Book Review: Tess of the D'urbervilles

Reading Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'urbervilles has been endearing and captivating in its heart-wrenching fatalism. The novel, which is now considered a major nineteenth-century English novel, tells the tale of a young Tess D'urberville, in an impoverished rural England during the Depression in the 1870s. Her yearning to achieve status will lead to questions of what is entailed in purity and innocence. 

Hardy's panorama views of the Blackmore Vales of the English Countryside are most arresting, as is our heroine's tenacity, in her unwarranted desperation. How daunting are those dimly-fixed suggestions that give the reader pause to wonder if  existence itself can be nothing more than a roll of the dice.
The narrator asks, "But, might some say, where was Tess's guardian angel? Where was the Providence of her simple faith? Perhaps, like that other god of whom the ironical Tishbite spoke, he was talking, or he was pursuing, or he was in a journey, or he was sleeping and not to be awakened."
I yearned to run to her side, to answer as her guardian angel, if none she had. How I wondered how Hardy could do it, could commit the most sadistic, the most unprincipled of acts in permanent ink. What a beautiful, beautiful tragedy.

@ 2012 by Rachel Lowry. All Rights Reserved


  1. Have you seen the BBC movie? So. good.

  2. Tess was one of my very favorite novels read during High School I even thought I wanted to name one of my daughters Tess. I loved her courage and tenacity. I'm always drawn to books with strong heroins.

  3. I've actually only seen the A&E movie, which I thought depicted the book very well.