i have no idea why i was putting off reading a thomas hardy because, boy, did i enjoy this.
this book is filled with characters you love to hate, and thus the demise of anyone feels really righteous and deserved. i sound like a terrible person when i say that, but honestly most of the enjoyment of reading this novel for me came from the downfall of the main characters after everything they had put each other through. while loathesome and annoying, the main characters seem like caricatures but also very real at the same time. in modern contexts, i'm sure there are a lot of plots and stories that can follow eustacia's (is there a late 90's/early 00's movie based off of this because there should be). the plot moved along a little slowly at first, but once it picked up towards the second half, it was hard to put the book down.
highly recommend for an interesting story about the desire of escape and grandeur, and how we may make grave mistakes that cost us our happiness in our pursuit for them.