Well I got through the first part anyway. The first part is called "The Maid" and since it was written in the Victorian era, you just know that title doesn't have anything to do with scrubbing floors. Tess was so wishy washy! She was like a freshly caught fish flopping around in a boat, turning first this way and then that. Not that I'm any great fisherman, mind. I like the sitting in the boat part and the casting part, but I believe that the killing and the cleaning are best left to professionals. Anyway, Tess was sort of like that fish out of water, not fitting into her new situation. There are so many things she could have done to make it better! I know she was young and conflicted even before she got there, but she recognized a snake and didn't move away from it. She should have allowed the snake to inhabit his own territory while she went the other way. (Got kinda an animal thing going on here, don't I?)
I didn't feel like I got enough description from Hardy. There was a brief mention about Tess' living quarters when she moved but what was it like? What did it look like? Was it comfortable or simply tolerable? Reading Tess felt like an assignment, as if someone told me to elaborate on the symbolism. Symbolism schymbolism, why didn't she tell that woman the truth? It couldn't all have been about her "place" in society. Tess was educated. She must have learned about other people and other ways of life when she was in school.
I won't be finishing Tess, invoking rule #2.
The next book I'm reading is The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. It was published in 1987 and all I know is that it is about a family. I hope it's something I can love! The time before I start a book is always filled with promise.
I chose The Shell Seekers because it jumped off the shelf at me. I'm speaking literally: as much as a book can talk, this one said, "Read ME!" as it fell to the floor in front of my desk. For several months it's been sitting on the same shelf as a dozen other to be read books and yesterday it apparently decided it was tired of waiting. I just love it when a book speaks to me.