Passionate Eustacia Vye detests her life amid the dreary environs of Egdon Heath and spies her escape when Clym Yeobright returns from Paris. Hardy's timeless tale of a romantic misalliance embodies his view of character as fate and underscores the tragic nature of ordinary human lives. The Return of the Native ranks among the author's greatest works.
Tragedy haunts the works of Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), whose fiction abounds in star-crossed lovers and other characters thwarted by fate or their own shortcomings. Hardy's outspoken criticism of Victorian society excited such profound controversy that the author abandoned fiction and in the 20th century published only poetry.