I love this novel, but it is harsh. Tess D’Urberville, in every sense the “pure woman” Hardy calls her, becomes repeatedly victimized by circumstance. Tess’s actions exceed the moral norms of her society. The loss of their family’s horse, Tess’s reluctant visit to the D’Urbervilles of Trantridge, her subsequent rape, and her revelation of her past to her husband, Angel Clare, all involve Tess making the right choices in a wrong society. Tess’s world makes sense, but it is a cynical world where hypocrisy fares better than virtue.