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Under the Greenwood Tree
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Under the Greenwood Tree

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,191 Ratings  ·  355 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
Hardcover, 204 pages
Published December 1st 2002 by (first published 1872)
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Mary I loved this one even more than when I read it first.
A good one to start with if you are new to Hardy's novels!
Wynne She tells him that she was flattered and could not help thinking of what her life would be on a different social level than the one offered by Dick.…moreShe tells him that she was flattered and could not help thinking of what her life would be on a different social level than the one offered by Dick. But she does love Dick and makes a choice. Class differences are very important at this point. Remember her father's explanation to Dick about who Fancy's mother was.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Nov 25, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, english-lit
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
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
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Sep 25, 2015 Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) by:
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
Sep 24, 2011 Dianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 12, 2011 Audrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian
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
Aug 02, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Hardy attempts happiness.
Tragedy is his forte.
Nov 23, 2015 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Hardy offers readers a surprise in this early novel. Under the Greenwood Tree is a novel of light, gentle humour, innocent characters who suffer no horrid fate or trama, and a conclusion that offers hope rather than despair for the future. This novel is so unlike Hardy's later novels that more than once I had to check the book's cover to make sure it was a Hardy novel.

As a stand alone novel it is an interesting, if somewhat uninspiring read. The story revolves around a young lady named
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
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
Clare Cannon
May 22, 2011 Clare Cannon rated it really liked it  ·  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
Chloe (thelastcolour)
This book was a little gem. Obviously, it has taken me a while to read it - I have read two books in between starting and finishing this novel! 'Under the Greenwood Tree' is the first Hardy novel that I have read and I know that it won't be the last.

From what I have gathered from avid Hardy fans, this book is actually one of his only optimistic and happy novels! Some of the characters were rather annoying and I did get quite bored in some parts but, overall, I left this book feeling satisfied.
Nov 16, 2011 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

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
Nov 20, 2009 Jeana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 28, 2015 Petra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, fiction
As much as I love Hardy's stories in general, I just did not see the point of this book at all. Moreover, I was quite unhappy with the way he chose to portray the main female character, Fancy Day (I mean even the name just sounds stupid, doesn't it?). I never in my life would have thought that one day I would be giving three stars to a book by Thomas Hardy, but here it is.
Renee M
Nov 16, 2015 Renee M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet story of young love told in Hardy's beautiful style with plenty of humor and charm. The romance is pretty straightforward, but the characters surrounding Dick and Fancy are delightful. One of Hardy's earlier novels, it doesn't have the gravity of his later works, but I did so enjoy reading it.
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
Hall's Bookshop
Oct 02, 2015 Hall's Bookshop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: james
Thomas Hardy is my favourite English author, so expectations were high. In the end it turned out to be a relatively light offering, but with Hardy 'light' is of course a very relative term. There were plenty of fascinating snippets of English country life now long forgotten, as ever, but there was only one death, no one was maimed, and no dreams were permanently crushed. At times it even seemed as though the story was heading for a sugary Austen-style 'happily-ever-after' ending, but thankfully ...more
Dana Loo
Più un racconto lungo che un romanzo ha toni idilliaci, sprazzi di sano umorismo e racconta una storia d'amore che si conclude lietamente anche se dopo qualche peripezia. Non è l'Hardy dei suoi romanzi più maturi e si sente...ogni tanto fa capolino la sua grande magia però è ancora molto naive, specie se si considerano alcune caratterizzazioni e dialoghi...
Oct 23, 2015 Amalie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, victorian
Honestly? If I were someone new to Hardy, this should be the last book I would read to end it all (on a happy note).

As for this being "a bright, happy romance"? Hardy 'brightness' or 'happiness' are of course a very relative terms. At times it seemed as though the story is heading for a 'happily-ever-after' ending, but then we are reminded that Fancy has married with "a lie" therefore "Their happiness is based on a lie". I wonder if Hardy even had an intention to create 'a happy romance' at all
Jun 06, 2015 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From 1872, this is Hardy’s second novel to be published, and (to date) the earliest that I have read. It was published anonymously at first, as Hardy was not known - and it was therefore of no use for the publisher to use his name in trying to sell it. The book was a success, however, and thereafter his books were published with his name on them.

“Under the Greenwood Tree”, also named “The Mellstock Quire - A Rural Painting of the Dutch School” begins with a travelling church quire (an amateur ba
Maan Kawas
Jun 15, 2015 Maan Kawas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful lighthearted book by Thomas Hardy, which resembles a light piece of music! The story is a simple one, concerned basically with the love affair between Dick Dewy and Fancy Day; an affair which was, somehow, threatened by the love of two other men. Along with main story, is the mess created by the Reverend Maybold’s decision of replacing the church choir with a modern organ, which forms a kind of threat to the musicians’ career as well as the traditions. However, the novel is filled wi ...more
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
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.

Two weak main characters, Fancy is closer to Lydia than Elizabeth Bennet, and I like my literary heroines like I like my real life heroines: Strong, independent, able to judge people on their worth, not their clothes and social status. The supporting cast were great, Reuben especially, but it's basically a weak love story between Dick, who has looked at Fancy, decided she is beautiful and wants to marry her, and Fancy, who loves dresses, hats and curls in her hairs. What little drama there is is ...more
Nov 17, 2015 Ginny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure what I expected, but I was disappointed. The best parts for me were the pastoral descriptions of the landscape and skies. The portraiture reminded me of those dolls made out dried apples. (In fact, one character is described as apple-cheeked.) They seemed like quaintly dressed puppets performing their amusing skits for the author. The language has colour and rhythm and often does literally bounce along in time with the characters. The use of colloquial terms and dialect that I had ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2014
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
Sep 22, 2014 Roberta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classici, 2014, uk
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
Mar 05, 2014 Rikke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never knew Thomas Hardy could be this cheerful, sarcastic and genuinely funny. "Under the Greenwood Tree" is quite a charming portrait of a small troupe of musicians, a beautiful school teacher and three men hopelessly in love.

Though this is a little book it contains a multitude of personalities and absurdities. Hardy paints a vivid portrait of a gradually fading rural life, its idyllic atmosphere and quiet everyday-routines. At times it feels like this book is divided in two; one part dealing
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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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 fascination 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 cha ...more
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“If we be doomed to marry, we marry; if we be doomed to remain single we do.” 83 likes
“There's a friendly tie of some sort between music and eating.” 36 likes
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