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The Woodlanders - By Thomas Hardy. The Woodlanders is a novel by Thomas Hardy. It was serialised from May 1886 to April 1887 in Macmillan's Magazine and published in three volumes in 1887. It is one of his series of Wessex novels. The story takes place in a small woodland village called Little Hintock, and concerns the efforts of an honest woodsman, Giles Winterborne, to marry his childhood sweetheart, Grace Melbury. Although they have been informally betrothed for some time, her father has made financial sacrifices to give his adored only child a superior education and no longer considers Giles good enough for her. When the new doctor – a well-born and handsome young man named Edred Fitzpiers – takes an interest in Grace, her father does all he can to make Grace forget Giles, and to encourage what he sees as a brilliant match. Grace has more awe than love for Fitzpiers, but marries him nonetheless. After the honeymoon, the couple take up residence in an unused wing of Melbury's house. Soon, however, Fitzpiers begins an affair with a rich widow named Mrs. Charmond, takes to treating Grace coldly, and finally deserts her one night after he accidentally reveals his true character to his father-in-law. Melbury tries to procure a divorce for his daughter so she can marry Giles after all, but in vain. When Fitzpiers quarrels with Mrs. Charmond and returns to Little Hintock to try to reconcile with his wife, she flees the house and turns to Giles for help. He is still convalescing from a dangerous illness, but nobly allows her to sleep in his hut during stormy weather, whilst he insists on sleeping outside. As a result, he dies. Grace later allows herself to be won back to the at least temporarily repentant Fitzpiers, thus sealing her fate as the wife of an unworthy man. No one is left to mourn Giles except a courageous peasant girl named Marty South, who all along has been the overlooked but perfect mate for him, and who has always loved him.
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“Hardy’s novels are full of love for places and pity for people. If they are to be read aloud, then these things must be felt within the voice of the reader. I find them in Rufus Sewell’s voice… Sewell speaks to the inner ear and with the characters’
talk heard as part of the story; their speech is differentiated, but only as far as is necessary and natural.”
Grace Melbury, the only daughter of a timber-merchant, arrives home in Little Hintock after an expensive education and her father looks to find a husband for her. There are two rivals for her hand: Giles Winterborne, a good-hearted yeoman and her childhood sweetheart, and Edred Fitzpiers, an ambitious young doctor of good family. Fitzpiers wins her, but the mismatch brings unhappiness not just to the young couple, but to a wider circle in the woodland community.
'The Woodlanders' is one of Hardy’s most powerful works and the one he liked best. With brooding sexual undertones, it addresses themes about which the author held strong views – the laws of divorce, the inequalities of society, and the uncertainty of land tenure.
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Book Description Createspace Independent Pub, 2014. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 350 pages. 10.00x7.00x0.79 inches. This item is printed on demand. Seller Inventory # zk1495926753