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The Woodlanders is a novel by English author Thomas Hardy, first published in 1887. Set in a small woodland village called Little Hintock, it tells the story of a young woman named Grace Melbury, who returns to her hometown after being educated in a boarding school. She is torn between two men: her childhood sweetheart, Giles Winterborne, who is a simple but honest woodsman, and Edred Fitzpiers, a doctor who has moved to the village and is ambitious to climb the social ladder. As Grace tries to make up her mind between the two men, she has to navigate the complex social structure of the village, as well as dealing with the fact that both men have other admirers. The publication of The Woodlanders marked a turning point for Thomas Hardy's novels, as it stirred up controversy due to its exploration of sexuality, including topics like marriage, divorce, fidelity, and unconventional plotlines that sometimes led to seemingly immoral conclusions. This portrayal of sexual morality earned Hardy the label of being part of the 'Anti-marriage league.' The novel also highlights the hypocrisy and double standards surrounding sexual morality.
This book has 135,931 words, 242 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1887.
Production notes: This ebook of The Woodlanders was published by Global Grey in 2019, and updated on the 20th April 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'The Vale of Dedham' by John Constable.