“Under the Greenwood Tree” is the story of the romantic entanglement between church musician, Dick Dewey, and the attractive new school mistress, Fancy Day. A pleasant romantic tale set in the Victorian era, “Under the Greenwood Tree” is one of Thomas Hardy’s most gentle and pastoral novels.
Second book to be read in the local “Hardy Readers” bookgroup after Desperate Remedies.
This is a shorter, lighter book that is also easier to read that Desperate Remedies. It is about a small local community, and the story starts with description of the “choir” (singers and musicians) who are going round the houses (often isolated) one Christmas night. They briefly glimpse sight of the new school teacher – Miss Day – who becomes the centre of attention.
She and Dick Dewy fall in love, but their engagement faces obstacles from both her father and the fact that other men are vying for her hand. As a subplot the choir, who also accompany the mass, find that they will be ousted, to be replaced by a new organ, which the vicar has decided will be played by Miss Day, even though she has stated that she doesnt want to..
It is a much happier book than DR, has a more continuous flow in the narrative (although being split into 4 “seasons”). As I was not struggling with the narrative on this one, I was able to pay better attention to Hardy’s descriptions of nature, and it was much more pleasing.