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The Hand of Ethelberta
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The Hand of Ethelberta

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  2,780 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Adventuress and opportunist, Ethelberta reinvents herself to disguise her humble origins, launching a brilliant career as a society poet in London with her family acting incognito as her servants. Turning the male-dominated literary world to her advantage, she happily exploits the attentions of four very different suitors. Will she bestow her hand upon the richest of them, ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 512 pages
Published July 31st 1997 by Penguin Books (first published 1876)
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Jun 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“This somewhat frivolous narrative was produced as an interlude between stories of a more sober design...”

This is how Thomas Hardy opens his preface to this novel so no one can say that the reader was not forewarned and so should not be disappointed for not finding here another Jude the Obscure or another Tess. The plot about a young girl who married above her station only to be widowed in the first few weeks of her marriage, her low born family that must be kept a secret if polite society is
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Another masterpiece written by one of my favorite authors.

"All Before Them Was A Sheet of Whiteness" by George du Maurier.

And the free audio version is available at LibriVox.
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
My aim has been to read through the entire works of Thomas Hardy as he is one of my favored authors. I am very intrigued by him as a person and awed by the details of life from the mid 1800's that would be lost entirely to us were it not for there being recorded in his novels with such poetic detail.

The hand of Ethelberta was an interesting novel. It is one of the few Hardy works that end with some joy for most if not all of the characters. It definitely isn't as profound as his more melancholy
MJ Nicholls
Subtitled “a comedy in chapters”, Hardy’s fifth novel production is not a tremendous piece of sustained prose writing, nor a comedy, unless your sense of humour is Sahara-in-summer-dry. As the unforgiving introduction to the Macmillian edition states, Hardy here writes in his “Harrison Ainsworth style”, meaning a tendency to reach for the florid phrase when a stylish one would better tickle the reader’s eyes. The protagonist, Ethelberta (not her hand as the title states), is a precursor to the s ...more
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Moon Rose
There was a time in history that the difference between social classes can be seen as thick and as dense as a sky filled with white fluffy clouds that veneer the clarity of the spotless azure dome before our very eyes, deceitful in its immaculate texture of whiteness as it hides the incandescent hue of true justice. It was a time of strict hierarchical obeisance, a lifetime of avowal thereof to a harsh and imposing norm of classification adhered in tradition and ruled throughout in one's life as ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Well that made a change. No doom and gloom, no tragic shocks, admittedly a certain amount of heartache, but all quite bearable, and everything works out quite well in the end (although there is a last minute twist to the plot).

When I read the introduction I was quite surprised that this was to be light-hearted in manner, and upon reading it I was even more surprised that a large portion of the novel was set in London - and not even just a visit to a solicitor! And furthermore there was time spe
Mar 31, 2013 rated it liked it
The Hand of Ethelberta is a novel written by Thomas Hardy and first published in 1876. It was written in serial form and appeared in Cornhill Magazine. I am so glad I wasn't around in the days when we had to wait from week to week or month to month to find out what happens to the people I come to know in books. I like my books to come into my hands all at one time. Back to the book that is in my hands now, "The Hand of Ethelberta".

One of the things that struck me right away when beginning the no
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic, favorites, 2014

“It was one of those hostile days of the year when chatterbox ladies remain miserably in their homes to save the carriage and harness, when clerk’s wives hate living in lodgings, when vehicles and people appear in the street with duplicates of themselves underfoot, when bricklayers, slaters, and other out-door journey-men sit in a shed and drink beer, when ducks and drakes play with hilarious delight at their own family game, or spread one wing after another out in the slower enjoyment of lettin
This is my new favourite Thomas Hardy novel. It's just magnificent. So incredibly beautifully written, so full of amusing dialogue and wit. It's not at all depressive lonely rural wessex but rather a mixture of town and London, Society and servants. Without giving anything away I think it has the best ending of any Victorian novel I've ever read. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it did. The plot was lovely, a young widow of 21 (or so) is living in society with her mother-in-law wh ...more
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Works of Thomas H...: The Hand of Ethelberta: April -May 2016 13 11 Apr 21, 2016 05:12PM  
  • Castle Richmond
  • The Absentee
  • Born in Exile
  • Marius the Epicurean
  • The Monastery
  • The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle
  • Albigenses
  • The Doctor's Wife
  • Virgin Soil
  • Felix Holt: The Radical
  • Sylvia's Lovers
  • The Real Charlotte
  • Cecilia
  • The Marble Faun
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
More about Thomas Hardy...
“A half knowledge of another's life mostly does injustice to the life unknown.” 3 likes
“She is one of those people who are known, as one may say, by subscription: everybody knows a little, till she is astonishingly well known altogether; but nobody knows her entirely.  She” 2 likes
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