by her inexperience; the intelligent, sensitive man denied happiness as a result of unrealistic expectations. It's beautifully written, of course, especially the descriptions of the Cornish countryside and the wonderful dialogue, but so frustrating. If only someone could have given them both a good shake!
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on 27 October 2014
I am an avid Hardy reader yet I had never come across this title before. Whilst it isn't quite as good as Tess, Jude or the Mayor of Casterbridge, it is still an enjoyable read. Once again Hardy highlights the plight of women at that time, this time a somewhat foolish young girl, but society judges her harshly and that's what destroys her happiness.
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on 13 March 2014
Love this book in paper form - decided to re-read it on holiday, so bought for Kindle. Very enjoyable book if you like Hardy.
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on 14 April 2015
This story starts well with the young Elfide and Stephen meeting. The trouble caused by the secret early life of Stephen later blights their relationship. This brings into the mix the coincidental arrival of Stephen's old mentor Harry. The constraints of social etiquette leave the three central characters in turmoil with the unfortunate Elfride torn between heart and mind. Not very taxing and the end is a little predictable.
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on 2 November 2012
I'd been looking forward to reading this book and so when I sat down with Kindle in hand, I had high expectations. The further I read, though, the less entranced I became and it's fair to say that this is a long way from being my favourite Hardy novel. When the story was about Elfie and Stephen, I found it charming but when Stephen left the plot to be replaced by Knight, I found that I had little care for what happened to either of them. Elfie's behaviour began to feel unnatural and try as I might, I couldn't like the character of Knight. I rarely give up on a book so when, three months on, I found the half-finished novel on my Kindle, I decided to give it a second chance.

I suppose the reason for my disappointment is that the thing I love about Hardy's writing is how he evokes the countryside, the setting of each scene and the way that even the minor characters such as innkeepers and domestic servants are richly portrayed. A Pair of Blue Eyes feels to be much more about the twistings of the plot than some of his other tales, with the results that to my mind, some of the themes feel laboured. And after all the machinations, at the end, we are deprived of the treat of seeing how Elfie deals with her rejection by Knight, to be merely told of it third-hand and in a very rushed manner at that.

I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Hardy fan and thankfully there are still one or two of his lesser-known works that I have yet to read but when I have exhausted those, I don't think this will be one that I return to re-read.
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on 20 December 2013
Maybe I'm not a big Hardy fan, but the story was a bit too contrived for my liking, and I didn't particularly like any of the main characters very much. Or the ending. A good picture of Victorian life and morality though.
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on 10 May 2014
not what I had expected but I found myself making more time to read this book and find out what was happening to the heroine. A different ending to what I had thought. really enjoyed it,
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