Far From the Madding Crowd. Finished 3-14-18, 4.25/5 stars, classic, pub. 1874
Unabridged audio read by Nathaniel Parker. 13 hours, 35 minutes
Gabriel Oak is only one of three suitors for the hand of the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene. He must compete with the dashing young soldier Sergeant Troy and the respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. And while their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she discovers the terrible consequences of an inconstant heart.
Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy’s novels to give the name Wessex to the landscape of southwest England and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist. Set against the backdrop of the unchanging natural cycle of the year, the story both upholds and questions rural values with a startlingly modern sensibility. from Goodreads
I watched the movie last year and really liked it. I’m going to do a comparison post in a few days so I’ll try not to compare the two now.
Bathsheba is a woman before her time. It’s 1800’s England and Bathsheba, once a young woman living with her aunt, becomes an independent woman when her late uncle leaves her his successful farm. She is a head strong woman and not the first one who has had her intelligence questioned by her terrible taste in men. Gabriel Oak knew her when she lived with her aunt and is steadfast and loyal. Mr. Boldwood owns a neighboring farm and was forever changed when he received a Valentine sent from Bathsheba. Sergeant Troy has his head turned by the pretty Bathsheba with her money. Bathsheba, at least at first, doesn’t want to marry and be put under a man’s thumb, but things change when her heart starts to beat a little faster.
I liked this classic. Being a city girl myself I loved learning more about the everyday life on the farm. Bathsheba and her one time maid, Fanny, both made the very same mistake but suffered very different fates due to their circumstances. I liked the way it showed the truth that opportunities don’t come to all and mistakes, when made, are more easily forgiven when you have money. Bathsheba did drive me crazy at times, but probably no more flawed than the rest of us. The three suitors were all interesting in their own right, but it is Gabriel Oak who is my new crush 🙂
This is my second Thomas Hardy novel and my 21st selection for the Classics Club and I have until January 1, 2020 to get to 50. I am woefully behind!