Book Review: Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

by Krista

❥ This was a book gift from Canterbury Classics.


When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D’Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.


This book will surely be on my mind for years to come. It will take time for me to mull over all of the symbolism contained within. While this is not a happy story, it is a masterpiece that depicts misogyny during the Victorian era. First published in 1891, the book received harsh criticism because it challenged sexual morals. Indeed, it lays bare the sexual double standard that existed then—and arguably still exists—between men and women.

While I may not have enjoyed Tess’s character arc at face value, I found tremendous beauty and strength in her story. Although some may find Tess to be a hopeless and ignorant woman, I found her to be quite the opposite. Tess is very much a representation of the cycle of abuse a woman can easily fall into simply because she was born a woman.

This is a story that is both beautifully and tragically written. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, as well as anyone who likes to read about feminist themes.


“Beauty lay not in the thing, but in what the thing symbolized.”


This lovely book is from the Word Cloud Classics line by Canterbury Classics. I love the cover color, and those endpapers are just perfect!

*This post contains a PR product.

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