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Desperate Remedies

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  2,188 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
Cytherea has taken a position as lady's maid to the eccentric arch-intriguer Miss Aldclyffe. On discovering that the man she loves, Edward Springrove, is already engaged to his cousin, Cytherea comes under the influence of Miss Aldclyffe's fascinating, manipulative steward Manston.

Blackmail, murder and romance are among the ingredients of Hardy's first published novel, and
Paperback, 384 pages
Published 2006 by Nonsuch (first published 1871)
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Katie Lumsden
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant, brilliant read - Hardy's usual strong characterisation and emotional impact, along with a wonderfully paced dramatic mystery. Great fun, powerful, so well written, with a wonderful cast. I flew through this, and it's currently rivalling Far From the Madding Crowd and Jude the Obscure for my favourite Hardy.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 1800-1900
As a lover of literary curiosities, how was I going to resist the spectacle of a young Thomas Hardy attempting a Wilkie Collins-style “sensation novel”? The idea is both incongruous and weirdly enticing; and the reality doesn’t fall too far short.

That’s not to say that Desperate Remedies—Hardy’s first published novel (1871)—could entirely be called a success. The crime-detective element is distinctly half-baked, and Hardy is clearly just going through the motions on the level of plot. There is
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
The idea of re-reading Thomas Hardy's work in order of publication floated in my head for quite some time; and now that I have made a start and re-visited his first published novel I think that it was a rather good idea.

'Desperate Remedies' isn't his finest work but it is a good start, and a very readable story. Hardy wrote another novel before this one, but after it was rejected and now it is lost. He took advice; and it resulted in a book that is a curious mixture of Hardy and of certain other
Nov 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pot-wallopers
Shelves: fiction
This is Hardy's first novel. For the first hundred pages or so it seems standard Hardy, but it quickly turns into a Wilkie Collinsesque potboiler (the Victorian "sensation novel") of not astoundingly high quality (it doesn't match The Woman in White, for instance). Unlike so much Hardy, there's a (view spoiler).

I wouldn't recommend this edition (Oxford World's Classics). The footnotes/endnotes will seem overly obtrusive to most readers (who doesn't know that a "palle
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-again
"Desperate Remedies" is a novel that was written by Thomas Hardy and published in three volumes in 1871. It was his first published novel. Hardy had completed his first novel "The Poor Man And The Lady" in 1868 but he was advised to either rewrite the novel, or" what would be much better...attempt a novel with a purely artistic purpose giving it a more complicated plot."The result was Desperate Remedies.I enjoyed the novel although I still haven't decided whether I am giving it 3 or 4 stars, ma ...more
Rose A
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I probably wouldn't even have heard of Desperate Remedies if I hadn't got it out of the library to listen to in the car. I'm glad I found it, however, for this was a really interesting novel and an entertaining and surprising one. The blurb led me to expect something mediocre - Hardy's first novel, hints of greatness, ultimately flawed etc. I'm partial to these lesser known works and this did not disappoint. It's not so polished, true, and it was uneven in places in terms of pacing and structure ...more
Oh, this was quite strange, but worth reading. It was Hardy's first published novel, and it's most unlike his other books, an odd mishmash of romance and Gothic and sensation novel. When Cytherea Graye takes a position as lady's maid to eccentric, beautiful Miss Aldclyffe, she is drawn under the influence of the charismatic Manston, Miss Aldclyffe's steward, and entangled in a web of romantic and violent intrigue.

It's overwritten (never a two-syllable word where a four-syllable one can be used i
Hilary G
Dec 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
More than anything else, I found this book tiresome

"How dare such creatures proffer tiresome trash,
paid off by moneyed wretches like themselves,
while humanity hungers, longing for

in particular the interjection of obscure bits of poetry and religious and classical references that I can scarcely believe meant any more to Mr Hardy's original readers than they do to me. These were to illustrate points and, I suspect, to demonstrate what a fantastically well read chap Hardy considered
John Frankham
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-pre-1900
Having read most of Hardy's novels, and re-read them, this was my first reading of Desperate Remedies. A real surprise, and a real pleasure. A cross between later Hardy and Wilkie Collins. And some of the beautifully rhythmic prose reminded me of Jane Austen, oddly enough.So adventurous for its time.

From a good Hardy web-site:

'Desperate Remedies (1871) was Thomas Hardy’s first published novel. He wrote it following the disappointment of having his first work The Poor Man and the Lady rejected fo
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Hardy’s first book was rejected by publishers because the plot went nowhere. The plot certainly went somewhere with his second book and first published novel, Desperate Remedies. Considering how many of Thomas Hardy’s novels were made into movies, I’m surprised that this one wasn’t. He’s built a very strong cast of characters. The heroine is strong and rational while the villain is dastardly indeed. The tale is one part mystery and one part love triangle. I’d even go as far as to call it ...more
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

And the audio version is available at LibriVox.


The following story, the first published by the author, was written nineteen years ago, at a time when he was feeling his way to a method. The principles observed in its composition are, no doubt, too exclusively those in which mystery, entanglement, surprise, and moral obliquity are depended on for exciting interest; but some of the scenes, and at least one of the characters, have been dee
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian, 2011
This was Hardy’s first foray into novel writing, and while it isn’t nearly as good as his later work, I don’t think it was a “false start” as some suggest. Hardy wrote his first novel to please publishers who wanted a story of sensation – and he delivered. Desperate Remedies is full of mystery, murder, and romance. I found myself working to unravel plot threads and thinking that I had it all figured out, only to have Hardy surprise me with some missing piece of the puzzle.

Beyond a work of sensat
Aug 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
This is Hardy's first published novel and it displays a number of themes that became staples of his prose works: an affair of the heart thwarted by circumstance, the effects of low social mobility, coincidence influencing the course of protagonists' lives. It does not bring social commentary to the fore-front, however. Instead the reader is propelled through the story by an urge to solve mysteries, one of which is not entirely cleared up until the final pages.

It is interesting to contrast the he
So interesting, to read Hardy's second attempt at a novel (and first published work) - the difference between it and "Jude the Obscure", his almost-last novel, is remarkable. Definitely on the sensational side. I enjoyed it, but it lacked the depth of his other work. For the sake of seeing how his writing developed, it's worth it - it's an interesting story in it's own right. But it did make me realize how much I love Hardy's descriptions of old country life and people, and his painstaking chara ...more
If this book was written today by a modern author I probably wouldn't like it.That's the magic of victorian literature.Hardy writes in a beautiful poetical way I liked much even though it was a little difficult to read especially if you weren't concentrated.The plot on the other hand wasn't anything innovative.At first it seemed more promising due to the interesting character of Mrs Aldclyffe but unfortunately her character was vey vague.The character of Cytherea confused me a little.Again at th ...more
Deborah Byrd
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting revelation, that authors of today's "great literature" also wrote pot-boilers, presumably to survive, in their day. This book is clearly written by the master's hand, but it has all the drama of a Danielle Steele novel. Lust, murder, blackmail, bigamy ... and of course innocence. Good story! I had fun reading it.
Libby Stephenson
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian, 2017
!!!!! #victober
Nov 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, classic, hardy
Read as part of the local "Hardy Readers" book group, that is reading many of Hardy's published works, in order.

This is the first book in the series.

It starts with Cytherea and her brother Owen. Their family back history is given short shrift - the father falls in love, has a relationship, she leaves (the implication being to have his child), and he then marries another woman and has two children - Owen, and Cytherea, who was named after his first love.

Both parents die, leaving little money and
Joyce Yarrow
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not surprising that Thomas Hardy's books have a reputation for being depressing. He does put his characters through intense trials and tribulations. Which was why, as a new reader of his work, I opened Desperate Remedies with some trepidation. To my delight, I found Hardy's portrayal of Cytherea Graye to be packed with realism, empathy and psychological insight--although a bit melodramatic at times. This was his first published novel - definitely a good place for a first-time reader to star ...more
Martin Bihl
as hard as it may be to believe, i've never read any hardy. except for one poem i had to write an essay about for a contest in college (i didn't win. but i'm over it now. ahem). so i've decided to read him. but where to start? how about at the beginning? even though that means reading this convoluted effort that probably doesn't give me the best impression of his ability and style? sure, why not?

because i know that i will read all of him. or at least i will tell myself i will read all of him. wh
Eesha Sajid
even in the earliest stage of his career, Desperate remedies is very much a Hardy. i don't know what else can i say since its a very non-descript book, except perhaps that its very victorian. it couldnt satisfy me in the way Hardy does in his own definition of satisfaction. a simple plot line, a good insight to human nature, good and bleak aspects of the society then. a complete classic. if you do have a healthy appetite for classics go for it, otherwise, there is always another contemporary rou ...more
Nicki Markus
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-classics
I have read most of Hardy's work, but had not yet tried this, his first offering. I really enjoyed it from start to finish. As the description suggests, there are hints of Wilkie Collins in the story line, but in the prose you can see glimpses of what will become Hardy's strong descriptive style. The plot itself, while indeed sensational, is gripping and I was also keen to pick the book up again each night and see what would happen next.
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thomas-hardy
There is in us an unquenchable expectation, which at the gloomiest time persists in inferring that because we are ourselves, there must be a special future in store for us, though our nature and antecedents to the remotest particular have been common to thousands.
But what is Wisdom really? A steady handling of any means to bring about any end necessary to happiness.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Abandoning this one after the half-way mark. A strange mix of writing styles that doesn't really work. The pace is too slow for a "Sensation" novel, with the author straying from the plot to include introspection and descriptions of nature. So glad Hardy found his own style in later novels, instead of trying to imitate "Sensation" writers. Try his other novels and leave this one for last.
Desiree Koh
Mar 28, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm embarking on a Thomas Hardy project with Lookie whereby we are reading his canon from book number one, "Desperate Remedies" through the last, "Jude the Obscure" to trace the degeneration of the writer's views on Victorian society and fall into depression. Of course, I've read all Hardy's books several times, but never before in chronological order.
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
See my review on my book blog:
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
I know I read this, and I think I liked it, but I remember nothing about it. Something of a potboiler, I think.
Roman Kurys
I have never read any of Hardy’s more famous novels. There, with that out of the way, I can now share how I felt about “Desperate Remedies” without feeling like I’m not appreciating what made Hardy a classic.

And I felt this book was ok. A very solid story on all accounts.

Characters: 3

So, I feel reluctant to even say this, but it is the truth, so here it goes. My favorite character in this story was its villain, Aeneas Manston. I know, I’m supposed to sympathize with Cytherea and her brother an
Drew Graham
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: me
Thus begins the Year of Hardy! Last year I picked up The Return of the Native, but decided that since I always refer to Thomas Hardy as my favorite author, I should probably read more of his work, which led to the decision to read his entire body of work (novels at least) in chronological order. So I put down Native temporarily, and thus my research led to my discovery of this, Thomas Hardy's first published novel.

After the death of Cytherea Graye's father, she and her brother Owen find themselv
Il primo romanzo di Thomas Hardy, pubblicato nel 1871.
In Estremi rimedi, appare, come luogo di eventi melodrammatici e di colpi di scena, un paesaggio rurale solo apparentemente pacifico. Anzi, si potrebbe dire che proprio il quadretto marino, che tratteggia l'idillio tra la bella Cytherea e il suo innamorato Edward, soli su una barca “galeotta”, rappresenti l'unico momento di autentica serenità in un intreccio in cui non solo ogni accadimento è carico di insidie per l'eroina, ma al cui interno
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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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“And they will pause just for an instant, and give a sigh to me, and think, "Poor girl!" believing they do great justice to my memory by this. But they will never, never realize that it was my single opportunity of existence, as well as of doing my duty, which they are regarding; they will not feel that what to them is but a thought, easily held in those two words of pity, "Poor girl!" was a whole life to me, as full of hours, minutes, and peculiar minutes, of hopes and dreads, smiles, whisperings, tears, as theirs: that it was my world, what is to them their world, and that in that life of mine, however much I cared for them, only as the thought I seem to them to be. Nobody can enter into another's nature truly, that's what is so grievous.” 7 likes
“Though it may be right to care more for the benefit of the many than for the indulgence of your own single self, when you consider that the many, and duty to them, only exist to you through your own existence, what can be said?” 5 likes
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