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Under the Greenwood Tree
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Under the Greenwood Tree

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  6,151 ratings  ·  268 reviews
'At sight of him had the pink of her cheeks increased, lessened, or did it continue to cover its normal area of ground? It was a question meditated several hundreds of times by her visitor in after-hours - the meditation, after wearying involutions, always ending in one way, that it was impossible to say'

The arrival of two newcomers in the quiet village of Mellstock arouse
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Hardcover, 204 pages
Published December 28th 2002 by IndyPublish.com (first published 1872)
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MJ Nicholls
Hardy’s third novel is about a string band that gets replaced by a sexy female organist. After that, about how the sexy female organist is pursued by three suitors and she chooses the poor, handsome one. How do students write theses on this shit? I have two ornamental degrees and I can’t think up anything useful to say about this extremely slight, simple novel. Except, I tried Thomas Hardy’s approach to courting at the speed dating last night. First woman: I wonder if you would do me the honour— ...more
Laura
An optimistic Thomas Hardy novel? Is there such a thing?? Published the same month Hardy turned 32, this is, at least as far as I’ve read, the cheeriest of his works — that alone should be a selling point! In some ways it’s an exploration of the changes he saw enveloping England, played out in the changes to a tiny parish church. The story centers on Mellstock, a village much like Hardy’s native Higher Brockhampton, and the local church that’s much like his own beloved Stinsford. The story’s pre ...more
Briynne
I've come to accept that I'm the only person of my generation with whom I am personally acquainted that likes Thomas Hardy. It's fine. It's astonishing and amazing to me, but fine. This particular sort of isolation has it's perks, though; I like to think that Tom and I are buddies - you know, sort of us against the world. And through this bizarre, completely imaginary relationship, I had myself pretty well convinced that I knew what to expect from a Hardy novel. Not so, friends.

I picked this up
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Christopher H.
If you're looking for an enjoyable and relatively quick summer read, I highly recommend Thomas Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree or The Mellstock Quire: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School. This delightful little novel is one of the more bucolic and pastoral novels I've read in some time, and depicts the disappearing rural life of Hardy's southwestern England. This novel was first published in 1872, and was the last of his work published anonymously. This novel is considered the first of Hardy's ...more
Audrey
Reading this book was like seeing childhood photos of a good friend. I recognized Hardy's minute attention to the natural world, the way the seasons move through the countryside, and his ability to capture a person's movements and individuality so that I feel like I could draw his portrait myself. But the general optimism of the story was a pleasant surprise (usually Hardy = big downer). Here, we still have the fallible, three-dimensional characters Hardy is so good at delineating, but they are ...more
Rebecca
Hardy attempts happiness.
Tragedy is his forte.
Barry Pierce
Hmmm this is an interesting little novel. Well, less a novel, more a paint sampler into Hardy's fabulous Wessex countryside. This novel would be nothing without the luxurious and rich prose of Hardy, or as I like to call him "Dickens of the fields". Plot wise, this novel is simple. A new woman arrives in town (the rather interestingly named Fancy Day) and she is immediately sought after by three suitors, of course. She is a strong and independent female character that is very characteristic of m ...more
Dianna
I love Tess of the D'Urbervilles for its scenery, but this book was ten times more enjoyable to me because it's still got good scenery; it's written about a group of rustic, drunk church musicians; and it's happy. Now of course Hardy couldn't end the book without making us question whether they'll stay happy, but I'll take what I can get.

As a violinist and a lover of literature, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Reading it soon after The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language made it ev
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Kim

I chose to listen to this audiobook as part of what I anticipate will be an ongoing project designed to overcome my long-held prejudice against Thomas Hardy; a prejudice entirely grounded in my strong dislike of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. The experience of listening to this book has been less successful in achieving that end than my previous excursion into Hardy's work: the truly wonderful audiobook of The Return of the Native, narrated by Alan Rickman. That said, the novel itself and its narrat
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Clare Cannon
May 22, 2011 Clare Cannon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Adults & Adults
Hardy's style of writing is delightful, though his characters never get very close to my heart. Nor was I satisfied with the shortness of this novel, in fact, I think I almost preferred Tess' misery... at least we were able to understand her with some depth. This is supposed to be Hardy's lighter side, but the lightness wasn't very convincing, even if it wasn't exactly dark. However, for what it is, it's a beautifully written short story that helps to contextualise his other more sombre tales. I ...more
Victoria Rose
Honestly? I liked the movie better. There, I said it. I almost always like the book better, on principle if nothing else. But Under the Greenwood Tree was much improved by the heavy editing it underwent for the screen.

Ultimately my argument lies with the two main characters, Dick Dewy (typically apt last name, as he is a totally limp character, once in love) and Fancy Day (again, indicative name: her fancy changes with each proverbial day). They simply sucked as characters. I adored the old chur
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Jonathan
I read the audiobook version of Under the Greenwood Tree which was narrated by Robert Hardy who starred in the TV adaptions of All Creatures Great and Small. I don't really like audiobooks but I find them useful to listen after work when my eyes are tired.

Although I've seen films of Hardy's work, I hadn't actually read anything by him as I was put off years ago when I first attempted to read Far From the Madding Crowd. I was also put off at first by Robert Hardy's accents which seemed to be all
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Jeana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy
This was Thomas Hardy's 2nd published novel. He apparently destroyed the manuscript of his first written novel because the subject was too controversial. The results was this boring novel which follows the pursuit of a man for a woman he seems to have fallen for on sight alone. I wished desperately she'd reject him or something would keep them apart in the end.

It's interesting having read some of Hardy's last novels first and then skipping to the beginning of his career. In this one, you can se
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K' Lati
Mix one imature guy and a woman who doesnt know what she wants, with a bunch of nice small town characters more intresting than the first two and you get this book.

I guess women like Miss Fancy Day have been around longer than I thought.

Helen
So I love reading classics, and I loved the movie, and I loved the narration of this audiobook, by the guy who played Siegfried in All Creatures Great and Small. What's not to love? Miss Fancy Day, that's what. Manipulative and vain, and nowhere near good enough for Dick Dewey. I also had a hard time with the dialogue, being set in the late 19th century in a farming village in northern England. Not Thomas Hardy's fault, but it was tricky stuff to hear while driving. So I'll give this 3 stars bas ...more
Roberta
Mi aspettavo grandi cose da questo romanzo, definito come l'unico romanzo ottimista di Thomas Hardy (noto per le trame strappa-lacrime e torci-stomaco, non c'è pace per i suoi personaggi). In realtà si tratta di una novella piuttosto semplice, ambientata nel suo Wessex, nel paese di Mellstock. Qui l'arrivo di Fancy Day, la nuova maestra, e contemporaneamente del nuovo parroco, sconvolge la comunità in vari modi.

Il figlio del carrettiere locale, Dick Dewy, si innamora perdutamente della bella Fan
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Sam Quixote
This is my first Thomas Hardy book, recommended as it eases you into his style of writing, and man alive is it a strange style! Hardy makes sure the conversations of country folk sound genuine so you get a lot of "ye", "o'ny", "squizzling", "stimmilent", "onmistakable", "husbird", all of which takes a lot of getting used to. The main character, Dick Dewy, is a "tranter" something I had to look up -it's basically a driver.

Anyway, Dick Dewy falls for the new schoolmistress, the ridiculously named
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Treasa
Dick Dewey, a young man of Mellstock, falls in love with the new schoolteacher, Fancy Day. Meanwhile, Fancy is being courted by other men and being pressured by her father to accept a wealthier suitor than Dick. This book chronicles the relationship of Dick and Fancy over a full year.

Thomas Hardy is such a wonderful writer. This book differs from others that I have read by him by not being completely depressing. However, it certainly has a sense of melancholy that I would expect from Hardy. And
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Jess
A year or two ago I watched the TV movie adaptation with the lovely Keeley Hawes as Fancy Day, and I loved it immensely. I've got it on DVD now, too. After the first (or second) watching I thought I'd better read the book (as any good reader should!).

I keep hearing it's one of Hardy's 'cheerier' works, and I've read Tess of the d'Urbervilles and that was incredibly tragic (and I kind of hated it). So Under The Greenwood Tree was refreshing and very, very funny. The scene with the bees sticks out
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Jessica
See more of my reviews on my blog Thoughts At One In The Morning.

My Thoughts:

I saw the movie of Under The Greenwood Tree before I read the book. I figured that since I enjoyed the movie, I should check out the book. It should be worthwhile, right? Hmm… not exactly.

Let me explain. The writing wasn’t horrible, there were a lot of lovely descriptions of places and scenery. Made it feel more real. But the dialogue… oh, the dialogue… most of it was written as it was spoken back then. Choppy words, sh
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Kyle
A cursory reading of this, one of Hardy's earliest novels, would lead some to think that it is a slight, silly love story, and for the most part, that would be true. But looking closer one can see that many of Hardy's themes from his later, more majestic novels are included. These include miscommunication between the sexes, the interference of the new in the old and rustic - and the changes that inevitably occur, and the conflicts between generations. Though not fully fleshed out in this short n ...more
Mike
Jul 17, 2012 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: favorites
When I was a little kid I picked up my mother’s copy of Far From the Madding Crowd because I liked the word madding and the book’s red cover with silver letters. I read a bit of it; I don’t remember how much or what I thought about it, but whatever I saw and thought kept me from picking up anything by Hardy again until now.

For the first twenty or so pages of Greenwood my lifelong hatred of Hardy was in full force, but then I was drawn in, not because of the story, which is fairly typical rustic
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David
Not a death of note, fortune's wheel in for repairs, blighted stars obscured by bucolic shower clouds, no common-law marriages to cousins or wife sales....Under The Greenwood Tree disabuses all the cliched views of Hardy as a heavy-browed writer of bleak novels as he serves up a short, often comic pastoral tale of rural Wessex life. With a happy ending.

With shades of The Return of the Native in the three-suitor-one-maid plot, atop the background of a band of cider-savvy rustic musicians being ea
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David Prestidge
Lightweight - yes. Inconsequential - yes. Twee - yes. Atmospheric - YES. Characterisation - BRILLIANT. Appreciation of landscape - UNMATCHED. Dialogue - SURE TOUCH, AUTHENTIC. Overall heartwarming score out of 10 - NINE.
A wonderful village choir (or quire) in Dorset. Singers, and players of cellos, clarinets and Serpents. Begins at christmas as they make their rounds on Christmas Eve. Unrivalled description of a snowey rural Christmas. New vicar, fancies young lady in village who plays the organ
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Joelle
This is one book where the movie is 100 % better, despite or perhaps because they changed the plot and made the characters more interesting.

Book: Fancy is a silly, coquettish, flirty, chit, who says she loves Dick and then does a lot to the contrary before finally marrying him.

Movie: Fancy is a smart, sensible, respectable girl who once she knows Dick is for her she turns down two marriage offers even though she thinks she and Dick "cannot be".

I'm usually one who hates it when they make a movie
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Blair
While a charming and idyllic rural tale, this didn't quite grab my imagination in the same way as the other Hardy novels I've read. The descriptive passages were, of course, brilliantly vivid and fantastic to read, but there was too much conversation, the majority of which I didn't find very interesting. Similarly, the romance between Dick and Fancy was engaging (and I couldn't help but be enchanted by it because of the realism of Hardy's depiction of the courtship), but I just didn't particular ...more
Ali

This is my third reading of this novel. It is a beautifully observed description of rural life, and the impending changes in society. Although a fairly slight novel, Under the Greenwood Tree - still manages to contain a lot of colourful rural characters. These characters along with the Mellstock choir represent the old and the traditional, while Miss Fancy Day, the flighty young school mistress, represents all that is new and subject to change, and she herself is the cause of change within the c
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James Giddings
This is allegedly the only Thomas Hardy novel in which nobody dies! It tells of a West Gallery Quire in a fictional village that is very like the place Hardy grew up. The Quire consists of amateur instrumentalists and singers who traditionally sang in the "west" or back balcony of British churches until supplanted by organs and regimented choirs in the late 19th century. Having had the chance to sing with such a quire at this year's New England Folk Festival, I got the book via inter-library loa ...more
Laura
Watched the movie at You Tube.

In this lighthearted romance from Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy, the beautiful new village school teacher is pursued by three suitors: a working-class man, a landowner, and the vicar.

Under the Greenwood Tree (2005)



Cast:

Keeley Hawes as Fancy Day
James Murray as Dick Dewy
Terry Mortimer as Robert Penny (as Terence Mortimer)
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Thomas Hardy, OM, was an English author of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his facination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates char ...more
More about Thomas Hardy...
Tess of the D'Urbervilles Far from the Madding Crowd  Jude the Obscure The Mayor of Casterbridge The Return of the Native

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“If we be doomed to marry, we marry; if we be doomed to remain single we do.” 67 likes
“There's a friendly tie of some sort between music and eating.” 35 likes
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