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Under the Greenwood Tree

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  10,177 ratings  ·  505 reviews
Under the Greenwood Tree is the story of the romantic entanglement between church musician, Dick Dewey, and the attractive new school mistress, Fancy Day. A pleasant romantic tale set in the Victorian era, Under the Greenwood Tree is one of Thomas Hardy's most gentle and pastoral novels.
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 218 pages
Published July 22nd 1999 by Oxford University Press (first published 1872)
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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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3.68  · 
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 ·  10,177 ratings  ·  505 reviews


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Duane
This is Hardy’s second novel and the first to feature his “realistic dream” setting of Wessex, which includes the fictional town of Casterbridge, in reality known as Dorchester and located in the south of England.

Under the Greenwood Tree is a romantic novel with a common working class man vying for the attention and affection of a beautiful young woman who has several suitors to choose from. It kind of reminds me of Far from the Madding Crowd in that regard, but much more lighthearted. I like Ha
...more
Elyse Walters
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Duane!!!!

Sweet love story....
Great atmosphere....
Gorgeous writing.....
Enjoyed it and look forward to reading Thomas Hardy again!
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
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) by: lonebearimages@gmail.com
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
Briynne
Feb 03, 2009 rated it liked it
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
...more
Piyangie
Under the Greenwood Tree or the Mellstock Quire (which was the first given title to the book) is the first successful prose writing by Thomas Hardy. Having failed at publishing as a poet, Hardy reluctantly turned into prose writing without much hope of being published. However, the book was not only published but was also a commercial success, establishing Hardy as a successful and celebrated classic author.
Being an early work of Hardy, the book is bright and optimistic, unlike the tragic tales
...more
Rebecca
(2.5) Between college and grad school I read Hardy’s five major novels, but it’s probably been 10 years or more since I tried a new one. Far from the Madding Crowd is one of my favorite books of all time, so I couldn’t help but compare Under the Greenwood Tree* to it – unfavorably, alas – as I was reading.

Greenwood was Hardy’s second novel, published in 1872. That’s just two years before Madding Crowd, and the two are quite similar in a few ways: the main female character is a conceited flirt wh
...more
Jan-Maat
The least relentlessly grim novel of Hardy's that I have read. It only features culture clash and the inevitable defeat of traditional mass village culture by an incoming bourgeois one (bye, bye village choir) and one rusty man-trap.
Audrey
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: victorian, british
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
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
...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
...more
Fuzaila
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
DNF at page 59.
I have better things to waste my time on.
Rebecca
Aug 02, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Hardy attempts happiness.
Tragedy is his forte.
Lynne King
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Disappointing.
Malum
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
2.5 stars.

If you looked in the dictionary under the word "quaint", you would likely find a picture of this novel. It's a lot lighter and happier than other Hardy works, but not quite as good (to me, at least). There is a bit of a twist here that foreshadows Hardy's coming cynical streak, however.
Elaina
This was the first book I ever read by Thomas Hardy and I thought it was so-so honestly...Sure, some of the time it was boring, but it was kind of funny also :P (The way they talked and everything made me laugh sometimes lol) I don't know why, but I always seem to wait until forever after I read a book to start reviewing it. Then I forget everything about it xD It is a bad habit I need to get rid of lol So sorry for this not so great "review" It didn't blow my mind or anything lol, but it only t ...more
Clare Cannon
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Melissa Jacobson
Actual rating 3.75

This was essentially fluff and it was a good time but certainly not my favorite TH book. I liked the character and the plot was fast moving so it did hold my attention but it lacked any sort of emotional punch. Light, quick, fluffy. Not life changing but certainly a fun book!
Brooklyn Tayla
My full review can be found on my blog: https://brooklynthebookworm.wordpress...

but let me say this; my first Thomas Hardy novel, not my last by any means. This was written so well! I loved it and the characters!
Bettie
Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: published-1872
I love Thomas Hardy and this was brilliant.
Ana
I was in the mood for a low-stakes pastoral novel and I'm glad to say that this one was delightfully full of noisy country folk and silly young love. The happy and a slightly ironic portrait of rural life was beautifully rendered so I'll try more of Hardy's prose.
Kim
Nov 11, 2011 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
...more
Petra
Sep 02, 2013 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.
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
Peter
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it
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
...more
Fiona MacDonald
Oh dear, I'm sorry to say this but I was rather disappointed in this little tale. I wanted so much to love it, and fall head over heels in love with Thomas Hardy, but I found it too hard to follow, and didn't think much of the characters. Knowing how great Hardy is supposed to be I'm sure it was my problem that this didn't resonate with me.
Paula Vince
Sep 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is my choice for the 'Classic with a colour in the title' category of the Back to the Classics challenge 2018. My main experience with Thomas Hardy consists of Tess and Jude, which both made me so upset, you'll never find reviews of them on this blog, because I refuse to re-read them. However, Far From the Madding Crowd wasn't so bad, and I'd heard people call this one more of an optimistic read too. I thought it might be a gentle slide back into Hardy, but on the whole, I was glad it was f ...more
Bev Taylor
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
a short classic that [lays out a year in the life of the villagers of mellstock

great characterisation made memorable that is built mainly upon the choir and the entrance of a young schoolteacher

great to see how they loved in those days, their traditions and values plus of course how women were viewed. they did not come out well!

an authentic recreation of hardy's own childhood

bev
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
A rather sweet little slice-of-life story about English country life. This is only the second Thomas Hardy I have read, and picked this one up mainly because it is a favourite of my grandmother's. Overall I really enjoyed it. The language is a bit tricky in places, but there are some real gems - like 'dumbledore' used as an insult.
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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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