Under the Greenwood Tree (2005)

under the greenwood tree

Under The Greenwood Tree was the first of Hardy’s great Wessex novels. Part love story, part comedy, the tale evokes the richness of village life tinged with melancholy for a rural world that Hardy saw fast disappearing.

Amongst the surrounding farms and woodlands of the idyllic village of Mellstock, Dorset, a bond grows between local boy Dick Dewy and a new arrival, the beautiful schoolteacher Fancy Day. The Reverend Maybold creates a furor among the village’s musicians with his decision to abolish the church’s stringed instruments choir and replace it with a new mechanical organ. But Miss Day causes an upheaval of a more romantic nature, as she steals the hearts of three very different men — the wealthy but older Farmer Shiner, the penniless young laborer and musician Dick Dewy, and the Reverend Maybold himself.

Through a maze of intrigue and passion across four seasons, Fancy is torn; she must make a decision of either head or heart. Will true love win out or will the social traditions of Victorian England determine Fancy’s future? Meanwhile, the men’s choir is restless and in open revolt about the new organ, spurred by their choirmaster, Reuben Dewy, who is Dick’s father.

Period drama, starring Keeley Hawes, James Murray, Steve Pemberton, Ben Miles and Tony Haygarth.

I appreciated this romance and I was glad that this story ended well. I have to say that I was traumatized by the ends of Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. So now I know I can read a happy story by Thomas Hardy. I’m looking forward to do so.

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