My third Hardy book which makes him my most read Victorian author I think. It’s not that I love him, but I keep being drawn to his books and not finding him irritating to read. I had heard good things about this one in particular. Nothing could be as tragic and as sad as Jude the Obscure. I liked Gabriel the character very much in this book. I thought there a few genuinely funny and romantic scenes in this novel. Bathsheba is naive young woman though; however beautiful and spirited she may be. For a woman who is independent and self-confident, she has no way of dealing with men. She always leads them on and it’s sad to watch her get entangled as is often the theme with the relationships and women in Hardy’s novels. I haven’t read Tess yet, but this is definitely my favourite Hardy novel of the three I have read so far. Having read both this, his first novel, and his last novel (Jude), I can appreciate Hardy’s progression as an author.