Eustacia Vye's great desire in life was to be loved to madness, and in this, one of Thomas Hardy's best-loved novels, one of his most superb female characters conducts her wild and lethal campaign against her rival - the innocent, rather conventional Thomas - against the backdrop of Egdon Heath, the equally wild and lethal Dorset moorland on which Hardy grew up.
When Hardy first published the book, it was greeted with both acclaim and outrage. The response to the unfashionably shocking initial ending meant that Hardy was forced to add the sixth and last book to create the happy outcome that the public demanded for the characters he'd persuaded them to mind so much about.
This being a book about desire, gratification and marvellous manipulation, he did, however, naturally give them a happy ending on his own terms....
Public Domain (P)2008 Silksoundbooks Limited
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