Many people these days only know the novels of Thomas Hardy through films and television adaptations. But if you haven’t read Hardy, you’ll have missed the subtleties of his characters, and the power of his language. Now these Real Reads versions of Hardy offer the young, the busy, and the reluctant reader a bridge to the original. Maxine Linnell is an up and coming children’s author – her long experience as a psychotherapist has given her a deep understanding of characters and their motivations.
Far from the Madding Crowd
‘I cannot allow any man to – to criticise my private conduct!’
Young, attractive and impetuous, Bathsheba has inherited a farm and is determined to be as independent as possible. Her natural beauty is a magnet for men; how will she choose between them?
Gabriel Oak is a young farmer, just set up in business with his own flock of sheep. He meets Bathsheba and falls in love with her, but she turns him down. He has to stand by and watch while the woman he loves is courted by others, first by William Boldwood, much older than Bathsheba; then by Sergeant Troy, young, handsome, and reckless. Who will she choose?
Throughout Bathsheba’s series of mistakes, Gabriel remains her loyal friend. But will he ever be more than just a friend?
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Michael Henchard knew he deserved the pain he felt.
Henchard is a handsome farm labourer. When he gets drunk at a country fair, he sells his wife and child to a sailor. The next day, ashamed by what he has done, he lets people believe that his wife has died. Thus begins a chain of events which leads Henchard deep into dishonesty and betrayal.
Repentant and determined to change his ways, Henchard works hard to improve his fortunes. He becomes rich, and is elected mayor of Casterbridge – though his temper and his pride make him difficult to like.
When Henchard’s wife and daughter come back to find him, will he accept them? And what might they want from him? Will a reunion mean a happy ending?
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Following a series of misfortunes, Tess Durbeyfield leaves her impoverished family to seek work with her rich relations.
Her new employer, Alec d’Urberville, seems charming and kind. Tess has a mind of her own, but she is vulnerable and alone among strangers. Can she trust Alec?
A year later Tess meets Angel Clare, and they fall in love. If Angel discovers the truth about Tess’s past, will he still love her?
In this gripping story of courage, love and betrayal, Thomas Hardy asks many difficult questions. Are the expectations of women and men the same? Can we ever escape the consequences of our past actions? How much pain can one person live with?
© Real Reads 2013