The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
With an Introduction and Notes by Phillip Mallett, Senior Lecturer in English, University of St Andrews.
Educated beyond her station, Grace Melbury returns to the woodland village of little Hintock and cannot marry her intended, Giles Winterborne. Her alternative choice proves disastrous, and in a moving tale that has vibrant characters, many humorous moments and genuine pathos coupled with tragic irony, Hardy eschews a happy ending.
With characteristic derision, he exposes the cruel indifference of the archaic legal system off his day, and shows the tragic consequences of untimely adherence to futile social and religious proprieties