It is about Bathesheba and the 3 men who love her - Gabriel Oak, Mr Boldwood and Sergeant Troy. each have...moreReading as part of The Hardy reading group.
It is about Bathesheba and the 3 men who love her - Gabriel Oak, Mr Boldwood and Sergeant Troy. each have their own qualities but it is Gabriel who loves her first and always. She rejects his initial marriage proposal because she does not love him.
She comes to the attention of Boldwood, who has the farm next to her, after she sends him a Valentine's card partly in jest. Boldwood has difficulty accepting that she does not love him either, but gives her up when she becomes fascinated by Sergeant Troy, the educated soldier - fey in attachment, apart from drink, gambling and women as a whole - who is more in love with another woman but marries Bathsheba more for her money than anything. She soon learns her mistake and learns to hate him, especially when he keeps asking for money to go gambling.
His possible death by drowning opens her up to be courted by Boldwood again, who continues to pressure her into committing to marry him, even when he knows she doesn't love him. A party at Christmas has a detrimental effect on all concerned.
Finally, Gabriel, her one true love, gets his girl.
This is the fourth of his books and the one I've enjoyed the most so far. It has a more consistent narrative, with fewer breaks, even though I believe this was also released in serial form.
The descriptions of nature get better with this book. I believe the description of salvaging the crops during the storm is considered to be a classic scene of the genre.
Boldwood is a disconcerting and not very nice character, poor of social graces, who falls in love with a woman he's never talked to and virtually bullies her into committing to an engagement that she doesnt want. (Everyone agrees in the end that he's more than a little mad).
Troy is a glittering distraction, who can also manipulate women (but in a different way), playing on Bathesheba's insecurities in order to make her marry him immediately (she goes to Bath to talk to him and he "suggests" that he'll have to give in to chasing after some other pretty girl if she doesnt marry him immediately, so she does).
Gabriel is solid and steady, watching her make mistakes but never letting her down, even though he still loves her.
As for Bathesheba? I dont know about her. I think she grows up during this book, finally marrying the man we all know she should have in the first place. She manages to take care of her uncle's farm, even though some people think she wont and does realise her mistake in marrying Troy, especially the way she did it.(less)
This is being read as part of the local Hardy reading group.
This is the first book that I've been able to read with some level of ease - the others' I...moreThis is being read as part of the local Hardy reading group.
This is the first book that I've been able to read with some level of ease - the others' I have struggled at one level or another.
It is a story of mixed connections, lost (and re-found) loves, disappointments and misunderstandings. Very few lives are not altered in some way. Eustacia Vye wishes to escape the desolation and isolation of Egdon Heath, and believes that Clym, returning from Paris, will be the ticket to her escape. However, his dislike of Paris - the main cause of his return - plus a subsequent illness, ensures that Eustacia is further chained to the Heath, her chances of escape ruined.
Clym's cousin, Thomasin, becomes married Wildeve, despite his previous and unresolved dalliance with Eusticia. No one really ever settles, and it all ends in disaster. The heath is another character in this book, presenting an isolating force in the book and enforcing a loneliness on the likes of Eusticia by living so far from her nearest neighbours. Had she - had anyone - lived closer to each other, would things have happened differently? (less)