Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Pair of Blue Eyes review

Here's my brief Goodreads review. Much as I enjoyed this (boy, it was good to read a classic again! I think I must have been beginning to suffer 19th-century-lit withdrawal symptoms, whatever those might be), I am now going to have to read some frothy, happy romance to counterbalance this anything-but frothy and happy romance.


A Pair of Blue Eyes (Oxford World's Classics)A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first Hardy novel. . . my first venture into Wessex. I don't think it will be my last.

I've just this minute finished reading it, so excuse my rambling, fragmented "review".

-Beautifully written, and quite a fast, easy read for a 19th century novel, though there were a couple of slower points. However, in each instance the narrative quickly regained pace.

-Relatively brief yet very evocative descriptions of nature.

-VERY well-drawn characters, that truly come to life in the reader's imagination.

-Surely few authors can rival Hardy in instilling a sense of impending doom in the pages of their books!

I was torn as to whether to give this 3 or 4 stars. 4 stars for the writing and characters; 3 stars for the story. One aspect of the story in particular could hardly avoid being extremely frustrating for the modern reader, and everything inevitably ends in tragedy.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this. I second the petition for Andrew Davies and the BBC to make this into a TV miniseries!!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On writing romances

Woman Writing a Letter, by Gerard ter Borch

‘You should write a novel. The regular resource of people who don’t go enough into the world to live a novel is to write one.'

‘I have done it,' said Elfride, looking dubiously at Mrs. Swancourt, as if in doubt whether she would meet with ridicule there.

‘That’s right. Now, then, what is it about, dear?'

‘About—well, it is a romance of the Middle Ages.'

‘Knowing nothing of the present age, which everybody knows about, for safety you chose an age known neither to you nor other people. That’s it, eh? No, no; I don’t mean it, dear.'

~Thomas Hardy, A Pair of Blue Eyes


I laughed when I read that. It is a very accurate summary of my own novel-writing adventures, I am ashamed to say. And Mrs. Swancourt! Who would have thought to find such an Austenian/Heyer-esque character in a Thomas Hardy book! Then again, she might turn out to be a "baddie" - I've only just met her character.

A Pair of Blue Eyes is my first Hardy novel, and I'm quite enjoying it - so far. I might have to take back my words on Thomas Hardy.