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When John Durbeyfield discovers a family connection to the ancient Norman family, the D'Urbervilles, the fate of daughter Tess is transformed.
Sent by her ambitious parents to visit her wealthy D'Urberville cousins, Tess attracts the attention of the unscrupulous Alec. Seduced and discarded by him and alone in the world, she finds work as a milkmaid and the love of Angel Clare. Yet his love cannot accept the truth about Tess's past.
Considered Hardy's masterwork it presents a major departure from conventional Victorian fiction, causing controversy and mixed reviews on first publication due to it challenging Victorian sexual morals. The work was subtitled 'A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented' as Hardy felt that its heroine was a virtuous victim of a rigid Victorian moral code.
Hardy considered it his finest book and due to his enlightened and forward thinking, the story has captivated audiences since it was first released.
Thomas Hardy was an English writer and poet in the Romantic era who was greatly influenced by Charles Dickens and William Wordsworth.
Having started his career as a leading child actor, Peter Firth received a Tony Award nomination for his performance in Peter Shaffer's play Equus (1973) at only 21. He later starred with Richard Burton in its film adaption earning him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination. His other film work has included roles in Pearl Harbor (2001) and The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005). He is best known for his role as Sir Harry Pearce in the BBC show Spooks (2002-2011) appearing in every episode of the show's 10 series. Recent roles have included Jacob Marley in the BBC's Dickensian series (2015) and Ernest Augustus in ITV's drama series Victoria (2016). He has narrated several audiobooks and starred in Audible's multicast drama Amok.