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Desperate Remedies (1871)

by Thomas Hardy

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4621337,590 (3.58)45
'She was swayed into emotional opinions concerning the strange man before her; new impulses of thought...entered into her with a gnawing thrill.'Hardy's first published work, Desperate Remedies moves the sensation novel into new territory. The anti-hero, Aeneas Manston, as physically alluring as he is evil, even fascinates the innocent Cytherea, though she is in love with another man. When he cannot seduce her, Manston resorts to deception,blackmail, bigamy, murder, and rape. Yet this compelling story also raises the great questions underlying Hardy's major novels, which relate to the injustice of the class system, the treatment of women, probability and causality. This edition shows for the first time that the sensation novel wasalways Hardy's natural medium.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
“Desperate Remedies” differs greatly from all other works by Thomas Hardy. This is his attempt at "the sensational novel", and I for one feel he succeeds well.

While Hardy’s genius isn’t at its greatest here, he still delivers a quality narrative with plenty of engaging scenes and an interesting plot. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Mar 22, 2018 |
Hardy's first novel, typical of him for the descriptions of the countryside and weather and love entanglements, but unusual in that it developes into a mystery with an increasingly fiendish villain.

But within the story Hardy sheds light on the social and economic horrors of the day. He sympathetically portrays the plight of Cytheria, whose only option is to become a lady's companion, dependent upon an eccentric employer, and then forced into marriage when illness threatens destitution for her brother. ( )
  LARA335 | Feb 13, 2017 |
A late 1800's English countryside romance of sorts that is chock-full of curious mysteries that kept me in the dark until clarified at the end. And this book has deceit, death, bigamy, murder, suicide, and of course, the big country manor house. Slightly convoluted with a full slate of remarkable coincidences, but interesting enough that i was eager for the end to answer all my questions. Better than i expected. ( )
  jeffome | Oct 29, 2014 |
I have joined a Thomas Hardy reading group and this is the first book we have read because it was the first one he published. In form it is somewhat like Woman in White by Wilkie Collins rather than Hardy's better known books which are character studies more than anything. The last third of the book really picks up and became quite a page-turner.

Cytherea Graye goes to be a maid/companion to Miss Aldclyffe. When Miss Aldclyffe was young she had met and was loved by Miss Graye's father but, for unknown reasons, she had refused his offer to marry. Shortly after Cytherea arrives at Knapwater House, Miss Aldclyffe's father dies leaving Miss Aldclyffe in possession of a considerable estate. She hires a steward named Manston and is anxious for Cytherea and Manston to marry. Cytherea though has fallen in love with Edward Springrove, a colleague of her architect brother. The Springroves are tenants of Miss Aldclyffe's and Cytherea learns that Edward is engaged to his cousin. She then takes Manston more seriously. However, Manston is not a single man and his wife turns up one evening. Then, during a fire, the wife disappears and is deemed to have died in the fire. So the way appears clear for Cytherea and Manston to marry. And that's when it starts getting interesting.

Unlike a lot of Hardy, there is a happy ending so keep reading. ( )
  gypsysmom | Nov 23, 2011 |
Kindle - Hardy Collection

His first book, and so first in Ali's reading challenge book group reads. A real pot-boiler with hidden wives and lost letters, reminiscent of "The Woman in White" and the racier Francis Brett Youngs, and with distinct touches of the Gothic. But it does also iinclude some lovely descriptive and nature writing that we'll see blossom later on. ( )
  LyzzyBee | Jul 17, 2011 |
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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