Author : Thomas Hardy
Publisher : Oxford University Press
"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.
Under The Greenwood Tree is my book selection for August keyword reading challenge. It’s been a while since I last read a classic book. I was a bit intimidated to start this book. I was afraid I wouldn’t get to read it joyfully. To my surprise, I like this book. It’s not a difficult read because this book has a light theme. This book revolves in rural life at Mellstock*. Under The Greenwood Tree is the first in Thomas Hardy’s Wessex novels.
This book is divided into several parts according to seasons. The first part (Winter) mostly tells us about Dick Dewey’s family (the church musician) and the arrival of the new school mistress, Fancy Day. Dick is drawn to Ms. Day and tried to approach her in a way that makes me smile sometimes. Ms. Day’s beauty apparently not only attracts Dick Dewey but also Mr. Shiner (a rich farmer). In the second part (Spring), Mr. Shiner suggested Ms. Day to play organ at the church. That was how Dick learned that Mr. Shiner is his rival (apart from the obvious way Mr. Shiner flirts with Ms. Day). In this part, we’ll meet Mr. Maybold, the vicar. The third part (Summer), is where Dick finally confessed his feeling for Ms. Day. The fourth part (Autumn) is where things get interesting.
I like this book’s simplicity. I felt relaxed while reading this book. The rivalry between Dick Dewey and Mr. Shiner makes me smile sometimes. How those men are trying to get Ms. Day’s affection is a bit old school but nice.
Half an hour afterwards Dick emerged from the inn, and if Fancy's lips had been red cherries probably Dick's would have appeared deeply stained.
Actually, I don’t like Ms. Day even though I consider her behavior as normal in her situation. Seemingly, her behavior made Dick saw her as a coquettish girl. She let Dick and Mr. Shiner hold her hand. But sometimes she gives some signals which indicate that she’s not comfortable with both of them. It’s like she’s playing kite with both of them. I think she has interest in Mr. Maybold. Since it seemed like Mr. Maybold wasn’t attracted to her, she accepts Dick. After she knows that Mr. Maybold likes her and proposed to her, she accepted the proposal. If only she took more times to think about this. Thank God she remembers that she’s still Dick’s fiancée.
Thing that I notice from this book is sometime, you’ll only see goodness in the people you love. Poor Dick Dewey, he doesn’t know that while Ms. Day is engaged to him, she accepted Mr. Maybold’s marriage proposal. He was so happy with his upcoming marriage he forgets all of the doubts he had. So yeah, this book does have happy ending, except for that fact.
*more information about Wessex can be read here