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.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Claire on 11-04-2010
Peter Firth gets this book
Peter Firth played Angel Clare in Polanski's film version of this novel. His reading demonstrates great affection for Hardy's characters, and an understanding of the many nuances of the story. Don't worry if it seems slow to begin with, if you let the plot unfold, there is plenty of excitement and tragedy in store. Originally published as a serial, each phase builds up to its own climax, which makes for pleasant and interesting listening. Definitely not a "boring 19th century novel."
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Ron L. Caldwell on 13-02-2010
A heartbreaking story possesses both the clarity of rural life and the confusion of the epic struggles of a human heart. Tess and Angel Clare are so beautifully realized that the frustration one feels with them becomes all-too-real. The narration of this version, by Peter Firth, is among the best in the audible.com catalog that I've encountered so far. Tess is a book to read and re-read with your ears, eyes, mind, and heart.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By D. J. C on 06-10-2015
Peter Firth's narration was excellent.
Fabulous Hardy novel enriched by the voice and skills of Peter Firth. Go buy it.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By birdie on 20-06-2014
What made the experience of listening to Tess of the D'Urbervilles the most enjoyable?
I first read Tess many years ago as a teenager and didn't think much of it. Having revisiting through this audiobook I am astounded at how much I missed! This is one of those reads which benefit from a few years of life experience. Wonderfully read, atmospheric and colourful.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Tess of the D'Urbervilles?
The description of milking: a real feast for the senses. Brought the era to life and the imagery is superb.
What does Peter Firth bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Well read and very consistent... Believable voices and accents. I am local to this area and found the dialect very believable.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It was very easy to see things through the eyes of the characters and to empathise with them, even given the very different attitudes of the time.
Any additional comments?
Thomas Hardy at his best....Highly recommended.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful