A masterpiece

I was completed fascinated by this masterpiece of story telling. It is historical by nature and to experience the emotional journey of a young girl in such different times. There are some remarkable surprises and many reminders of how certain things haven't changed.

Tess is vulnerable. The opposite sex is omnipresent and driven by their own needs. The tale revolves around her attempt to to remain true to herself. The reaction of the men she encounters says a lot about how misdirected society was.

Being able to survive the threat of genuine poverty is central to events. This is a different kind of hardship to today's standards. Expectations are far lower and more realistic. Enough food and roof is all that matters. The richer man sees her as an easy target. Her true lover is all too hung up on moral standards influenced by the religious fanaticism of his father and destroys the joy he finds.

Our heroine wishes to help her family financially and this leads her into a world all too ready to take advantage of her loyalty. The detail that Hardy gives us of rural life is absorbing. You can read this book to learn if nothing else.

I loved how the writing drew you close to Tess and you wish so much for her to find the happiness she deserves. Hardy's narrative voice is perfect and he makes you think long after reading.