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Extended Audio Sample Tess of the d’Urbervilles Audiobook, by Thomas Hardy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.77634020618557 out of 53.77634020618557 out of 53.77634020618557 out of 53.77634020618557 out of 53.77634020618557 out of 5 3.78 (194 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Thomas Hardy Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2008 ISBN: 9781400176991
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One novel frequently assigned to high school and college students is "Tess of the D'Urbervilles." The classic novel is frequently referenced on various assessments such as the Advanced Placement English Literature Exams, International Baccalaureate exams and SAT essays. Being knowledgable about the novel provides rich material for students seeking to raise their scores on these tests.

In this Victorian British novel, the heroine is a young woman from Marlott in what Hardy calls Wessex country. This area of England is today's Dorset. Tess, a beautiful, adolescent girl just coming into young womanhood, possesses a natural sensuality mixed with a trusting innocence of the opposite sex.

Her father, the plain, simple and somewhat impoverished John Durbeyfield learns from a dusty peddler who passes him on the lane that he is a direct descendant of a noble family by the name of D'Urberville, Perhaps Durbeyfield would have let this newly found knowledge pass by were it not for his wife, Joan, who insists upon sending the lovely Tess to visit the D'Urbervilles, who live quite a distance away, to visit and establish a kinship.

Tess is reluctant, but her mother, who must stay home and care for her many younger children, is insistent, and Tess wants to please her mother.

What follows is a tale which, in essence, becomes ancient Greek tragedy retold in the Victorian novel. As a representative of an economically deprived and decaying ancestral family, Tess is now a member of a lower social class rejected by the aristocracy of the time. That once-noble family, like many other ancestral families of the time, has given way to social and moral decay.

The resulting story follows Tess as she goes through her life facing one hurdle after another, with each situation becoming more hopeless than the next, all brought on by that one moment in time when Tess and her parents found out they were born into a noble family.

Such is the writing of Thomas Hardy, one of the greatest English writers of all time.

Hardy was born in Dorset near Dorchester in the mid-1800s. At first he was an apprenticed architect, but he began writing in his early 20s and moved to London. He became a prolific writer, widely considered ahead of his time, and much criticized for his overly graphic, even "lewd" scenes, tame by our modern standards.

Some of his important novels were "Far from the Madding Crowd," "The Return of the Native" and "The Mayor of Casterbridge." His greatest work, according to critics, was "Tess of the D'Urbervilles." He later turned to writing poetry, a genre in which he greatly excelled.

Young Tess Durbeyfield attempts to restore her family’s fortunes by claiming their connection with the aristocratic d’Urbervilles. But Alec d’Urberville is a rich wastrel who seduces her and makes her life miserable. When Tess meets Angel Clare, she is offered true love and happiness, but her past catches up with her and she faces an agonizing moral choice.

Thomas Hardy’s indictment of society’s double standards, and his depiction of Tess as “a pure woman,” caused controversy in his day and has held the imagination of readers ever since. Hardy thought it his finest novel and Tess the most deeply felt character he ever created.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The greatest tragic writer among English novelists.”

    Virginia Woolf, praise for the author

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea | 7/27/2016

    " I can't wait for the other installment of Grey. I love this whole series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rohan Maitzen | 2/18/2014

    " This re-reading has reminded me why I've avoided Tess for about a decade: I find it absolutely maddening! Or, more to the point, I find her absolutely maddening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl Jones | 2/15/2014

    " I'm not crazy about the ending but the book was beautifully written. . Overall a good reading experience "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Helen | 2/14/2014

    " Have read this five or six times now, always hoping the ending will turn out differently! I love Hardy's beautifully descriptive writing and his well observed characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deborah | 2/10/2014

    " A beautiful love story. One of my top 5 books of all time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny Housley | 2/10/2014

    " One of the most miserable books I have ever read but oh so good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tyler Martinez | 2/9/2014

    " I really liked the story, but, like so many classics, is so hard to understand and follow along because of the dialogue "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Isobel | 2/8/2014

    " it was quite good i think. i'm not good at rating out of 5. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tamekag | 2/8/2014

    " I hate books about stupid people who make stupid decisions. I couldn't understand Tess' failure to extricate herself from an ever-worsening situation, so I couldn't sympathize with her. Ultimately, the tragedy was that she didn't return home much earlier. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie Burles | 2/5/2014

    " I have to admit I stopped reading this because it was so sad and now I can't get back into it. Plus, I have a ton of other reading to do. I really liked the writing though so I'll definitly come back to it one day! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James Eckblad | 2/4/2014

    " One of my favorite novels. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Glesni | 1/31/2014

    " I just couldn't finish this book, i had to force myself to carry on reading to see what happened at the end; but then i just decided i couldn't go on. in my opinion it was boring and i'm quite surprised because i liked Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. maybe will try and give this book another chance some other time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susana | 1/31/2014

    " I think the story itself was okay, the metaphors and the idea behind it was something to uphold, but its writing didn't do justice to the story. It was too dense, too dull for me. It's not something I recommend to read to pass the time. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Angie3950gmail.com | 1/30/2014

    " I cannot even express how much I hated this book and how angry it made me. I will never read another Thomas Hardy novel again . . . like, EVER. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wency Brown | 1/30/2014

    " I just wished it would have ended another way.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan Madison | 1/28/2014

    " God, Hardy, how could you do this at the end? I was so... mad, yes! Poor Tess, though I think she wasn't quite herself when she got rid of Alec at last. And Angel... I can't find the words to describe his idiocy. Somebody should have kicked some sense into that boy, he clearly deserved it. But all in all, this was a good novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Delia | 1/27/2014

    " I am so glad I chose to read this book. I thought I had read it before, possibly while at university, but I don't think I did. Hardy's writing is more accessible than some of his contemporaries and his descriptions are lovely. The story is timeless, and (potential spoiler alert) a true tragedy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie Bonetti | 1/27/2014

    " Honestly I liked this book. It was a pretty slow read and a little excessively detailed, but overall I thought the premise was good, and the ending was not what I had expected after reading the summary on the back cover. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nathan Opp | 1/27/2014

    " There was a little bit of an over the top quality to the novel that I found boring. The story was interesting in the context of Victorian writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 1/26/2014

    " Wow, I have such mixed feelings about this book. The writing is so beautiful. Every word seemed to be so carefully chosen by the author. If I had written just one paragraph such as in this book, I would have felt like I had accomplished something incredibly great. The story itself is very disturbing. The men in this book are maddening. It is a tragedy that compares with great Shakespearean tragedies. One very annoying thing is the introduction to this book. It gives away the entire plot and so it was kind of spoiled for me. Now I know not to even look at an introduction until finishing the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara | 1/25/2014

    " Absolutely beautiful. The characters are perfect, the story is heartbreaking and enchanting, this is my favorite book of all time. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gloriavirtutisumbra | 1/23/2014

    " Hardy really must have hated the majority of characters he wrote... he keeps tossing all of them under the bus. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 S. B. | 1/23/2014

    " Read this years agou as part of a college lit class. Though I enjoyed it at the time, it didn't inspire me to want to read more Hardy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah Atkin | 1/22/2014

    " I'm not really a Hardy fan- too much lengthy description and gloomy tragedy! Tess is one of the wettest heroines you are likely to encounter! For God's sake, girl! Get a grip !!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Edward Wakefield | 1/18/2014

    " One of my favourite writers of the English countryside and it's deep, sensuous life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry | 1/18/2014

    " This is one of the most harrowing tales I ever read. It is the story of Tess Durberville & her life with its ups & downs. She should inspire all women as she experiences dreadful things on her journey yet deals with them as only a strong woman can. A true heroine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Saikhnaa Ch | 1/18/2014

    " So sad. I even cried near the end. Poor Tess' soul! One of the best I've read among the British classics I've read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carla | 1/16/2014

    " I loved this book even though it was so very sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tammy Rockvam | 1/16/2014

    " Interesting ending...not what I was expecting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca White | 1/15/2014

    " This was a fantastic book. I wish it could have had a happier ending, however! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sabrina | 1/15/2014

    " I very much enjoyed this book although at times Tess aggravated me. Too proud to claim what is rightfully hers, she leads herself from one miserable situation into another. Nevertheless, a good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sonia | 1/15/2014

    " The book has its moments, especially in the beginning. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alisha | 1/12/2014

    " Don't read this when you're insecure about your relationships! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janina | 1/12/2014

    " I am in love with this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen Mccallion addesso | 1/11/2014

    " Excellent writing, sad story, disappointing ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nisa | 1/10/2014

    " Well written!!! But oh so depressing!!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tamara | 1/8/2014

    " My view may change after I give this book another chance. Maybe I am just not used to this style of writing. The fact that I will continue to read this book is solely due to the abundance of favorable reviews on here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andie | 1/5/2014

    " amazing writing, but Tess's life makes Precious's look bearable "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 1/4/2014

    " Ugh, loved it and hated it at the same time... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janny | 1/2/2014

    " What else to do but read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel Jacobson | 1/2/2014

    " loved reading this book in high school for an English class. Need to read it again! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deborah Caldicott | 12/29/2013

    " Hard to get into, but worth it once you do. The second half is riveting, though in many ways frustrating and heart-wrenching. Good! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 12/29/2013

    " I wanted to like it - a college professor friend recommended the title whole heartedly - I wanted to like it. I just couldn't get going after the first chapter I lost interest, but perhaps I'll pick it up again and find that wonderful story further along in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noel | 12/29/2013

    " Thomas Hardy depresses the Hell out of me. Angel Clare is such a wet noodle! What more can I say? Brilliant writing, though... Angel Clare is such a wet noodle! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 anaïs mathers | 12/25/2013

    " one of my favorite books. have more thoughts. placeholder review. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janny | 12/24/2013

    " What else to do but read "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hannah Gardner | 12/23/2013

    " Not my favorite book that's for sure. I'm also not sorry that I read it. I would not urge anyone to read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mallory B | 12/20/2013

    " After reading this novel for the second time, I was unable to function for an entire week. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lesley Ingham | 12/18/2013

    " Obligatory read at school. Sigh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellie | 12/12/2013

    " very sad, but I found it strangely endearing in certain places "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Monique | 12/12/2013

    " I enjoyed the story though I would have liked more joy for poor Tess. I was however at times bored with the lengthy descriptive narratives. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keely | 12/11/2013

    " One of my personal favorite books... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 12/7/2013

    " Love it but a sad ending. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lizz | 12/7/2013

    " Kind of a slow read with out of date imagery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 12/6/2013

    " Not much actually happens, but it's described really beautifully. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane Murphy | 12/4/2013

    " Was there ever anyone as misfortunate as Tess? Dilemma after dilemma! I enjoyed the book more now, than I did when I was in high school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Madeleine | 12/4/2013

    " It's definately not a fast read, but Tess of the D'urbervilles is really a wonderful book. I totally recomend it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leila | 12/3/2013

    " It made want to cry for Tess, her life was so tragic... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Skyelr | 12/3/2013

    " I had to read this book in school. I didn't like it. Not enough guns or adventure for my taste. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy B | 12/2/2013

    " I read this book years ago and it is one of my favorite Hardy novels, despite its bleakness. My dad prefers some of his other works, but at the I read this, the tragedy of it appealed to me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Richard Bush | 12/2/2013

    " I hate this book with a vengeance! There is nothing wrong with the writing, in fact it is very well written. The characters are strong and believable. No! I hate it because it is so unrelentingly depressing!!!!! If you enjoy being depressed then go for it. Otherwise avoid! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erica | 12/1/2013

    " An incredible story. Very well written. The characters have amazing depth. I loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trudie Davidson | 12/1/2013

    " One of my favourite heroines! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia Oclander | 11/29/2013

    " It was supposed to have a happy ending. Instead, it broke my heart. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carla | 11/25/2013

    " I loved this book even though it was so very sad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kyra | 11/25/2013

    " This book was good to a point. The ending was horrible. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelli Scimeca | 11/21/2013

    " Definitely in my top five books! Emotional and tragic, but so moving! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hannah Gardner | 11/17/2013

    " Not my favorite book that's for sure. I'm also not sorry that I read it. I would not urge anyone to read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wade | 11/14/2013

    " Good book, I could tell that it was written a long time ago. Also thought the author was really descriptive on some things that weren't all that important. The last few chapters didn't go how I expected them to go, and I liked the surprise, even though it was kinda sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caity | 11/5/2013

    " Illustrates the double standards between men and women back in the day. Is it so very different now? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 10/3/2013

    " Thomas Hardy had a pessimistic view of the world and this novel reflects that attitude. The characters are wonderful, however, and I love this book for a glimpse of what life was like in England in the mid 19 th century. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Gerard | 9/15/2013

    " A much deserved five stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 9/14/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. It raised a lot of discussion about class inequality and gender differences. Many themes persist in our modern ear. The tragedy of Tess' naivite, her family's ill luck, and her idealism was gripping. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nisa | 8/29/2013

    " Well written!!! But oh so depressing!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 8/26/2013

    " Kept me turning the pages, but the men were both jerks and the girl was pretty stupid and a little one-dimensional. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marjorie | 8/12/2013

    " Not what I thought, but I liked it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susana | 7/26/2013

    " I think the story itself was okay, the metaphors and the idea behind it was something to uphold, but its writing didn't do justice to the story. It was too dense, too dull for me. It's not something I recommend to read to pass the time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Olivia Mainville | 7/23/2013

    " Loved the setting, and the struggle between natural instincts and morality that opposes it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashlie | 7/19/2013

    " I am definitely glad I read this, despite many chapters of horrible sadness. I did really enjoy the author's recurring use of themes and analysis of the morals of Society versus Nature at that time period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fazzyla | 7/8/2013

    " Another of my A level literature text. while my classmates scorned upon the protagonist, i always had a soft spot for her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sabrina | 6/18/2013

    " I very much enjoyed this book although at times Tess aggravated me. Too proud to claim what is rightfully hers, she leads herself from one miserable situation into another. Nevertheless, a good book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allison | 6/12/2013

    " Such a heartbreaking story. Hardy's writing and subtle moral code that was woven into the story was haunting. I constantly found myself questioning my own ideals and found them strengthened in many ways by this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 6/7/2013

    " A tragic, passionate story about a young woman in Dorset, England in the late 1800s. Never having read other works by Thomas Hardy, I was blown away by his unconventional observations on psychology, religion and society. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lena Hails | 6/5/2013

    " Worth the read due to its fame and it's author. Frustratingly descriptive at times, and some of the old English is inaccessible. Nevertheless it clearly has had an influence on modern times and a is a part of literary heritage. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate Kochetova | 6/3/2013

    " One of the greatest books I've ever read in my life "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deborah Caldicott | 6/2/2013

    " Hard to get into, but worth it once you do. The second half is riveting, though in many ways frustrating and heart-wrenching. Good! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy B | 5/7/2013

    " I read this book years ago and it is one of my favorite Hardy novels, despite its bleakness. My dad prefers some of his other works, but at the I read this, the tragedy of it appealed to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn Steckley | 3/12/2013

    " I did my final paper for high school on this book. I loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina Micola | 2/1/2013

    " Just re-read this one. This book in particular played in an important part of my life. Ah, nostalgia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven Walle | 1/19/2013

    " I enjoyed this book emmensly. It was a fun read. Great charictor development and a good story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yvonne Carter | 1/10/2013

    " A Thomas Hardy classic. Great story, and characters "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carmen Emma | 1/5/2013

    " This was quite the tragedy. Not written in an angsty sort of way though. It had enough emotion to keep you curious and enough life story to keep you from turning away. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 12/31/2012

    " So good one of those books you can't get out of your mind after you finished. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherrie | 12/13/2012

    " What a sad story--women have less of a problem with this type of prejudice today, but it is not eradicated. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikki Duplantier | 12/5/2012

    " This book was amazing and Hardy's use of prose made it worth while. The book, unlike many, ends in tragedy but is amazing all on its own. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tyler Martinez | 10/4/2012

    " I really liked the story, but, like so many classics, is so hard to understand and follow along because of the dialogue "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharron Thomas | 9/21/2012

    " Gotta love the old classics. Always well written and teach good life lessons. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Faye | 6/22/2012

    " Thomas Hardy was a poet, and his prose is luminous. I don't think they write that way anymore! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kirsty MacLennan | 5/10/2012

    " Way to break my heart :'( "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Juli | 5/3/2012

    " this book was so sad. Tess' only advantage. in life deceived her. society was cruel to her. she lived her life with integrity, and she was still treated with no respect. I am so angry with Angel. he was blinded by his embedded Calvinistic views, the very views he scoffed. he was a hypocrite. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mallory B | 5/1/2012

    " After reading this novel for the second time, I was unable to function for an entire week. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jo Upton | 4/10/2012

    " Depressing, am NOT a Hardy fan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mari | 3/22/2012

    " One of my favorite books of all time. I read this when I was 15, made me a Thomas Hardy fan - did my senior thesis on him. Haven't read him in years but seeing his books listed by another reading buddy makes me think I need to go back and reopen the covers of his works. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick | 2/6/2012

    " My second read of this book brought even more insights into the characters involved in the story/tragedy. I still consider Thomas Hardy the finest of story tellers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikki Duplantier | 2/2/2012

    " This book was amazing and Hardy's use of prose made it worth while. The book, unlike many, ends in tragedy but is amazing all on its own. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rohan Maitzen | 1/31/2012

    " This re-reading has reminded me why I've avoided Tess for about a decade: I find it absolutely maddening! Or, more to the point, I find her absolutely maddening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/30/2012

    " I enjoyed this book....lots of tragedy, but hope, as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicki | 1/18/2012

    " Loved it! One of my favourite books ever! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cath Beard | 11/28/2011

    " I very very nearly wrote my MA on Mr Hardy. He writes such wonderfully subversive pastorals and strong, strong women. Tess contains some of the most important scenes in English Literature- the forcing of the berry through the lips and the spread of the red stain, for example.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jess Walsh | 11/11/2011

    " Forced to read this for my VCE Lit class, I have since realized that I should be very thankful for it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Monique | 11/5/2011

    " I enjoyed the story though I would have liked more joy for poor Tess. I was however at times bored with the lengthy descriptive narratives. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karla | 9/20/2011

    " Not my kind of book i guess, it failed to engage me so it was hard for me to read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ainomaija | 9/15/2011

    " A poetic telling of a tragic love story. A great classic to listen to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teng | 9/8/2011

    " Ughh...Tess drives me crazy. The only part that I really liked was when she stabbed him back. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carmine | 9/2/2011

    " Engrossing and yet maddening, in that Thos Hardy had a terrible habit of making his heroines pay for the unenlightened times they live in (and aren't they all?). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lenore | 8/15/2011

    " Hardy's sad story of Tess, trying to overcome- to be good and find love, only to be destined for other things.. Is a great read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 8/8/2011

    " I wanted to like it - a college professor friend recommended the title whole heartedly - I wanted to like it. I just couldn't get going after the first chapter I lost interest, but perhaps I'll pick it up again and find that wonderful story further along in the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mutmainna | 8/5/2011

    " Kind of sad, but shows the picture of the society of that time. Enjoyed reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Isobel | 6/2/2011

    " it was quite good i think. i'm not good at rating out of 5. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ishha | 5/20/2011

    " tess tess...!! its sad, true and motivating. its life. Slightly slow , but then its a classic . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clare | 5/17/2011

    " I went through a phase of reading anything I could get my hands on by Thomas Hardy (I was 17!). I still love this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 5/17/2011

    " I really enjoyed it! Though I ended up not liking Angel in the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 5/16/2011

    " This is my all time favourite book. It stayed with me for days after I had finished reading it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bridget | 5/16/2011

    " A lot of times when I have violent hatred for a novel I end up reading it again and loving it. I anticipate that this will be one such novel, but boy howdy did T. Hardy piss me off as a writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deepti | 5/12/2011

    " Supposedly Hardy's best book. Certainly the most touching and heart-wrenching. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Martianngray | 5/11/2011

    " This took me a while to get through. Tess I found to be a very frustrating character. I discussed it with a friend who studied this book for a class and she enjoyed it more than me. Maybe I needed to have a class that studied this book to really get more out of it..... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adil | 5/8/2011

    " Good in passages but it goes on a bit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tasneem | 5/7/2011

    " What can I say? It's Hardy's masterpiece! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 5/6/2011

    " I would kill Angel if I could. Hate hate hate hate HATE him! To death! Give me a knife someone! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caroline | 5/4/2011

    " One of the worst books I've ever read - a moralistic tale full of cliched characters that each stand for a different moral virtue (or sin.) There is nothing of substance to latch on to in the plot in order to feel invested in the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 4/30/2011

    " Read for the nth time last October... I never get tired of this book. It still comes across as sensational and action-packed - it must have seemed quite shocking when first published. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 jennifer | 4/28/2011

    " Make a mistake and you're screwed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 4/28/2011

    " This is the absolute best classic I have ever read. I am a senior in college as an english major and I plan on using this book as my thesis. "

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About the Author
Author Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), English poet, dramatist, and novelist, was born on the Egdon Heath in Dorset. He studied in Dorchester and apprenticed to an architect before leaving for London, where he began to write. Unable to find a public for his poetry, which idealized the rural life, he turned to the novel and met with success as well as controversy. The strong public reaction against some of his darker themes turned him back to writing verse. Today several of his novels are considered masterpieces of tragedy.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over forty Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.