The Hand of Ethelberta: A Comedy in Chapters (Google eBook)

Front Cover Publishing, Jan 1, 2004 - Fiction
24 Reviews
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), dreamed since his childhood of becoming a poet. However, he produced several popular works that cemented his reputation as a great novelist of the Victorian period, and earned him the admiration of later writers like D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. Hardy's stories are noted for their nuances of Romantic and Enlightenment thinking, particularly elements of the supernatural. One of what Hardy called his Novels of Ingenuity, "The Hand of Ethelberta" explores the class distinctions of Victorian England through the trials of Ethelberta Petherwin. By the age of 18, the humble governess and daughter of a butler marries well, only to become a widow two weeks later. In order to support her mother and ten siblings, clever Ethelberta quickly learns to navigate the complex social world as a poetess and storyteller, attracting four persistent suitors along the way. She must decide which man to bestow her hand upon while never revealing her humble origins.

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Review: The Hand of Ethelberta

User Review  - Elizabeth Finnegan - Goodreads

On the surface this is just a light hearted novel about a wealthy widow who is pursued by a number of suitors for her hand in marriage. Hardy explores the dilemmas a young, single woman of independent ... Read full review

Review: The Hand of Ethelberta

User Review  - Philip Lane - Goodreads

Quite a fun book in which Ethelberta is chased after by four men and she tries to make the most of her desirability as a spouse. In some ways I found it shocking that Ethelberta struggles so hard to ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840, in Higher Bockhampton, England. The eldest child of Thomas and Jemima, Hardy studied Latin, French, and architecture in school. He also became an avid reader. Upon graduation, Hardy traveled to London to work as an architect's assistant under the guidance of Arthur Bloomfield. He also began writing poetry. How I Built Myself a House, Hardy's first professional article, was published in 1865. Two years later, while still working in the architecture field, Hardy wrote the unpublished novel The Poor Man and the Lady. During the next five years, Hardy wrote Desperate Remedies, Under the Greenwood Tree, and a Pair of Blue Eyes. In 1873, Hardy decided it was time to relinquish his architecture career and concentrate on writing full-time. In September 1974, his first book as a full-time author, Far From the Madding Crowd, appeared serially. After publishing more than two dozen novels, one of the last being Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Hardy returned to writing poetry--his first love. Some of Hardy's volumes of poetry include Poems of the Past and Present, The Dynasts: Part One, Two, and Three, Time's Laughingstocks, and The Famous Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall. From 1833 until his death, Hardy lived in a house in Dorchester, England. The house, Max Gate, was designed by Hardy, who also supervised its' construction. Thomas Hardy died on January 11, 1928. His ashes were buried in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey.

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