"Far from the Madding Crowd" was Thomas Hardy's first major literary success. 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 the fictional county of Wessex, Hardy's novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.
Thomas Hardy's tragic vision of a love struggling to overcome prejudice and rejection, "The Return of the Native". Against the lowering background of Egdon Heath, fiery Eustacia Vye passes her days, wishing only for passionate love. She believes that her escape from Egdon lies in marriage to Clym Yeobright, home from Paris and discontented with his work there. But Clym wishes to return to the Egdon community; a desire which sets him in opposition to his wife and brings them both to despair.