Synopsis from Amazon:
Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in Wessex, Hardy’s novel of swiftpassion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.
I found this book slow at the beginning, and in all honesty I did consider giving up on it. However, I am glad I didn’t. I enjoyed it once I felt it got going! This is the first Hardy book I’ve read and my goodness, he definitely has a way with words! His descriptions were capturing, although sometimes maybe a little long winded!
As for the story and characters, well I wasn’t a fan of Bathsheba. I admired her independence, but she seemed thoughtless and manipulative. At the end I did find myself feeling a bit sorry for her with the whole Troy shabang, and the Baldwood ordeal, but for the most part I felt a lot of what happened to her was the repercussion of her own actions.
Oak however, he I did like. He was strong and silent, and he was there when he was needed. He seemed selfless and just a gentle, ideal man. It was interesting how Hardy introduced him first, even though the story followed Bathsheba. I think this shows the significance of his character and actually made me like him instantly. First impressions were definitely key in this book.
The story, well predictible for the most part, but that didn’t spoil the story. Every question I had throughout the book was answered and I was satisfied at the end. I think it was quite radical, with Bathsheba taking on the roles she did, most unusual for the time. That aspect gave the book a little more depth.
Overall, a good read.