The sequel to ‘Tess’- a marriage flawed from the start, a series of mishaps, a difference in class, leading to tragedy and heartache.
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The Thomas Hardy and the Dorset Lovers
When Tess makes a last appeal that Angel should marry her sister Liza-Lu, she could not have realized what an improvident request she was making. Although she had their best interests at heart, for she loved them both dearly, could it in all honesty be called a lucid, reasonable request? How could the soon to be widowed husband refuse the woman he loved her last wish? But, in spite of the illegality of the union and a protestation based on those grounds, he finally agreed.
After a decent period of mourning, the young and naive Liza-Lu becomes Mrs. Eliza Louisa Clare. The marriage begins with an idyllic honeymoon and soon Eliza is with child but contrariety between the couple soon starts to emerge. She, lacking education, wishes to improve herself in order to become his social equal; he, in spite of ambitious plans for their future, wants Liza-Lu to remain an innocent peasant girl to help and support him on the farm.
In the ensuing months, Liza-Lu appears to be following in her sister’s faltering, sorrowful footsteps. Will her life follow a similar pattern or does she have the necessary sense and sensibility to learn from her sister’s mistakes?
“Are you quite sure ‘tis what you really want, Liza-Lu?”
Mrs Durbeyfield looked across at her daughter who was putting the finishing touches to a pretty, embroidered tablecloth she’d started as soon as she and Angel, had become betrothed.
Knowing what Liza-Lu’s reply would be, as indeed it had been for the past few months whenever the subject was brought up, Joan Durbeyfield felt it was her maternal duty to shield her daughter from any possible future anguish. She still felt the loss of her first-born as if it were only yesterday that the tragedy had transpired. Whenever she thought she had come to terms with her sad loss, begun to accept Tess’ unfortunate demise, a simple reminder like the sight of the village girls club walking or the simple, unassuming smell of a rose could evoke heart-rending memories. Occasionally those memories would make her smile but oft-times they would bring an unshed tear to her eye. Sometimes, when she was alone, she would shed private tears of absolute wretchedness but never when anyone could see or hear her.
Now it was fresh Spring, the herald of love’s almighty king and the thought of the wedding growing ever closer, made the mother more and more anxious for her eldest child who was to leave the safety of the nest to enter into a union which, in her opinion, was far from ideal.