The only Thomas Hardy novel I had read prior to reading this was Tess of the D’Urbervilles, which was prescribed reading for my GCSE English Literature qualification.
To be honest, after that, I didn’t want to pick up another Thomas Hardy book anytime soon. But my best friend has been insisting for years that I give her favourite book, Far from the Madding Crowd, a try, and she isn’t one to take no for an answer, so I thought I’d give it a try.
I’m so glad I did.
This novel looks at female empowerment, gender roles, and creating a life for yourself, regardless of outside forces trying to sway you one or the other.
I completely fell in love with Bathsheba, much as I did with Elizabeth Bennett when I first read Pride and Prejudice, and I thoroughly enjoyed her story.
What I like most is Hardy’s realistic portrayal of the human psyche, where women actually think about themselves rather than just lying down and taking whatever comes their way – I like the fact that he’s honest about how women must have felt back then, even if they sadly had no way of fighting against the cages society put them in.
If, like me, you were prescribed a Hardy novel for your GCSE, A-level or even degree course and came to hate it, I’d say definitely don’t write him off, give something else a chance and you might find your opinion is completely different.