Thomas Hardy

The Woodlanders

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The Woodlanders (1887) is a novel by Thomas Hardy. An honest woodsman wants to marry his childhood sweetheart, Grace. Although they have been informally betrothed for some time, her father has made financial sacrifices to give his adored only child a superior education and no longer considers him good enough for her. When the new doctor—a well-born and handsome young man takes an interest in her, her father does all he can to make her forget the woodsman, and to encourage what he sees as a brilliant match. Against her better instinct she marries the doctor, who soon begins an affair with a rich widow. The affair gets discovered. The couple becomes progressively more estranged and the man is assaulted by his father-in-law after he accidentally reveals his true character to him, so he deserts to Europe with the widow. Grace realizes that she has only ever really loved the woodsman but as there is no possibility of divorce, she feels that her love seems hopeless…
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