In this issue of The Lady : Dear Readers, I was lucky enough to go to school in Hardy Country,
at Sherborne – or should I say, Sherton Abbas. It is a beautiful, undulating landscape of hedgerows, hill forts and dizzying coves and I spent many a happy hour exploring it on my bike, usually with an illegal bottle of cider tucked into my rucksack. Yes, it really was that clichéd. As a young teenager, however, Thomas Hardy’s books themselves filled me with dread. They lurked on the English syllabus,
but I always imagined them to be plodding, long-winded, dreadfully
Victorian – until, that is, I actually read one. I picked up The Mayor Of Casterbridge while I was camping during a thunderstorm…and didn’t stop reading until I’d finished it. It was one of the most affecting books I’d ever read and I literally hoovered it up. Hardy, of course, is talk of the town at the moment thanks to a new film version of Far From The Madding Crowd, starring English actress Carey Mulligan as one of the
author’s strongest lady characters, Bathsheba Everdene. It’s perfect timing for those suffering from Poldark withdrawal symptoms – so read all about it on page 16 and then book yourself on the next train to beautiful Dorset. Very best wishes, Matt Warren, Editor
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