What do sexual violation, murderous farm implements, and Stonehenge all have in common? Thomas Hardy’s classic heartbreaker. On the one hand, this might be the most depressing novel you’ll ever read. On the other hand, women have come a long way.
Hardy's descriptions of the English countryside are beautiful, if a bit wordy, and his characters are reasonably well developed with varying flaws. Tess, herself, is a truly pitiable character with more than her share of hardships but her quiet acceptance of life's troubles and her passionate, enduring love for Angel are what makes the story so remarkable.