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The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
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The Woodlanders (1887)

by Thomas Hardy

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English (33)  French (1)  All (34)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
This Hardy novel tells the story of Grace, whose father has worked hard to educate her about what is typical for their class so that she may have improved opportunities in life. She does indeed marry well in theory as a result, but the moral of the story without giving the plot away is that moving upwards doesn't necessarily equal happiness.

As always, a terrific web of storytelling from Hardy. Although supposedly his personal favourite of all his novels, I preferred Tess and The Mayor of Casterbridge, but it was a great read nonetheless.

3.5 stars - probably quite a harsh rating, but I'm comparing this book with Hardy's other work rather than on a par with other novels. ( )
  AlisonY | Aug 14, 2017 |
I won’t even try to do this book justice. I couldn’t come close. For me it’s magical realism, with all the realism in the magic and all the magic in the realism. The pages exude atmosphere, atmosphere, and more atmosphere. His characters ride the hopelessness of humanity like dreamers in a slow boat. It’s easy to see why many people don’t like Hardy’s bleakness. But his world is mine, so I’m at home there. His austere presentation is beautiful. ( )
1 vote WarrenRoss | Feb 25, 2016 |
The Woodlanders Thomas Hardy
★★★

Set in the small country Hamlet of Little Hintock this is essentially the story of 2 families whose fate is intertwined.

When he steals the woman beloved of Winterbourne senior away only to have her die giving birth to his only daughter Melbury decides that to make amends he will pledge his daughter Grace to marry Winterbourne seniors only son Winterbourne Junior. This appears to be a good plot at first as the children are sweethearts however to make Grace into an asset as a wife Melbury sends her away to be privately educated.

Grace having finished her education returns to Little Hintock to find things not quite as she had been remembering them, her childhood home now appears small and humble and her childhood sweetheart is a stranger she feels she has outgrown, instead she becomes fascinated with newcomer Dr Fitzpiers.

Add into the mix the beautiful and rich landowner Mrs Charmond upon whom the fate of all The Woodlanders rests and you have the perfect mix for a tragic story of misunderstanding, lust, love and life in the English countryside.

This book is not in my edition of 1001 books and so I guess it has been removed which is a decision I agree with as Hardy is better recognised with the inclusion of Tess. Jude and the Madding Crowd.

( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
I've never been too keen on Hardy (Far from the Madding Crowd was possibly the first book I didn't finish) but actually I quite enjoyed this. I can't say I was much surprised by any of the events and the ending was a little too twee and redemptive, but the description and the way that Hardy portrays the natural surroundings is very poignant and kept me interested. I was rooting for Giles and Grace all along and I am still uncertain about Fitzpiers but a good read and I think I may reassess my Hardy hatred. I loved Tess of the D'Urbervilles and maybe it's just that I attempted his other works when I was too young? Anyway, I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it but it was a good read and beautifully written, and as such deserves a place on the 1001 Books you must read before you die list. ( )
  sashinka | Jan 14, 2016 |
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy; (4 1/2*)

This is the eleventh novel by Thomas Hardy. He takes us to an obscure village in his mythical Wessex. The novel portrays the beautiful Grace Melbury, a lovely young lady spoiled and well educated by her parents, eager for glamour and disdainful of the boredom of woodland folk. Grace is courted by Giles Winterbourne, a local woodsman, but casts him aside to wed Dr. Edred Fitzpiers, the local doctor. The marriage turns out poorly for Grace as the doctor is a womanizer and quite ignores his wife.
Fitzpiers flees to the Continent while Grace seeks reconciliation with Winterborne. The couple hope to wed under a newly passed Parliamentary law dealing with the right of women to obtain a divorce.
However it all goes wrong. Accidents occur as chance and fortune always play a part in the Hardy world. The novel does end happily which is a rarity for Hardy.
Hardy knew the English countryside as it moved from spring to winter and describes it so beautifully that we come to know it as well. His description of nature is beautifully written. He also knew the south of England as it was moving from the rural nineteenth century to the modern world of the coming twentieth century.
This novel is one of the lesser known Hardy novels but it is well worth your time and attention. The story is well told with many interesting and exciting plot developments which will hold the attention of the reader.
I highly recommend it. ( )
  rainpebble | Jul 22, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Hardyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boumelha, PennyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kramer, DaleEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Not boskiestbow'r
When hearts are ill affin'd
Hath tree of pow'r
To shelter from the wind?"
Dedication
First words
The rambler who, for old association's sake, should trace the forsaken coach-road running almost in a meridional line from Bristol to the south shore of England, would find himself during the latter half of his journey in the vicinity of some extensive woodlands, interspersed with apple-orchards.
In the chronology of Thomas Hardy's fiction The Woodlanders (1887) comes between The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) and Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891). (Introduction)
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Book description
When country-girl Grace Melbury returns home from her middle-class school she feels she has risen above her suitor, the simple woodsman Giles Winterborne. Though marriage had been discussed between her and Giles, Grace finds herself captivated by Dr. Edred Fitzpiers, a sophisticated newcomer to the area - a relationship that is encouraged by her socially ambitious father. Hardy's novel of betrayal, disillusionment and moral compromise depicts a secluded community coming to terms with the disastrous impact of outside influences. And in his portrayal of Giles Winterborne, Hardy shows a man who responds deeply to the forces of the natural world, though they ultimately betray him.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140435476, Paperback)

When country-girl Grace Melbury returns home from her middle-class school she feels she has risen above her suitor, the simple woodsman Giles Winterborne. Though marriage had been discussed between her and Giles, Grace finds herself captivated by Dr. Edred Fitzpiers, a sophisticated newcomer to the area - a relationship that is encouraged by her socially ambitious father. Hardy's novel of betrayal, disillusionment and moral compromise depicts a secluded community coming to terms with the disastrous impact of outside influences. And in his portrayal of Giles Winterborne, Hardy shows a man who responds deeply to the forces of the natural world, thought they ultimately betray him.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:21 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Love, & the erratic heart, are at the centre of Hardy's 'woodland story'. The romantic entanglements of Giles Winterborne, Grace Melbury, the dissolute Edred Fitzpiers & the wealthy Felice Charmond are bound up with issues of class & social status as they make their marital choices.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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