I mentioned a week or so ago that I was in the process of reading the remaining four novels written by Thomas Hardy that I'd not gotten to before. Hardy wrote fourteen novels over the period from 1871 through 1897. Actually, his very first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady was completed in 1868, but was never published. Hardy's first published novel was Desperate Remedies in 1871. His last novel was The Well-Beloved and was published in 1897. Of Hardy's fourteen published novels, I had read all but the following: Desperate Remedies, The Hand of Ethelberta, A Laodicean, and The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved & The Well-Beloved. So, I ordered the the Penguin Classics editions of these four 'neglected', or 'minor', Hardy novels and started reading.
While, after finishing all four books, I can say that it is my opinion that none of these novels quite rise to the level of Hardy's best work, i.e., Far From the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, The Woodlanders, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, or Jude the Obscure. Oh, they are each quite good, well written, and have engaging plots. Interestingly, at least to me, they are quite different from one another too.
So, if you're looking for something new to read; something maybe a bit off of the beaten path and not typically read by the masses, I urge you to seek out these three rather neglected novels of Thomas Hardy (and please do throw Hardy's Two on a Tower onto the pile too). Pull up a chair next to the window or on your porch or veranda, pour yourself a cup of nice tea, and allow yourself to enter the world of Hardy's Wessex and Victorian England. You won't be sorry, I promise. If you read one or more of 'em, do drop me a note and let me know what you thought of the book(s).