Thomas Hardy, (2 June 1840 - 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth.Charles Dickens was another important influence.Like Dickens, he was highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society. Under the Greenwood Tree: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published anonymously in 1872. It was Hardy's second published novel, the last to be printed without his name, and the first of his great series of Wessex novels. Whilst Hardy originally thought of simply calling it The Mellstock Quire, he settled on a title taken from a song in Shakespeare's As You Like It .The plot concerns the activities of a group of church musicians, the Mellstock parish choir, one of whom, Dick Dewy, becomes romantically entangled with a comely new school mistress, Fancy Day. The novel opens with the fiddlers and singers of the choir-including Dick, his father Reuben Dewy, and grandfather William Dewy-making the rounds in Mellstock village on Christmas Eve. When the little band plays at the schoolhouse, young Dick falls for Fancy at first sight. Dick, smitten, seeks to insinuate himself into her life and affections, but Fancy's beauty has gained her other suitors, including a rich farmer and the new vicar at the parish church. The vicar, Mr. Maybold, informs the choir that he intends Fancy, an accomplished organ player, to replace their traditional musical accompaniment to Sunday services. The tranter and the rest of the band visit the vicar's home to negotiate, but reluctantly give way to the more modern organ. Meanwhile, Dick seems to win Fancy's heart, and she discovers an effective strategem to overcome her father's objection to the potential marriage. After the two are engaged secretly, however, vicar Maybold impetuously asks Fancy to marry him and lead a life of relative affluence; racked by guilt and temptation, she accepts. The next day, however, at a chance meeting with the as-yet-unaware Dick, surprised Maybold learns from him of his engagement to Fancy. The vicar follows by prompting her by letter, while expressing being taken aback by such news, to be honest to Dewy and withdraw her commitment to him if she indeed intended to become married to Maybold. Fancy responds by withdrawing her consent to marry Maybold and asking him to keep her initial acceptance of his proposal forever a secret. Maybold replies by urging her again to be honest with Dick and admit she accepted the vicar despite having already committed herself to the young tranter, assuring her she would be forgiven. However, as she marries Dewy who is so in love he readily dismisses what he previously (rightly) considered exhibits of her fickleness and rejoices at what he perceives at the prospect of a happy union based on honesty, given Fancy's effusive and seemingly frank admission to some (minor) infidelities, while he assumes they would never keep any secrets from each other, she resolves never to disclose the truly incontrovertible and damning evidence against her character in her having so readily accepted Maybold despite her engagement to Dewy. The novel ends with a humorous portrait of Reuben, William, Mr. Day, and the rest of the Mellstock rustics as they celebrate the couple's wedding day. The mood is joyful, but at the end of the final chapter, the reader is reminded that Fancy has married with "a secret she would never tell" (her final flirtation and brief engagement to the vicar). While Under the Greenwood Tree is often seen as Hardy's gentlest and most pastoral novel, this final touch introduces a faint note of melancholy to the conclusion......
The Littlest Christmas Tree wants to find a home for Christmas in this companion to the bestselling favorite The Littlest Pumpkin.
"The Christmas Trees of Pelkie Field: A French-Canadian Winter Tale" tells the story of two brothers, ages fifteen and five, who are given the responsibility of bringing home the family Christmas tree from a forest near their small family farm. Set in rural northern Michigan, it is a humorous and poignant tale of life in a large, traditional family in the second half of the 20th century. Setting out on an early December day, Mike and Jimmy revel in their winter wonderland, creating special memories for themselves and for their family. As they find their way to Pelkie Field, their story reaches back in time as they walk in the footsteps of their ancestors whose memories permeate the tale. It is a story of family, tradition, and holiday spirit in the northwoods of Michigan.
She never expected it would come to this
Desperation and an empty stomach forced Fiona Lachlan to agree to a plan that ended up luring the wickedly notorious Duke of Holburn into trouble. Everything went terribly wrong, and now she has found herself posing as his ward And while she swore nothing could make her desire a scoundrel, even if he was a duke, she is now drawing ever closer to the one man she cannot have . . .
"Beware of innocence "
The Duke of Holburn had spent years heeding this warning, and in doing so, managed to avoid the virginal young ladies who had been put in his path. But now his wild ways have gotten him into real danger. There are killers at the door and a temptingly beautiful woman in his arms. He is about to find himself seduced . . . and he isn't quite sure he wants to resist this time.
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