Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Advent Heroine - Bathsheba Everdene
How could this heroine be anything but memorable with an amazing name like Bathsheba? 'Far From the Madding Crowd' by Thomas Hardy is one of my all-time favourite books and films. With a quiet but memorable start you know this is a book where characterisation will reign supreme - the heroine is espied by shepherd Gabriel Oak riding down a Dorsetshire lane. Unobserved, she takes out a mirror and preens herself leading Gabriel to describe her later as having one fault - that of vanity. But Bathsheba has enough qualities, beauty being just one, to be courted by three extraordinary characters. Gabriel the solid, ultra-reliable charmer, Sargeant Troy the dashing, selfish soldier and wealthy Farmer Boldwood the lonely, obsessive widower. Bathsheba was extraordinary for her time in being a strong, independent business woman. A landowner who makes her inherited farm a success, an employer who hires and fires, a woman who takes her own decisions about who she will and will not marry. True she makes myriad mistakes along her path to a happy ending, the worst being falling for love-rat Troy. At one point, married to Bathsheba but always in love with Fanny Robin who perishes due to his neglect Troy tells Bathsheba, "this woman is more to me, dead as she is, than ever you were, or are, or can be." Boy, I wish I'd written that line! If you want to read a truly wonderful romance with an extraordinary heroine, this book is for you.