I know this book well, having studied it and seen maybe two or three adaptations. It’s not really an accessible read, because Hardy had a tendency to insert bits of Latin, Greek and various mythology references into his writing. Luckily if you have a good edition (such as Penguin Classics) these are not much of a problem as there are notes in the back. While the writing can be quite detailed, the content is fairly simple and includes the typical Hardy trademarks: tragedy, missed opportunities, coincidences, lost innocence and more tragedy. First published in 1891 as a newspaper serial, with the subtitle A Pure Woman Faithfully Represented, the book was somewhat controversial at the time but is now known as a classic and possibly Hardy’s greatest work. It’s not my favourite of his but I’m certain to re-read it (yet again) in the near future.