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Top Tier (4 to 5 stars)

Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy

5 stars

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (Goodreads Synopsis Link)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


They say all good tropes have a literary ancestry. I recall reading this quintessential “innocent country girl falls for philandering bad boy” story/trope years ago.



Bathsheba Everdene was a (nowadays “badass”) country girl who inherited her late uncle’s farm and made it thrive, with the help of Gabriel Oak. Gabriel has always loved Bathsheba, but the strong-willed Bathsheba rejects his marriage proposal. Indeed, she rejects all potential suitors – until she is bedazzled by the handsome (but secretly nefarious!) Sergeant Francis Troy.



After a whirlwind courtship, the two are married and Bathsheba begins to repent in leisure, as the saying goes, slowly realizing that Francis Troy is nowhere near half the man that Gabriel Oak is.



Things go from bad to worse when Troy’s former lover seeks him out (see, love triangles existed even in literary fiction!) Troy is heartbroken by his former lover’s death, disappears and is presumed dead.



But Bathsheba is never short of a love triangle: her older neighbour, Mr. Boldwood, is also in love with her and pesters her to marry him as well. (Poor girl can barely set foot out the door without someone harassing her to marry him!) Suffice it to say that things do not end well with poor Mr. Boldwood’s suit. It becomes a nail-biting melodrama at this point!



Okay: seriously now: the 1998 Masterpiece Theater production, starring Paloma Baeza and Nathanial Parker is my favourite (and most faithful) movie adaptation, followed by the 1967 Julie Christie/Alan Bates version. Paloma Baeza nailed the role of Bathsheba – not even Julie Christie’s performance could touch this one. Nathanial Parker – especially that very last scene! – just stole my heart! A truly excellent adaptation, which you can watch on Youtube here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPPY9…



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