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Two on a Tower
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Archive 2020 Author/Genre > 2020 September: Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy

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message 1: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Thomas Hardy, (born June 2, 1840, Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, England—died January 11, 1928, Dorchester, Dorset), English novelist and poet who set much of his work in Wessex, his name for the counties of southwestern England.
He grew up in an isolated cottage on the edge of open heathland. Though he was often ill as a child, his early experience of rural life, with its seasonal rhythms and oral culture, was fundamental to much of his later writing.

Two on a Tower (1882) is a novel by English author Thomas Hardy,[1] classified by him as a romance and fantasy and now regarded as one of his minor works. Two On A Tower is a tale of star-crossed love in which Hardy sets the emotional lives of his two lovers against the background of the stellar universe. (324 pages)


message 2: by Trisha (last edited Aug 30, 2020 07:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Trisha | 949 comments I would like to read this again, so plan to start once I have read Under the Greenwood Tree with this group.


Frances (francesperez) Lesle wrote: "Thomas Hardy, (born June 2, 1840, Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, England—died January 11, 1928, Dorchester, Dorset), English novelist and poet who set much of his work in Wessex, his name for the coun..."

Hi Lesle, will there be a host for this read too, just like Trisha is host for Under the Greenwood Tree?


message 4: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Good morning Frances!

I have not had anyone volunteer to host this one as of yet. Are you interested?


Frances (francesperez) Lesle wrote: "Good morning Frances!

I have not had anyone volunteer to host this one as of yet. Are you interested?"


Hi Lesle, I think that I'll be the only Hardy-er who will be choosing this book for the month. I prefer this book over Under the Greenwood Tree. I've tried reading that a few times and couldn't get past the first chapter. There will be other reads I can join. 🤗


Trisha | 949 comments Frances, I plan to read this again after Under the Greenwood Tree. If you struggle with the dialect in chapter 1 of Greenwood Tree, just start with chapter 2! The first chapter is only an introduction to the characters & setting, but it’s quite difficult to read.


message 7: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
I am almost finished with My Antonia and plan on reading one or the other of the Hardy reads. I have not decided which as of yet.


message 8: by Brian (last edited Sep 04, 2020 09:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 3810 comments Lesle wrote: "Two on a Tower (1882) is a novel by English author Thomas Hardy classified by him as a romance and fantasy and now regarded as one of his minor works."

Hardy divided his work into the following 3 types:
1) Novels of character and environment:
The Poor Man and the Lady (1867, unpublished and lost)
Under the Greenwood Tree: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School (1872)
Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)
The Return of the Native (1878)
The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character (1886)
The Woodlanders (1887)
Wessex Tales (1888, a collection of short stories)
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented (1891)
Life's Little Ironies (1894, a collection of short stories)
Jude the Obscure (1895)

2) Romances and fantasies:
A Pair of Blue Eyes: A Novel (1873)
The Trumpet-Major (1880)
Two on a Tower: A Romance (1882)
A Group of Noble Dames (1891, a collection of short stories)
The Well-Beloved: A Sketch of a Temperament (1897) (first published as a serial from 1892)

3) Novels of ingenuity:
Desperate Remedies: A Novel (1871)
The Hand of Ethelberta: A Comedy in Chapters (1876)
A Laodicean: A Story of To-day (1881)

Except for Wessex Tales, I have read all of the above at least once. I had low expectations for Two on a Tower since Hardy ranks it as a romance rather than with his supposedly more important novels.
However, maybe because of the low expectations, I found that I quite enjoyed this story. I think it has a different feel than most other Hardy novels and I found the romance at the story's center to be an interesting one. I gave it four stars. It's worth a try.


Trisha | 949 comments Brian, I agree that this book is definitely “worth a try”. Hardy is well known for a few major books, but I suspect that many people expect too much of them especially after watching a film or tv dramatisation. I still remember my disappointment on reading Jude the Obscure for the first time, it was so different from his other books that I’d read up to that point. Like you, I’ve read most of his books & am gradually reading them again.


Trisha | 949 comments Having finished reading Under the Greenwood Tree, I’m starting Two On A Tower as promised. It’s a while since I last read it so I hope it won’t be a disappointment - the previous book is one of my favourites, so this one has a hard act to follow!


Frances (francesperez) Thank you for the information on Thomas Hardy's work, Brian. The Trumpet-Major is my favorite, and it isn't a popular and well-known one. I'll be starting this book in a day or so.

Trisha, thank you for the encouragement with reading Under the Greenwood Tree. If it is your favorite, it must be very good. I'll just get through that first chapter. I'll try to read it this 2020.


Brian Reynolds | 3810 comments Trisha wrote: "...Like you, I’ve read most of his books & am gradually reading them again. "

I read all 14 of his novels and then his big 5 (Madding, Return, Mayor, Tess and Jude) a second time since I hadn't read them since the 1980s.
In the past several years, I've read slowly through his short story collections: Life's Little Ironies and A Group of Noble Dames and his co-written story The Spectre of the Real: An end-of-the-century Narrative. I don't normally like short stories as well as I do novels, but I very much enjoyed the Hardy short stories.
I put Woodlanders and Under the Greenwood Tree as the next two after the big 5. I will re-read The Woodlanders some time as my memory is that it was very good and really ranks with Hardy's best. I haven't thought of re-reading Greenwood Tree probably since I have seen the PBS movie a few times (I taped it).


Brian Reynolds | 3810 comments Frances wrote: "Thank you for the information on Thomas Hardy's work, Brian. The Trumpet-Major is my favorite, and it isn't a popular and well-known one. I'll be starting this book in a day or so..."

I enjoyed The Trumpet-Major too. While its several suitors plot is fairly typical of Hardy, it is actually unique because it is the only Hardy historical novel, set in the Napoleonic Wars.


message 14: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Starting later today, but flipped through the beginning:

"Ah, my heart her eyes and she
Have taught thee new astrology.
Howe'er Love's native hours were set,
Whatever starry synod met,
'Tis in the mercy of her eye,
If poor Love shall live or die."


message 15: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
I feel her promise to Sir Blount is a bit much now, with this much time gone by.


Trisha | 949 comments Lesle wrote: "I feel her promise to Sir Blount is a bit much now, with this much time gone by."

I think this book has a number of promises involved in the story, with some seeming to be very unfair.

I finished reading this today. I had forgotten a lot of the story, including how it ends. On the whole the book seemed better than I remembered it, despite a slow start as I wasn’t interested in all the astronomy details. I didn’t remember just how much the men dominated what Viviette was allowed or expected to do. Everyone seemed to have his opinion & she was expected to conform. It was good to read this again, thank you for choosing it for this month.


message 18: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Gilbert wrote: "Starting Two on a Tower."

Glad to have you with us on this one Gilbert!


message 19: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (last edited Sep 08, 2020 05:54PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Trisha I feel like she is being duped by him. I do not think the trip to England was the only thing he has done. Gut says this...havent read anything yet. Swithin just got back...so havent read his findings as of yet.

My edition has what looks like pencil sketches in it. Like if I touch it it will smear! Really awesome.


Frances (francesperez) I’m only 15% in. I haven’t had time to read this week (we’re having a bit of a situation at home). I know it sounds like a dog-ate-my-homework excuse. The highlight of my day is reading notifications from Goodreads, which is the only thing book-related I’ve had time to do.


message 21: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 8423 comments Mod
I hope your life gets back on track soon, Frances. Sometimes life does get in the way of reading.


message 22: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
No worries Frances. It happens to me more often than I like to admit too!


Trisha | 949 comments Lesle wrote: "Trisha I feel like she is being duped by him. I do not think the trip to England was the only thing he has done. Gut says this...havent read anything yet. Swithin just got back...so havent read his..."

Interesting opinion, Lesle - you’ll have to wait & see, my lips are sealed!


Trisha | 949 comments Gilbert wrote: "Starting Two on a Tower."

You’re brave reading 2 books by the same author at once. I’m impressed!


Trisha | 949 comments Frances wrote: "I’m only 15% in. I haven’t had time to read this week (we’re having a bit of a situation at home). I know it sounds like a dog-ate-my-homework excuse. The highlight of my day is reading notificatio..."

No Frances, don’t worry. This isn’t homework, it’s for fun. Just join in when you want. It’s good that you’re part of this, so if you want to add comments long after others have moved on to other books it doesn’t matter at all. I hope things improve for you soon.


Gilbert | 811 comments Trisha wrote: "Gilbert wrote: "Starting Two on a Tower."

You’re brave reading 2 books by the same author at once. I’m impressed!"

Not so much. I read another or two in between. The stories are of different types which makes it so much easier.
Finished through chapter 7. Very interesting discussion of astronomy from an 1880's perspective, as well as the introduction of the main characters.


message 27: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Swithin really enjoys his Astronomy more than life itself!


Trisha | 949 comments Lesle wrote: "Swithin really enjoys his Astronomy more than life itself!"

I think anyone interested in astronomy would love this book.


message 29: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (last edited Sep 19, 2020 03:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Trisha wrote: "I think anyone interested in astronomy would love this book."

I agree in the beginning it was fine for me. (view spoiler)

This book reminds me of A Sicilian Romance full of Drama.


Frances (francesperez) I'm 36% in. I do hope this book picks up soon. Hardy and Austen are my favorite authors because I can "slip right into their writing". That's the best way I can put it. With this book I feel like I've been slogging through mud and I'm lost in a bayou. Oh, except there are stars.... lots and lots of stars...I'm being pelted with stars....


Trisha | 949 comments Frances wrote: "I'm 36% in. I do hope this book picks up soon. Hardy and Austen are my favorite authors because I can "slip right into their writing". That's the best way I can put it. With this book I feel like I..."

Frances, I hadn’t read this for a while & found it difficult to get interested - too much astronomy for me! But once more things start to happen it is a good read, so don’t give up.


Frances (francesperez) Trisha wrote: "Frances wrote: "I'm 36% in. I do hope this book picks up soon. Hardy and Austen are my favorite authors because I can "slip right into their writing". That's the best way I can put it. With this bo..."

I'll keep at it, Trisha. It would be more interesting if I found Swithin were more dashing and swoon-worthy. Out of curiosity, which is your # favorite Hardy? And your favorite classic of all time? And your most swoon-worthy fictional male character?😁


Frances (francesperez) *Okay, Trisha. It's picking up now! ❤️


Trisha | 949 comments Frances wrote: "Trisha wrote: "Frances wrote: "I'm 36% in. I do hope this book picks up soon. Hardy and Austen are my favorite authors because I can "slip right into their writing". That's the best way I can put i..."

I think my favourite Hardy book is Mayor of Casterbridge - but probably this is because of its location in the real town of Dorchester. It’s a lovely town that I visited many times. I remember a very long time ago a beautiful display in the County Museum - a room set up as Hardy’s study. I’ll have to think about your other questions, there are so many books & characters to choose from!

I’m pleased you’re starting to enjoy this book more.


message 35: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Trisha wrote: "I think my favourite Hardy book is Mayor of Casterbridge ..."

This is only my second read and The Mayor of Casterbridge is by far my favorite.

I finished today. SPOILER for some:

All the drama that forces them in different directions and I am surprised she didnt think she would be an oven.
The leaving and the coming back and realising she is old...
The end and middle is sad.
His writing is quite good and flows well for me as did The Mayor but the characters are torn.


message 36: by Trisha (last edited Sep 20, 2020 10:55PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Trisha | 949 comments Lesle, I didn’t realise this was only your second read. I’m sure you would have enjoyed Under the Greenwood Tree much more. It’s fun, but don’t be put off by the dialect in the first few pages. Perhaps it could be your next Hardy book...


message 37: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Trisha this is true. I do have several of his books in hopes to enjoy them as much as others do.

From John Dishwater's review I wish I had choosen Under the Greenwood to read but I have both so eventually I would have read it anyways.


Frances (francesperez) It’s 3:31am and I stayed up to finish this. I could not put it down the whole day. Time for bed. 🥱


Brian Reynolds | 3810 comments THE ANATOMY OF A READING EXPERIENCE

Frances wrote: "I'm 36% in. I do hope this book picks up soon. Hardy and Austen are my favorite authors because I can "slip right into their writing". That's the best way I can put it. With this book I feel like I've been slogging through mud and I'm lost in a bayou. Oh, except there are stars.... lots and lots of stars...I'm being pelted with stars......."

Frances wrote: "*Okay, Trisha. It's picking up now! ❤️"

Frances wrote: "It’s 3:31am and I stayed up to finish this. I could not put it down the whole day. Time for bed. 🥱"

Way to stick with it, Frances. In the words of that philosopher Yogi: "It ain't over till it's over."


Gilbert | 811 comments Brian wrote: "THE ANATOMY OF A READING EXPERIENCE

Frances wrote: "I'm 36% in. I do hope this book picks up soon. Hardy and Austen are my favorite authors because I can "slip right into their writing". That's th..."

Yogi....best philosopher ever!


Trisha | 949 comments Frances wrote: "It’s 3:31am and I stayed up to finish this. I could not put it down the whole day. Time for bed. 🥱"

I love this comment! It’s the sign of a good book when you can’t put it down. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Frances. Perhaps your example should be a lesson to us all, including me, not to give up on books we don’t enjoy when we start them. (Feeling very guilty now as I abandoned a book today! Perhaps I’ll try it again...)


Frances (francesperez) Brian, it wasn’t as satisfying when it was over though, as compared to his other books. It didn’t feel as well-rounded a book to me.

Trisha, I’ve abandoned so many books recently as I’ve come to a point in my life where Ive decided that there are just so many good books out there ( and more being written) and I’m not getting any younger. So if the books don’t appeal to me or are too difficult to read, I just set them aside. I admire Thomas Hardy, though, and I trusted in him that he would not publish a novel that would let his readers down. This is quite naive of me to think this way, I know. But that’s the only way that I can justify sticking with the book. And your cheering me on helped so much too! 🎉🥳 Thank you for that. I’d like to read The Return of the Native soon as this book has reignited my Hardy-fever.


message 43: by Trisha (last edited Sep 23, 2020 12:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Trisha | 949 comments Thank you, Frances. If you plan to read The Return of the Native I wonder if you would like to buddy read it? Perhaps we should ask Lesle - though I understand if you prefer to read it independently. It’s one I should read again some time.


message 44: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Trisha wrote: " If you plan to read The Return of the Native I wonder if you would like to buddy read it? Perhaps we should ask Lesle - though I understand if you prefer to read it..."

Buddy Read is fine Trisha. Just let me know if you want the thread set-up.


Frances (francesperez) Trisha wrote: "Thank you, Frances. If you plan to read The Return of the Native I wonder if you would like to buddy read it? Perhaps we should ask Lesle - though I understand if you prefer to read it..."

Ooh, that would be wonderful, as I must admit that reading the previous Hardy books were quite lonely. And the themes of his books do tend to be lonely and depressing. I have to scrape my soul up from the floor w a spatula and a broom when he's done with me. Oof! I have a few books that I'm committed to this October. I will be free afterwards.


message 46: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lesle | 5690 comments Mod
Congratulations on your dedication Frances to finish.
I had wondered at a moment if it would every get anywhere. The end was not what I had expected.


Gilbert | 811 comments Finished "Two on a Tower". Not overly impressed.
I will get to some of his other works later this, or next, year.


Trisha | 949 comments Frances wrote: "Trisha wrote: "Thank you, Frances. If you plan to read The Return of the Native I wonder if you would like to buddy read it? Perhaps we should ask Lesle - though I understand if you pr..."

It would be good to buddy read with you. You choose when you’d like to start, Frances. Until then, following your comment, I’ll get my broom ready!
Thank you, Lesle.


Trisha | 949 comments Gilbert wrote: "Finished "Two on a Tower". Not overly impressed.
I will get to some of his other works later this, or next, year."


That’s a shame, Gilbert. It was my second read of the book & I liked it more this time. But I still think some of his other works are much better. I hope you find one you can really enjoy another time.


message 50: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 8423 comments Mod
The Return of the Native is one of my favourites. Happy reading, Trisha and Frances, and maybe even more members!


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